Comics : Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #24

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This story is part of an Arc: "Hands Covered in Blood"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: Jan 2014.

Background...

Recently, Kraven the Hunter came to Houston looking for Kaine. Since the events of The Grim Hunt, the two have been “tied” together, and Kraven could only find release from his restored life if it was given by Kaine. Attempting to goad him into his darker impulses, Kraven kidnapped Kaine’s friends and had his dauther, Ana, critically would Donald Meland. Kaine triumphed over Kraven, but potentially at the cost of his friend’s life. Officer Wally Layton, a friend of Kaine and husband to Meland, used his police connections and learned of Kaine’s true past…

In Detail...

"Hands Covered in Blood"
Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #24
Feb 2014 : SM Title
Summary: Kaine faces the consequences of his actions
Arc: Part 1 of "Hands Covered in Blood"
Writer:  Christopher Yost, Erik Burnham
Artist:  David Baldeon
Cover Art:  Ryan Stegman
Lettering:  VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover Colorist:  Edgar Delgado
Colorist:  Chris Sotomayor
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

As we begin our tale, Kaine describes a nightmare he had recently to the priest he’s used before for guidance. In his dream there was fire, carnage, chaos, and swarms of wasps. While he feels he saw Hell, the priest tries to tell him…well, that it’s not a sin to have a nightmare and that no one can see the future. Kaine brushes this off, as he is still devastated by what happened to Donald. The priest tries to convince him that it’s not his fault and that he can’t dwell on “maybes” and that, perhaps, this is all a test. Kaine says that he shouldn’t be tested because he’ll always make the wrong choice. The priest counters with why he came to him then rather than run away.

At the hospital, Kaine talks to Annabelle about Donald’s recovery. He still continues to blame himself, even going so far as to twist the priest’s words into a condemnation. Annabelle attempts to reason with him as well, but he won’t hear it. The two separate so she can check on Wally. Meanwhile, Kaine is being pursued by an unknown stalker…

Back at the Four Seasons, Kaine dumps his costume in the trash and lights it on fire, as he is “Scarlet Spider no more!” Unfortunately, as it is made of unstable molecules, the costume does not actually burn. Aracely takes it from the trash and tries to convince Kaine he is still her champion, but she is cut off by a “buzzing” in her head. She asks if Annabelle is coming over, but Kaine is not interested in seeing her…..or so he thought. When he goes to his room, she’s waiting for him in his bed.

While Kaine finally finds some comfort, Aracely finds her own personal torment. Despite being awake, she becomes stuck in one of her nightmares, where a flaming bird tells her to stay away from “Nahuatl” or she will die. Meanwhile, snake tells her if she does not enter, all will die. A corpse appears from the ground and tells her Mictlan is coming, but the snake tells her it cannot rise without her.

In his room, Kaine and Annabelle talk, where she tells him that he’s everything she could hope, and that her children will love him. Wait, kids? Before Kaine can react, he hears Aracely call his name. He rushes to her, only to find that Officer Wally Layton has arrived, in riot gear and wielding a shotgun. He lists the charges against Kaine and places him under arrest. Meanwhile, in the lobby, Annabelle Adams arrives, confusing the woman at the front desk and possibly some readers. When she goes to the elevator, another woman jumps in, carrying a large case. She asks for the Presidential Suite, as she is looking for her lover, Kaine.

Back in the Suite, Wally confronts Kaine about his past and our hero finally opens up. “Annabelle” and Aracely try to stop Wally, but he won’t listen. Though Kaine may have saved lives, he Wally still blames him for Donald and he will not let his criminal past go. Kaine delivers a sincere speech, telling Wally he never wanted this and can’t imagine how he feels, and as such, he surrenders. Aracely tries to user her own powers to persuade Wally, but he only threatens to take her down too (yikes). Annabelle delivers a cryptic line that Kaine now belongs to her.

However, before she can finish that thought, the real Annabelle shows up. She bursts in, furious about Kaine’s lover. Turns out it’s Zoe Walsh, last seen in Scarlet Spider Vol.2 #9, and she’s still angry about her father. When Annabelle questions her double in the room, the second revelas herself to be Shathra, the spider-wasp totem that Peter Parker fought. Zoe interrupts the drama to reveal what she had been carrying in her case…a rocket launcher! Before anyone can move, she pulls the trigger, blowing up the Presidential Suite….

In General...

There is a LOT going on here. Yost only has another issue to wrap up any lingering threads and he’s trying to do so in that time. You have to respect the man for trying! With little time left, he’s trying to make sure fans aren’t left without the answers. But how much can he do? And will things go as he had planned, or will some of his explanations have to be altered to fit the time-frame. That we may never know.

In all though, I liked this issue. In the final pages, Yost wanted to create a sense of urgency and chaos, and he certainly delivered on that! By assaulting both Kaine and the reader with so much at one time, we don’t even know what the real threat is, or if everyone will make it out alive. Again, I’m happy to see that Yost isn’t letting anything slip by, even addressing the story of Zoe in this final story. But is adding Shathra too much? Fellow Spider-Fan reviewer Cody called this awhile back and at the time, I didn’t see it. How does she fit into all of this? And how far back does her deception go? Will she fit into this Mictlan thing? And will we see that resolved?

It was also interesting to finally see someone else decide that Kaine is, in fact, a monster and needs to be stopped. Seeing Wally’s pain, how will this affect Kaine’s future and his already damaged psyche? There’s so many questions here after the events of this issue, but if anything, it’s left me more excited for the final installment of this series than I was before. Excited, but also very sad…not only did I enjoy this series and maintain a lot of hope for it, but this story may not end quite so happily either….

Overall Rating...

This is issue is a crazy mess, but in all the right ways. There’s a bunch that’s about to happen and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out. I’m hoping for at least some level of peace for Kaine, but with the way these past few issues have gone…