At the finale to ‘Scarlet Spider’ #3, ghosts from his villainous past have come back to haunt him as Kaine (Scarlet Spider) came face-to-face with the Assassins Guild. But from where or when? As painful as it was, I read a lot of Kaine stories back during the mid-90s ‘clone saga’ in the Spider-Man books and I don’t remember Kaine working with the Assassins Guild. But no worries, this issue explains all that…

The opening to this issue jumps right into explaining the question that I’m sure lots of Kaine readers were wondering… when the heck did Kaine work with the Guild? It seems as if sometime in the vague undefined “past”, Kaine was confronted by members of the Assassins Guild. The Guild didn’t like the idea that Kaine was taking on assassination gigs of his own without paying up their membership fees. They offer Kaine the chance to pay up and join them, to which Kaine offers a rude reply and basically tells them to shove off.

Back to the present… Now that we know why the Assassins Guild is after Kaine, we get to the action of this issue as Kaine has a showdown several of the Guild’s highest trained killers. Meanwhile, Kaines pal Dr. Meland has taken it upon himself to confront Terrence Mitchell, the man who put a price on his head after the doctor failed to save Mitchell’s family on the operating table. The Doc realized quickly that this was a bad idea since one of the assassins is waiting at Mitchell’s house to finish the job. Before all is said and done, blood spilled, lives are broken, and Kaine makes a deal that he’ll surely regret.

The way that writer Chris Yost has fleshed out the ex-villain Kaine into a story of personal redemption makes ‘Scarlet Spider’ one of those sleeper books that I’m sure people will be talking about after it’s overlooked and eventually cancelled. Kaine’s pathos and his super-stellar supporting cast have broken the character (other than the costume) out of the show of Spider-Man and made him into an amazing figure in the Marvel Universe. If you want a superhero title that’s a little out of the norm with lots of action, some great characters, and a little bit of humor, you could do worse than checking out ‘Scarlet Spider’.

Verdict: Buy

Written by CHRIS YOST