After becoming an unlikely hero in ‘Scarlet Spider’ #1, Kaine is leaving Houston. His plan is to go to Mexico and start a new life. But before he can even make it a couple of blocks, the girl that he saved last issue is attacked by a villain who threatens to burn down the hospital where the girl is recuperating. Despite his insistence that he doesn’t want to be a hero, Kaine rushes back into action as the Scarlet Spider.

The fiery villain Salamander is torching everything in sight in his pursuit of the girl, Aracely. What the connection between this monster and the girl, who is the last survivor of a human trafficking ring, remains to be seen. Kaine arrives on the scene in his Scarlet Spider getup and rushes to take down Salamander.

Salamander at first seems to have the upper hand in the fight. Believing Scarlet Spider to be Spider-Man, Salamander keeps laughing at how easy it is to hurt him. When the tables begin to turn, Salamander learns the hard way that Scarlet Spider isn’t Spider-Man. This Spider isn’t the nice guy that Spider-Man is and will shoot, strangle, and suffocate you. As the issue closes, Kaine decides to stick around Houston with the idea that he can make some atonement for his past villainy. So, even though he’s not a hero in the strictest sense, Kaine may end up proving that he has more Peter Parker in his DNA that he cares to admit.

Writer Chris Yost is delivering an awesome book in ‘Scarlet Spider’ that I fear a lot of people will overlook because of the characters association with the mid-90s clone saga. Kaine gives Yost a chance to take a look at what a person with superhero powers might do if he didn’t have the pathos and sense of justice that most heroes tend to have. It makes for some great interesting reading and, with only two issues so far, may shape up to be one of the best Marvel books of the year.

The art from Ryan Stegman is wonderful. It’s exactly what a Spider-Man related title should be. It’s a little cartoony, but has a hard enough edge to keep those tense moments thrilling and dangerous.

If you’re one of the people, like me, who hated the ‘Clone Saga’ and if you’ve been giving ‘Scarlet Spider’ a pass based on that… don’t. Go grab an issue and give Kaine a second chance. You’ll thank yourself later.

Verdict: Buy

Written by CHRIS YOST
Art and Cover by RYAN STEGMAN