Comics : Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #18

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

This review was first published on: Jul 2013.

Background...

Kaine, who just recently came to terms with his life and darker nature, delved deeper into his more brutal nature and now must deal with the lasting consequences. Shortly after, the Assassin’s Guild approached him, demanding he fulfill his bargain in exchange for them leaving him alone. His target? Wolverine. Kaine and Aracely head to New York and infiltrate Wolverine’s school. After quickly being discovered, Kaine and Wolverine fight, with Kaine emerging victorious and apparently fulfilling his contract.

In Detail...

"Wrath Part 2"
Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #18
Aug 2013 : SM Title
Summary: Scarlet Spider and Wolverine vs Assassin's Guild
Arc: Part 2 of "Wrath"
Writer:  Christopher Yost
Pencils:  Ale Garza, 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
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Issue
Review

The issue picks up directly after the events from last month. The masked sniper who had been tracking Kaine reports back to Belladonna that Wolverine is dead and that Kaine is surrounded. Rather than back him up, Belladonna calls the sniper back. In the mansion, the Storm and Iceman quickly stop Kaine and Aracely, but the young Jean Grey calls them off. Beast, hearing Wolverine’s heart mend, revives him with a powerful slam to the chest. Wolverine wakes up and quickly subdues Kaine.

Soon after, Wolverine gears up in his X-Factor costume, ready to head out with Kaine on a mysterious mission. It is revealed now that during the attack, Aracely telepathically communicated to Jean Grey that they needed Wolverine to play along because of the sniper outside. She communicated the message to him and thus the apparent death.

Meanwhile, in New Orleans, the Assassin’s Guild fulfills yet another contract, all the while mentioning the Red Death and sacrifices. Kaine and Wolverine head to stop the Guild, while Kaine explains his predicament. At the Mansion, the X-Men run tests on Aracely and discover that she is not a mutant, but that she may also be host to another being (a fact I am pretty sure we’re all familiar with by this point).

Kaine and Wolverine arrive in New Orleans and quickly begin killing off the masked members of the Assassin’s Guild. Kaine notes how easily he’s slipping back to his old ways and how he’ll pay for it later. However, without a spider-sense to warn him he is unable to avoid an attack from Harvest, who still holds a grudge after Kaine cut off his leg in their last encounter (which, by the way, is a pretty good reason to stay mad at someone).

Gunsmith and Flower (the little girl) also show up, looking to take out the two heroes. Gunsmith taunts Wolverine, telling him he’ll use an explosive round to the brain, an idea Kaine makes note of before saving Wolverine. Wolverine returns the favor by (I’m guessing here) cutting off Harvest’s other leg and knocking Flower out. Belladonna arrives at this time, upset by Kaine’s betrayal. Kaine, on the other hand, is more upset that a woman that attractive is trying to kill him. Belladonna warns them that if they don’t die, the Red Death will come for them. Using his suit’s stealth option, Kaine sneaks up on Belladonna and puts a stinger to her throat. However, before anyone can make any moves, a mysterious force arrives, stabbing Gunsmith (guy can’t catch a break) and grabbing Kaine and Wolverine by the throat. The Red Death (who looks a lot like Thor villain Enchantress dressed in red) has arrived.

In General...

Revisiting this issue, I must say I rather enjoyed it. The explanation for how Kaine and Aracely convinced Wolverine to go along with their plan and that whole resolution seemed a bit weak, but the issue overall had some factors I really enjoyed.

We’re finally seeing the conclusion to a plot thread that Yost dangled in front of us over a year ago. While I wanted to see what Kaine would do when the Assassin’s Guild came for him, I’m glad that it wasn’t addressed too much sooner or in a single/two-issue arc. I feel like this is a good way to get everything handled and also either end the conflict he has with them or make it worse. I feel like at this point it could go either way.

I also enjoyed seeing Kaine let loose a bit this issue. I know Otto-Spidey has been doing this a bunch over in Superior, but when this title was first released, it was a more novel concept to have the darker Spider-Man (unless you want to count Venom as covering that). After the first few issues, that seems to have been dropped in favor of him constantly telling us what a monster he is. This time…we see it. And what I REALLY liked was him noting that he would pay for it later. That was a nice touch.

I also enjoyed Kaine’s dark, cynical humor. The last line of the comic was worth a laugh just because it really sold how cold Kaine can be at times. Of course, while I am singing this issue’s praises, I can’t help but feel a little nervous that next issue will leave me disappointed.

The art continues to impress after dealing with Pham’s art for as long as we did. Barberi does some great action scenes in this issue, in particular the scenes with Wolverine and Kaine taking out the Assassin’s Guild flunkies.

My only nitpick (which I forgot to mention last time I think) is that Kaine’s costume changed for this arc. In the last issue he casually mentions he “thought at it” to make it change, which contradicts what he said earlier in the series about not being able to get it to change back. Not sure why they went for this look for this arc, especially since I like Kaine’s new look. Ah well, won’t let that ruin an otherwise good issue.

Overall Rating...

I’m feeling generous. 3 seemed like a decent score, but this one continues the story pretty well, shows us Kaine in action again, and also addresses his worry over his brutal nature without bogging the story down with self-doubt. I hope next issue keeps this going!