Scarlet Spider # 1

Posted by Jesse 13 January 2012


This is the story of Kaine, the… other spider-man.

Scene of the crime: port of Houston, late at night.
Acting on a lead from a bar patron, Kaine decides to investigate the rumors of an under the table deal. What he finds is a group of men looking for an opportunity to cash in, by exchanging some “goods” to another crew of shady individuals. Kaine makes his presence known and starts crashing the party, by ripping and tearing some faces. As he thrashes them he takes notice of his own newly acquired powers. The webbing and the ability to see in the dark, he muses, are welcome and useful additions to his skill set.
Generously Kaine decides to let the bad guys live as long as he gets what he came for; the money. Kaine justifies taking the money saying that he’s going to need it for his getaway trip. As he’s about to leave, a striking smell calls him to investigate. The powerful smell is coming from a nearby crate which he curiously opens only to find…
A massive pile of dead bodies.
At least that’s what he thinks as he looks on in horror, until he sees a single hand stemming from above the pile. Someone lives, just barely.

Kaine takes the woman to a hospital where he forcibly demands her immediate attention. When a security cop makes the mistake of pulling a gun on Kaine, He is met with a quick palm to the face and raised off the ground by an obvious hyper anxiety driven Kaine. (It seems Kaine still has some major issues with violence and aggression.)
After coming to his senses, Kaine flees the scene while alerting the officer of the container full of dead bodies back at the port.

Next scene has Kaine filling us in on his travel log for the past week while hitching a ride on a semi truck headed south on the open road. He mentions how he worries about the authorities ( notably the Avengers ) picking up on his trail, however, after no sign of anyone for quite some time, he persuades himself that its ok to take a break from running and stays the night at a fancy hotel.

Later on he starts to feel guilty about all the unwanted attention he might be bringing upon himself by gratuitous spending and dining. (Kaine acts very conflicted almost as if he has two personalities, one responsible, the other egotistical.)
Kaine happens to notice a reflection of his face in the mirror. Gone are all the scars that once plagued his life and marked his body, but the figure of his former self still haunts and torments his imagination, so much so, that he smashes the mirror containing the reflection of the way he used to be.

The next page illustrates Kaine’s past as he remembers it; from being created and tossed away by the Jackal, to his battles supporting Peter Parker against Ben Reilly in the clone saga, to his sacrifice for Peter during “the Grim Hunt”, to his recent battle with the Queen in which he claims Parker saved him. He remembers all of it, including how his cellular degeneration was supposed to kill him, but he “found a way to slow” it down. He surmises that he may never be able to forget his past, as a killer, but he can become someone better, and so he shaves away the long hair and beard.

The following scene has Kaine enjoying a sunny day outside as he enthusiastically dives off the roof of a building and catches himself with a web line, swinging past the traffic below. Kaine says how he feels free, how he feels, alive!

Back at the Port, a hooded figure looms over a group of police organizing the dead bodies, speaking only one word as his eyes light up, “Burn”.
Back with Kaine, he feels a sudden temp increase and starts sweating. As a bird nearby startles him he quickly realizes that his precognitive abilities are gone. He daydreams that all he really wants is to escape to a beach in Mexico, but his thoughts are interrupted by a car below slamming on its breaks, about to approach a little old lady.
He sees her but, Kaine argues with himself that there’s nothing he can do.
At what seems like the very last moment Kaine drops down and crushes the car stopping it dead in its tracks, and thus saving the elderly woman. The old lady thanks him, but Kaine blows up at the woman screaming and swearing to her about her own negligence and stupidity. Meanwhile onlookers have gathered and spotted the driver of the car laying on the pavement mangled and bloody, with shards of glass sticking in him. Kaine realizes that when he smashed the car by landing on the hood, it must have sent the driver flying through the front windshield. Kaine’s reaction is to run away, (probably out of frustration and guilt)

Later, Kaine gets busy drinking, while the bartender tries to make small talk with him. A news report on TV catches Kaine’s attention. It says police at the port were found, with some badly burned and others dead. Kaine is seen back in his suite, packing his bags as he trys to tell himself it’s none of his concern and that he’s not a hero; he doesn’t want to be. The costume inside his bag seemingly stares him in the face.

At a nearby hospital, a burn victim from the port is being relocated when suddenly the hallway bursts into flames as a giant madman with flame tattoos proclaims. “There is no one to save you.”
Last scene shows Kaine walking with his bags in hand (instead of running to the rescue).

Thoughts
Ah yes the tale of the reluctant hero whose mind is filled with strife and his emotions littered with turmoil; his reintroduction to the civilized world, and rediscovering the difference between right and wrong.
The man whose motto is..”Killing, it just feels right.”So far he’s menacing, and can scratch people…he is not above stealing when he feels like he needs it; he has a strong conscience but, resents it, and often tells it to shut up.

Geez, would have been nice to at least see Kaine in his new costume (besides the cover)
New villain is quite interesting. What will they call him? Flame? Burnov? Mr. Toasty?

Kudos to the writer Chris Yost, for detailing some of Kaine’s powers plus highlighting his back story.

Very nice artwork by Ryan Stegman including a lovely splash page featuring a re-imagined scene from the clone saga; featuring Kaine, Spidey, and Ben Reilly!
I for one am hoping there will be many more reference to Ben as the series progresses.
The scene with the old lady, borrows from the movie Hancock among others. Not anything to do with the old lady just the fact that Kaine is a reckless disaster of a hero.

Moral conflict is going to be a major theme in this series as well with the character from now on. We all know that Kaine is basically Peter Parker but he wasn’t raised with the values or love that Peter was. So Kaine has to learn ethics on his own and choose for himself how to live his life and that could depend very much on how he is treated by everyone he encounters. He expects people to treat him like a monster no matter what, but once he starts to see the good in people…

Will Kaine learn what makes Peter Parker such a great guy; will he learn what it means to be a hero?
Kaine does not have the strong sense of responsibility that Peter has, and rightfully so, but Kaine does have a loud conscience. How much longer will he fight it? Only time will tell.

Pretty good start to a very promisingly cool series.

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