Spidey Speculation Scorecard for Spider-Island: Part 8

Posted by Mike McNulty, a.k.a. Stillanerd 05 November 2011

Although “Spider-Island” had a “finale” in Amazing Spider-Man #672, a few loose ends needed to be tied-up for the “epilogue” in Amazing Spider-Man #673. That also means for your humble forecaster of wild, zany, and just plain “out there” theories, there were still were a few unanswered predictions to be confirmed or denied. And since we’ve come this far my very appreciative readers, we might as well go ahead and head for the finish line as this event finally wraps-up. Last time, the score was at a +3, but will the final tally end on a high note? Or will it drop and result in my utter humiliation? Might as well read on and see, shall we?

KAINE IS THE NEW SCARLET SPIDER: TRUE

Oh, sure, he doesn’t quite take up the mantle in this issue, but at this point it’s clear Kaine is taking on that superhero persona. And if the various visual clues weren’t enough (reflected red in Julia Carpenter’s red-tinted shades, wearing a blue hoodie, etc.), the letters pages themselves all but say it’s him while promoting the upcoming Scarlet Spider series by Chris Yost and Ryan Stegman. He even has his own ready-made costume, as Kaine tells Peter he’s keeping the Stealth, a.k.a “Spider-Tron,” suit that he wore last issue.

Personally, I’m of mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, when we think of the Scarlet Spider, we think of Peter’s other clone, Ben Reilly, and yet here, it’s going to the anti-heroic Kaine. Also, the changes made to Kaine during Spider-Island--particularly the fact he no longer suffers from clone degeneration--have made essentially turned him into Ben Reilly in all but name and willingness to kill bad guys. So why not just bring back Ben Reilly instead? Besides, don’t we already have a young, single Spider-Man swinging around in…Spider-Man?

On the other hand, Kaine changing from villain to hero and seeking personal redemption for his past sins is what attracted us to the character in the first place. Him not only accepting Peter as his “brother” but also taking on the mantle of the “other brother” he despised is in keeping with that very idea. At the same time, because of Kaine's propensity for ruthlessness and altered power-set, it allows the creators to break all kinds of rules that they wouldn’t otherwise get away with in writing stories about the original Spider-Man. Also, him apparently being able to wander across America coincidentally like another character with the same phonetically pronounced name (Kwai Chang Caine) from the classic cult TV series, Kung Fu, it also allows Kaine’s to have a fluid status quo. Also, he’s got two ready-made arch-nemesis in the Jackal (his creator) and Kraven the Hunter (who the Grim Hunt established only Spider-Man, or Kaine, can kill). So the potential to make this work is certainly there, and it will be fascinating to see how this plays out.

Oh, and speaking of the Jackal…

GUESS WHO’S STILL NOT DEAD?

Yep, turns out Miles Warren is still alive. The Jackal that we saw working with (and disintegrated) by the Queen was actually another one of his clones all along. In hindsight, we were clued into this from the very first “Spider-Island: Infested” back-up story back in Amazing Spider-Man #659, in which we saw the Jackal look just like he did during the Clone Saga, while later appearances of him showed him in his original look, except this issue. Seems Prof. Warren learned a trick or two from Doctor Doom in using duplicates to do his dirty work for him when necessary.

This also means he is now a character who essentially can never be killed off. Likewise, as things stand now, he is the only one of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery who knows his true identity, which is weird considering how that traditionally used to belong to villains like the Green Goblin and Venom.

Also, it’s hinted that the Queen might be resurrected as well, considering how the Jackal is secretly getting samples of her DNA from her corpse. Or maybe the Jackal plans to create a new army of “spider-clones” that have the Queen’s powers? In any case, it looks like Slott is setting up another rematch, possibly for Amazing Spider-Man #700 maybe?

SPIDER-MAN GETS BLAMED FOR SPIDER-ISLAND: FALSE

Rather than getting blamed for the outbreak, the various New Yorker’s, because they experienced what it was like having powers, were able better relate to him, as shown in the scene Spidey has with the construction worker, Elio. Even J. Jonah Jameson reluctantly acknowledges that his long-time nemesis saved the day, and it’s implied he may have been the one who lit up the Empire State Building in Spidey’s “colors” as a way of saying thank you.

Still, Spidey still doesn’t get full recognition. As his typical “Parker Luck” would have it, the official credit ends up going to the now symbiote-free Eddie Brock. Which makes sense, in that while it was Spidey who administered the cure, it was Brock giving up being Anti-Venom that allowed for a cure to exist in the first place. Not to mention that Brock, whether he was Venom or Anti-Venom, always fancied himself a hero and now he genuinely is one.

