Comics : Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #17

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This story is part of an Arc: "Wrath"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: Jun 2013.

Background...

Kaine, who just recently came to terms with his life and darker nature, delved deeper into his more brutal nature and came back from the dead as a giant, spider-like monster. While he was able to regain his humanity, a piece of that dark side remains, goading him to give in again. However, he has also found love and acceptance, and has seemingly started a relationship with Annabelle Adams. But she too has secrets of her own, burning a letter from the new Madame Web warning Kaine to run to Mexico.

In Detail...

"Wrath Part 1"
Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #17
Jul 2013 : SM Title
Arc: Part 1 of "Wrath"
Writer:  Christopher Yost
Pencils:  Carlo Barberi
Inker:  Walden Wong
Cover Art:  Ryan Stegman
Lettering:  VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover Colorist:  Edgar Delgado
Colorist:  Rex Lokus
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alonso
Senior Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Editor:  Tom Brennan
Staff Only
Issue
Review

The story begins with Dr. Donald Meland treating a patient brought into the ER with a gunshot wound. Upon beginning surgery, he finds a small ball in the victim, with the name “Kaine” written on it. No time to ponder what this could mean! We immediately cut to a fancy restaurant where Gunsmith and Belladonna of the Assassin’s Guild are discussing whether Kaine will respond to their…summons. Scarlet Spider of course shows up at this exact instance and proceeds to re-injure Gunsmith’s hands, preventing any fight. Wasting no time, Belladonna tells Scarlet that she has a contract for him and then she’ll leave him and his friends alone. The hit? Wolverine. And if he doesn’t fulfill this request, they will come after everyone he knows.

Back at the Four Seasons, Aracely attempts to persuade Kaine into letting her come along. However, it seems this has already been planned as she has been provided a fake ID (how/why the Assassin’s Guild decided to let her go is never explained). Aracely is excited to go, but Kaine is less than thrilled. Aracely is also surprisingly ok with him murdering someone…but I guess it moves the story along. Kaine begins to have his doubts, but at least we avoid the “I’m a monster” speech in favor of some relevant self-doubt and disgust.

Kaine and Aracelt manage to sneak their way onto the campus of the “Jean Grey School for Higher Learning”, an institution which Kaine can only marvel at (pun not intended). Using his “spider communication” ability, Kaine tracks Wolverine’s location. Aracely (in a costume and calling herself “Hummingbird”) attempts to infiltrate the school, while an unknown member of the Assassin’s Guild tracks their progress.

Aracely doesn’t make it far before she’s stopped, by who I assume is Rachel Grey? I’m not up on my X-Men knowledge. When she attempts to read Aracely’s mind though, Aracely has one of her “moments” and becomes Huitzilopochtli, causing great pain to all the resident psychic students. While Aracely attempts to apologize, Beast and Iceman attack a previously cloaked Scarlet Spider (Beast was able to smell him out). The fight doesn’t last long before Shadowcat puts her hand in Scarlet’s head and before Aracely stops her. Finally, Wolverine arrives, ready for a fight.

Kaine is taken back at first by Wolverine’s ferocity. He recognizes that while he thinks he’s a monster, Wolverine is an animal. He’s beginning to have his doubts when Wolverine manages to slice him with his claws…and Kaine’s mental “Other” comes out. He quickly stabs Wolverine in the heart and tears it in two. While the other X-Men stare in horror, Kaine delivers the line, “Who’s next?”

In General...

This was a pretty fast paced issue! It’s nice to see Yost bringing in some of these dangling threads we’ve been getting. And while this one feels like a bit of a cop out because Kaine CLEARLY cannot kill Wolverine (in a significant fashion) it also brings up some interesting future points: What now? Will Wolverine become an ally? How is he going to handle the fact that a second Spider-Man just appeared and murdered him? How is Aracely going to handle the fact that she just saw Kaine murder a man without hesitation? Am I thinking too much about things that will never got resolved (not in a satisfactory manner, anyways).

This issue went by pretty fast. There was little time to develop the story sufficiently, but I think the focus of this is less on HOW they got to where they are and more on WHERE they’re going to go now (based on solicitations for the next month). I know that Kaine and Wolverine will have an obligatory team-up now, but how far will that alliance extend?

There’s not much else to really comment on in this issue I feel. It feels like mostly set-up, which is fine. I just hope to see Kaine building more alliances now. And I am a fan of seeing this “Other” side emerge…it has potential for an interesting struggle.

Art wise, I am VERY glad to see a new artist in the book. Barberi does a good job, and has a consistent style throughout, something much lacking since Stegman’s departure. I hope to see him continue on for now, or at the very least, someone who isn’t Pham.

Overall Rating...

A decent enough issue. Nothing ground-breaking, but worth a read if you’ve been a fan so far. I think my main problem is the book still feels like stories working around the characters rather than characters driving the story forward. Things need to feel more fluid in the progression rather than jerky steps forward moving from one minor plot to the next. Again, maybe I’m overly critical.