The Scarlet Spider has always been one of those Marvel mascots – er, characters – that fans hold in high regard. That’s usually due to the scarcity of the character. That’s all changed now that Scarlet Spider has his own book. And thankfully, it’s pretty damn good.
Kaine, Peter Parker’s clone (read Spider Island for more info on that) has planted his roots in Texas, hoping to remain out of mind and out of sight from the authorities tracking him down. Sure enough, that would make for a boring read each month, so Kaine dons one of Peters old uniforms and heads out to fight crime instead. Not to say that he particularly wants to though… but that whole power/responsibility spiel from ages ago has burned a hole in his brain.
This new arc begins with everyone’s favorite malpracticed corporation, Roxxon, up to their standard shady dealings. Now, know that I don’t love when Marvel writers base stories around Roxxon. The entity sometimes acts as a crutch when a writer needs to bide time in between arcs, but don’t let that stop you. There are better angles to this book than the story. More on those aspects in a minute.
After a missile decimates a floor in the Roxxon building, Kaine reluctantly saves a group of bystanders on the ground outside from the debris. His reluctance was a byproduct of simply not being a superhero long enough, and not realizing that he’s supposed to do superhero things like catch falling debris, and the likes. It was a good look into the thought process of the character.
After some investigative assistance provided by his cop pal, Kaine infiltrates Roxxon where he is presented with their newest security force: The Rangers. A futuristic / western / high fantasy looking quintet that I know nothing about, but am looking forward to experiencing next month.
So the story is basic – nothing to strong has piqued my interest. The supporting characters – with the exception of Arcaley – are “C” grade and below. They all have personalities – but they’re not very developed yet. Kaine doesn’t really have any opportunity for stimulating conversation unless it’s by himself.
However, when he DOES banter to himself, it’s pretty entertaining. He’s like a pissed off inexperienced version of Peter, and it’s evident whether or not you understand their relationship. That’s some strong writing on Yost’s part if I must say.
The artwork is fantastic too. Khoi Pham has retained the look of the book well, much like when Ottley took over for Walker on Invincible. Actually, the artwork is one of the things I like most about this book.
But, is it worth 2.99 a month? Hard to tell at this point. We need more developed characters and a new roster of villains. Will The Rangers help change that? It has taken Bendis about a year to pump some life into the rogues gallery for the new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man books, but even that has been challenging. So basically, it will take a bit of time for Scarlet Spider to develop. I think it’ll be worth sticking around for.