Likewise, Peter is still going to keep his job at Horizon Labs and still remain a member of both Avengers teams, so that’s two more incorrect guesses on my part. Still, in an interview he gave to Comic Book Resources, Dan Slott did hint that Peter may have risked compromising Horizon’s security by installing a security access in the roof--the same one that allowed Kaine to break in during Amazing Spider-Man #671. Looks like “Parker Luck” is about to strike again.

PETER GETS DUMPED BY CARLIE: TRUE

Would it be bad of me if I shouted, “Hip Hip Hooray!”?

Yes, Peter and Carlie Cooper’s relationship is no more. And the reason for the break-up? She deduced Peter was Spider-Man and thus concluded that their entire relationship was a lie because Peter (despite being warned by Mary Jane back in Amazing Spider-Man #652) chose to not to tell Carlie the truth about his secret identity. As she reminded Peter, she has a history of people that she loved always lying to her and thus sees what Peter did as yet another act of personal betrayal by someone she trusted both emotionally and intimately. And in this case, the betrayal is doubled since she also considered "Spider-Man" her best friend. Coupled that with the fact Peter completely forgotten all about her until she surprised him at his apartment and then still tried to maintain the charade he wasn't Spider-Man even after getting caught until forced to confess, Carlie’s anger towards him is entirely justified. The only thing she’s wrong about is "Spider-Man" being the real person and "Peter" being the disguise--a stark contrast to “Spider-Island” point that what makes Peter special is being Peter, not Spider-Man. Although isn't it interesting how Peter is more upset over Carlie figuring out his secret identity than he is over the actual break-up itself? If I didn't know better, I'd say he really wasn't that into Carlie in the first place.

This also means that the “psychic blindspot” that prevented anyone from putting two-and-two together is also gone, as confirmed by the one who created it, Dr. Strange. That’s because when Peter revealed he had spider-powers back in Amazing Spider-Man #668, he technically “ousted” himself as Spider-Man even though he didn’t actually reveal himself as Spider-Man. Which means even though his identity is still secret, everyone is now capable of learning it, and thus bringing back the suspense of Peter having to be extra careful about being exposed which the “psychic blindspot” had undermined.

As for Carlie’s future? Well, apart from her seriously considering investing her police pension into having her now unfortunate Spidey tattoo removed via laser surgery, I have a feeling she’s going to be another antagonist for Peter, in that even though she'll be forced by circumstance to work with him there's the added element of “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Think Barbara Gordon and her relationship with Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond. Also, it’s going to be interesting to see Mary Jane interact with Carlie in upcoming stories now that they're both Peter‘s exes who know about his double life. In any case, it’s back to girl problems for poor ’ol Pete (or at least a possible love triangle between himself, Black Cat, and Daredevil in an upcoming crossover for Amazing Spider-Man #677 and Daredevil #8).

MARY JANE KEEPS HER SPIDER-POWERS: FALSE

Given that Mary Jane was revealed to have actually contracted the virus (albeit a slow-acting version of it based on her “Parker Immunity”) and would have mutated into a giant spider herself, it was a given she was going to be cured instead of being another spider-powered super-heroine. Oh, well, as the happy-go-lucky redhead herself states, “that was fun while it lasted.” Still, just how awesome would it have been if MJ became the Scarlet Spider instead of Kaine?

However, MJ’s brief stint with spider-powers did set up a few positive developments. It helped her better understand Peter; it showed that she still plays an important role for him and still makes for a great partner; and it allowed her to reaffirm her love for him, even if he‘s oblivious to it. So why aren’t these two back together again, you ask? Well, as MJ herself hints, Peter can be pretty clueless when it comes to what people are really trying to tell him, but also their still maintaining their "exes turned friends" status serves to built-up the rekindled ship-teasing between them that resulted from this story. I'd say it's a pretty fair bet that Peter and MJ romance will re-blossom and they'll become a couple again--at least not until another year or so. That is if MJ isn’t “the loss” Julia Carpenter warned Peter about, although I’m fairly sure she won't be (I hope). After all, she "died" once already back in Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2, #13--that's a little more than ten years ago and she still came back.

However, one person who apparently still kept her powers--one I correctly guessed as well--was Anya Corozon, the new Spider-Girl, despite the fact that she was given the cure. Hmm…maybe Reed Richards saying the cure was 100% effective is off by a percentage point? Then again, Kaine still kept his powers even though he was dunked in a vat of the Anti-Venom goop. Comic book science is weird.

RESULTS

So that’s three that were correct, but four that ended up being wrong. That results in a final tally of:

+2

Phew! Looks like I managed to still stay in the plus column. I like to thank you folks for joining me on our journey through these speculations for “Spider-Island” and keeping score along with me (you have kept score along with me, right?). Not to worry, though, as more Spidey Speculations are bound to occur. After all, we still got the next big Spidey event to look forward to: “Ends of the Earth.” Not to mention whatever lies in store for our web-slinging, wall-crawling hero as we count down to his 50th Anniversary. So until then, keep on guessing!


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