At the finale to ‘Scarlet Spider’ #7, Kaine had broken into Roxxon Corporation to try and find the truth behind whatever CEO David Walsh is hiding concerning one of the company’s off-shore drilling rigs. But, before Kaine can get anything out of Walsh, the superhero crimefighting team called The Rangers shows up thinking that Kaine is a criminal.

This issue opens with an ominous flashback scene set on the Roxxon oil rig. It seems that the team have discovered… something… and now they’re struggling to keep it under control. The only way they’ve found to keep this “it” contained is to lock it in the body of human beings! Ooooo… creepy!

Okay. Creepy foreshadowing out of the way, we cut back to Walsh’s office at Roxxon where Scarlet Spider is assessing The Rangers team. There’s a fire-powered lady (Firebird), an electric guy (Living Lightning), a weird robot/alien (Fifty-One), a horrid Native American archetype (Red Wolf), the prerequisite sharp-shooter (Shooting Star), and their leader, a tornado (literally) of a man, called The Texas Twister. If The Rangers plan on taking down Scarlet Spider, they have to hope that their fighting skills are better than their ability to come up with some original sounding names.

Scarlet Spider, starts off his attack by grabbing Shooting Star and tossing her out of a window where she’s caught by Texas Tornado. He proceeds to dodge some fire and electric attacks, grabs Walsh’s daughter Zoe, and leaps out the same window through which he tossed Star. Thus begins a frantic chase as The Rangers try to retrieve Zoe, still assuming that Scarlet Spider is a crook, and now a kidnapper as well.

Meanwhile, Zoe tells Kaine that there’s something else hidden in Roxxon’s oil rig. So the duo rush towards the rig to discover… an empty room where Zoe says there should be tons of dead bodies. It’s about this time that The Rangers catch up with Kaine and Zoe. Oh boy! This doesn’t look good for Kaine trying to prove that he isn’t a crook. But then Fifty-One reveals something that looks like it’s about to lead to the inevitable superhero team-up come next issue.

Chris Yost’s wild stories, combined with the struggle of Kaine to prove himself after being a villain for so long, makes ‘Scarlet Spider’ one of the best, and often overlooked, titles on comic shelves. Sure… The Rangers were a little cliched in their names but, in the end, I think that makes it part of their charm since they come from a city where there really aren’t that many superheroes. Besides… you can’t really accuse Scarlet Spider of coming up with an original hero name either, now can we?

Verdict: Buy

Story by Chris Yost
Art by Khoi Pham & Tom Palmer
Cover by Ryan Stegman & Edgar Delgado