Eduardo and Carlos Lobo were two of the featured antagonists in Gerry Conway's late '80s Gang War saga that spanned across both the Spectacular Spider-Man and Web of Spider-Man titles. Other than being your typical Mexican crime bosses who came to New York to seek revenge on the Kingpin, they also happened to be werewolves. The story of the Lobo Brothers concluded when Eduardo was accidentally killed by his former lover Glory Grant during a chaotic showdown between New York's gang lords. Carlos was presumably arrested after the melee and was never heard from again. Now that a Peter Parker clone resides in Houston though, it only makes sense to bring Carlos back into the Spiderverse.
|Inker:||Terry Pallot, Tom Palmer|
|Cover Art:||Edgar Delgado, Ryan Stegman|
|Colorist:||Andres Mossa, Antonio Fabela, Fabio D'Auria|
Carlos Lobo and his sister are in Houston and Kaine is putting a stop to as many human traffickers as he can find. In other words, this issue starts off exactly where the last issue left off. The idea of showing us the redundancy of Kaine’s rather futile attempts of putting a stop to the illegal Mexican child prostitution rings on a nightly basis is an idea ripped straight from Scarlet Spider (vol. 2) 12.1. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… it’s all the same. It’s never ending and Kaine knows it.
The dreariness of Kaine’s mission though, is quickly replaced with a colorful background as we see inside the dreams of Kaine’s orphaned sidekick, Aracely. In what is nothing more than a confusing and cryptic couple of pages, Aracely is visited by a talking coyote, a man in a bowler hat, a man in traditional Aztec garb and her dead parents. Suddenly the villain Salamander (from the very first issue) grabs Aracely by the throat. “The wolves come for you. Mictlan Rises!” he shouts. Putting a stop to the crazy dream, an upset and tearful Annabelle wakes Aracely from her nightmare. Apparently Aracely’s frantic tears were somehow psychically shared with Annabelle. “We need to find Kaine,” Annabelle states.
In another part of town, Carlos and his sister ride along in their black limo, impeccably dressed. Beside them sets what looks to be a dead man. Apparently whatever endeavor has brought them to Houston will give both of them a wish or a reward of some kind. Carlos tells his sister that he will ask for his brother Eduardo to be brought back to life. Carlos’ sister says that such a wish is foolish and would be a waste. She then sniffs into the air, says “she’s close,” and the car speeds off.
Meanwhile, in a downtown park, Kaine and Aracely are sharing ice cream. Aracely is still trying to decipher her recent dream when a nearby danger frightens her. Appearing in front of them are the Lobo siblings. Carlos immediately recognizes Kaine’s scent as Spider-Man’s. “The same, but different” he says. He then warns Kaine to walk away for they only want the girl. Kaine immediately grabs Aracely and swings to the rooftop of a nearby building. As Kaine switches into his Scarlet Spider costume, Aracely begins to howl into the moonlight. Kaine then remembers that the Bruiser, who ran into him last issue, also howled as he and the new Arranger left town.
It doesn’t take long for both Carlos and his sister (whose name has now been revealed to be Esmerelda) to scale the building, having now transformed into full fledged werewolves. One of the wolves immediately pounces on the Scarlet Spider while the other takes off in pursuit of Aracely. SS is able to trip up one of the attacking wolves with a web strand and then kicks the other off of him. Once both wolves turn their attention to the costumed hero though, Kaine realizes he’s in trouble.
One of the wolves scratches at the face of Scarlet Spider and rips off part of his mask. As Kaine hits the ground in pain, he screams for Aracely to run. The orphan is the Lobo’s main goal though and one of them quickly runs after her. Before the pursuing wolf can get to the girl, Kaine flies in and fervently tackles the beast. With the wolf in a prone position, Kaine finally has a chance to end one of them. He pulls out his stinger and prepares to do the deed. Just like Carnage, he thinks. But then he hesitates. He doesn’t want to be that monster. It’s that moment of hesitation that costs him. One of the wolves attacks Kaine from behind, sinking its teeth into our hero’s shoulder. The other wolf then rakes its claws across Kaine’s chest. It’s over. Kaine falls to the ground. As he loses consciousness he realizes that the wolves have surrounded him and to his horror, are beginning to eat him.
Dusting off characters that haven’t been used in decades is always a treat for long time fans. It’s been over two decades since we’ve seen the likes of Carlos Lobo and it’s nice to see him back in action. The inevitable battle escalated quickly (who has time for small talk?) and we’re left with Kaine in a pretty precarious situation. Khoi Pham, whose artwork I’m generally not a fan of, really steps his game up during the fight scenes at the end of the book. The anguish and pain in Kaine’s face as the battle begins to go south is displayed exceptionally well. Pham still has trouble getting some of the characters looks to stay consistent though. His depiction of Kaine out of costume has changed not just through his run as primary artist on the book but it sometimes seems to change rather drastically from one panel to another.
I also feel like we could have gotten a little more characterization out of the Lobo siblings. It seems like all of the buildup both on the Lobo side of things and Aracely’s side is so cryptic that I was just left scratching my head. I’m sure that Chris Yost plans on clueing us in on all these mysteries in the near future, but the fight escalated into such an epic confrontation so quickly that any type of sensible back story is going to have to be explained in another issue. Right now all we get is a lot of really intense action and some mumbo jumbo about Mictlan and left handed humming birds.
This could be the beginning of a really great arc, but it starts off a little shaky. We’re told basically nothing about the Lobo siblings, where they’ve been, why they’re after Aracely, so on and so forth. The dream sequence only mucks up the already murky story. The action is great though.
Not familiar with the Lobo Brothers? I recommend you read Al Sjoerdsma and Kerry Wilkinson’s impressive 17 part overview of the Lobo Brothers Gang War starting with the review of Spectacular Spider-Man #143.