Comics : Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #7

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This story is part of an Arc: "The Second Master"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: Jul 2012.

Background...

Scarlet Spider has become a household name in Houston and this has brought a bit of conflict to Kaine’s life: He’s thwarted a bombing (almost drawing the attention of Iron Man), he’s being hunted by Kraven and his daughter, and he’s tangled with the Assassin’s Guild (and now has to complete an assignment for them). For the irresponsible clone of Marvel’s most responsible hero, Kaine seems to be rushing into situations without much thought. And I am sure that will not have disastrous consequences at any point!

In Detail...

"The Second Master Part 1"
Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #7
Sep 2012 : SM Title
Summary: Scarlet Spider takes on Roxxon
Arc: Part 1 of "The Second Master"
Writer:  Christopher Yost
Pencils:  Khoi Pham
Inker:  Tom Palmer
Cover Art:  Edgar Delgado, Ryan Stegman
Lettering:  Joe Caramagna
Colorist:  Edgar Delgado
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alonso
Senior Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Editor:  Tom Brennan
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Review

Several months prior to the start of the current story, an accident occurred on a Roxxon drillin platform located near Galveston, Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. But was it truly an accident? The worker on the site claims it isn’t oil pressure that caused the drill to snap. His co-worker only stares in horror before saying, “Forgive us.” That’s some good dramatic lead-in!

The scene cuts to modern day, where Scarlet Spider swings through the city, lamenting the heat and humidity. This is quickly interrupted as the building he’s on is hit by a missile. As he watches the debris fall he realizes he needs to act to save the citizens below. While marveling at his own abilities, he manages to catch a woman who fell from the building. Before he can question her as to what happened, she gives him a passionate kiss, from which Scarlet Spider does not pull back- and then find himself in her bed!

While Kaine tries to establish where he is and who SHE is, his…grateful admirer…reveals that she was the one who fired the rocket! Kaine tries to get more information out of her, but is interrupted by the arrival of two mysterious men at her door. Before he leaves, he finds out that her name is Zoe and that she thought Scarlet Spider was there for the same reason she was: The incident at Galveston.

Kaine leaves immediately, spending the rest of the day with Aracely, and trying to convince himself he doesn’t care. Before he can go to sleep though, she bursts in telling him to do something because his “not caring” is keeping her up, what with her ability to read his mind/emotions. When Kaine returns to Zoe’s apartment though, it’s been cleaned out. Stranger yet, the section of the Roxxon building that was destroyed a mere 14 hours ago is now almost completely rebuilt! Scarlet realizes how overwhelming sketchy this is (not to mention Roxxon’s involvement) and heads to the home of Dr. Meland and Officer Layton.

Using his police connections, Layton informs Scarlet that the official story is the Roxxon building blew up due to a gas leak. When he prods for more info regarding the company and Galveston, Layton informs him that Roxxon makes up a large portion of Houston’s economy and job market. The following morning, Scarlet Spider breaks into Roxxon Tower (despite their impressive security) and questions one of their employees (and IT guy named Jacob). When Jacob tries to reason that SS is a super hero, Scarlet merely questions whether or not he’s making Jacob feel any safer right now (guy’s got a heck of a way with the public).

Unfortunately, all the files on Galveston are locked, with the only person having access to the files being the C.E.O., David Walsh. Before he can find out more, private security enters and attempts to kill both Jacob and SS. Scarlet knocks Jacob out of the way with a kick and the proceeds to tear into the security force. He finds the location of Walsh from another Roxxon employee.

On the top floor, Walsh’s security warns him to leave, but Walsh is unfazed by Scarlet Spider’s disturbance. When he finally reaches him though, Walsh only calmly informs him that the police were called…as well as others. When Scarlet starts to question Walsh’s involvement with the attack and Zoe’s disappearance, Walsh informs him he invented the gas leak story to prevent embarrassment and keep Zoe, his daughter, out of jail.

While Scarlet Spider tries to make sense of the situation, Walsh informs him of the scope of Roxxon’s economic power and reach. Before SS can go any further though, he’s interrupted by the arrival of the Rangers, Texas’ Initiative Super Team!

In General...

I have to say, this might be my favorite issue since the first two. It’s not perfect, of course, but it seems like it’s falling back into the stride that was initially created. We again see just how different Kaine is and how his actions come back to almost immediately bite him.

Granted, I still feel like Yost’s stories move a bit inconsistently. Things pick up fast and characters do or know things that, upon some consideration, you wonder where they learned it in the first place. But I feel like this time, we will get some answers. I want to know more about what’s going on with Roxxon and why the oil rig workers were so horrified by what was happening. I want to know why Zoe did what she did. And I want to see more of he Rangers, actually…

I still enjoy Kaine’s perspective as a “hero”. I like that rather than maybe webbing up the security force’s guns or incapacitating them in some fashion, he kicks the person he’s protecting out of the way and the proceeds to attack the security team. I also found it amusing that he gave in to Zoe’s advances. I know this sort of thing isn’t what a lot of Spider-Man fans are looking for in a comic, but it provides a different look at the hero life-style. I like Spider-Man because he is the responsible, moral, humorous guy, but I like Scarlet Spider because of those differences. This does seem to contradict Kaine’s moral quandaries from last issue, but I honestly wouldn’t want to see him change so quickly into the books development.

The only thing I am not a huge fan of so far is Khoi Pham’s art. It’s a little simplistic and the people tend to have a very…rounded…look to them. It reminds me a bit of Ron Garney’s run on Amazing Spider-Man during Civil War and Back in Black (another style I just did not like). While this is obviously an annoyance in a medium that relies on pictures to create the story, the investment I have in the story will keep me coming back.

Overall Rating...

I liked this issue. It set things up nicely, drew Kaine into a larger world, and gave some more moments that show the thought process behind Marvel’s newest anti-hero. Between what was set up last time and what we have here, I’m hoping the next several months continue to provide such entertaining stories!