It’s too bad this series is ending. Since its beginning, Scarlet Spider has consistently been my favourite Spider-Man franchise book. Kaine Parker is a much darker version of Spider-Man, with actual good reasons to feel sorry for himself. He constantly doubts his ability as a superhero, and sometimes even tried to avoid doing superhero work, telling himself “I don’t care.” It’s been consistently entertaining, and yet dramatically effective when it tries.
This is a good finish to the series, although it’s not without its problems. It does a great job exploring Kaine’s mindset from the aftermath of his final conflict in Texas. His monster form from earlier this year is revealed to the public, pretty much forcing him to leave Texas after a while of being celebrated as a hero. The only thing keeping him from spiraling downhill is Aracely, the telepathic Mexican girl who is endlessly optimistic and delightfully childlike. She’s somehow able to remind him that he can be a hero, even after he loses almost everything he gained in Texas. It also ends with what could be a very subtle teaser for the upcoming New Warriors, which will feature both of them.
The problem with this issue is that it feels very rushed in more than one way. As much as both Kaine and Aracely have decent conclusions with teasers for their future, the rest of the supporting cast barely gets any panel time. Kaine’s sort-of girlfriend, Anabella, only has one line in this comic, and it coincides with punch to another’s face. We don’t get any kind of conclusion to the character that was almost killed in Kraven’s storyline – we don’t even hear his name.
But those pale in comparison to several editing mistakes. On the panel where everyone is falling from the building, Kaine grabs Aracely first. The sentence misspells her name as “Arecely”. It then talks of two characters who are too far away to grab, and one of them is referred to as “Arecely” instead of “Zoe.” That’s twice on one page that Aracely’s name was misspelled, and one was referring to the wrong character.
Some of the art in that scene feels a bit rushed too. The panel where Kaine’s spider outfit drops down almost looks like Aracely is drooling something yellow out of her mouth. There’s another panel where Anabella is supposed to be running away, but she’s standing in place while an unknown character is running away in the foreground. Apart from these mistakes, the art is generally good. Personally, I would have preferred if they delayed this issue a few weeks to fix these mistakes, especially when New Warriors isn’t starting up for a few months yet.
Another weird mistake is that it was solicited at $2.99, the same price as the rest of the series, but the cover price is somehow $3.99. Despite that, there’s neither a digital code within nor more than 20 pages of story. Where did that come from?
Despite its rushed feeling and mistakes, this is still a good comic. It was enjoyable enough that I didn’t even notice any of those mistakes on my first reading. Both Kaine and Aracely have good conclusions, with more than enough left open to leave us excited for New Warriors. It has a bit of everything that made this series special. It’s impressive that this somewhat obscure 90’s character managed to last 2 years in his solo series, but Yost’s Scarlet Spider deserved it.