With this issue, the second year of Christ Yost’s Scarlet Spider begins. It’s been a great series so far about Spider-Man’s ex-killer clone, Kaine. Issue 12 in particular was an awesome comic where he defended a high class hotel from a bunch of terrorists dressed as Santa Clause. This issue has a much darker and dramatic tone, but it’s still great.
Scarlet Spider 13 can easily be broken down into three scenes. It starts with the title character taking on various gangs in Texas that are involved with human trafficking. This is sort of a continuation from SP 12.1 where he rampaged through the gangs to track someone down. And then there’s Aracely’s nightmare; Aracely is a telepathic girl Kaine rescued in issue one, and she’s been a regular character since. Her dream has lots of interesting Aztec references, and it’s almost disturbing in how twisted the dream is. The third scene pits Kaine against “talking werewolves from Mexico”. It’s a fast read (the closest thing the storytelling has to a flaw), but all three of these scenes are both well written and fairly unique in the comic world. Also, the ending cliff-hanger is simply awesome.
The character development is good in this issue too. Kaine has obviously changed since this series began – he’s starting to learn responsibility, even if he fuels it with his own rage. He’s also starting to care about others. Aracely has good character work as well, and it seems like we’ll learn more about her fairly soon. Even with the character work and the dark storytelling, there’s still room for a bit of comic relief.
The art is probably the weakest part of this issue. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s not exactly good either. Facial expressions convey character emotions well enough. The imagery in Aracely’s dream is interesting and the action is easy to follow. It’s just that it feels sloppy at times; I’m not sure how to describe it.
Scarlet Spider’s second year starts off well. There’s great character work, great drama and a great cliff-hanger. This isn’t nearly as lighthearted or fun as Scarlet Spider usually is, but it’s a very solid issue. If a series about a much less responsible Spider-Man interests you, or you don’t like what happened in Amazing Spider-Man 700, this is an easy recommendation.