On the heels of Spider Island we get a brand new title with an all new web slinging hero. Or anit-hero, depending on who you ask. Kaine is the clone of Peter Parker, and he’s made his way to Houston, Texas, where he’s trying to find himself and avoid anyone who might be looking for him. Though, a man like Kaine can’t stay away from trouble for too long, as he stumbles across a human trafficking deal. Things get crazy and he ends up being a bit of a good guy, but he makes an enemy in the process. A very huge and powerful enemy at that, but he just doesn’t know it yet.
Christopher Yost kicks off this first issue the way an intro should be done. If you didn’t read the Clone Saga that introduced Kaine, don’t worry, Yost gives you the perfect amount of back story to get you comfortable. It’s simple and to the point without sacrificing the pacing of the story. Moving the story far from New York is another positive direction of the issue. Seriously, how many Spider powered characters can you have in one city before it just gets silly? Now, there is quite a bit of internal dialog here which for some reason doesn’t slow things down one bit. As Yost is familiarizing the reader with Kaine, we get to see Kaine attempt to figure out what direction he’s going in.
As good as Yost’s story is, let’s just say that Stegman’s art cranks it up a few notches more! Being from Houston, it was great to see how he nailed the city’s look from downtown to the Medical Center. Now, Kaine may be a clone of Peter Parker, but I like how Stegman isn’t trying to make Kaine look exactly like Pete. He’s more like a brother with very similar features, and hopefully the look stays that way. There’s also the awesome action sequences that we’ve come to expect when reading a Spider-Man title, and Stegman does not disappoint one bit. The panel where Kaine saves an old woman trying to cross the street is one of my favorites, as well as him swinging through the city complaining about the humidity. Marte Gracia’s colors are a big part of what helps with the visual storytelling and help to push the excitement.
Due to the fact that I hated the Clone Saga, there was no way I was going to even give this title a chance. However, when I heard that Yost and Stegman would be on it, my interest was piqued. Then, after finding out the title would take place in my old hometown, I really couldn’t pass it up, and it’s a good thing I didn’t. Scarlet Spider was a fun read and a great looking issue to boot. Though I might be asking for much, I’m hoping that this creative team sticks around (no pun intended) for some time to solidify this title’s success. So if you didn’t pick this one up, go back to your LCS and correct that mistake!