Scarlet Spider #1 Advance Review!

Published by MARVEL COMICS

Showgirls. Limp Bizkit. Chromium Covers. Rob Liefeld. Raver pants so big you could hide a hobo in them while you were WEARING them. All these ill-advised, earth-shatteringly bad things came to fruition during the 90’s, and since this is a review for The Scarlet Spider, I think you know what I’m getting at here. But despite Spider-Man’s Clone Saga being 35% interesting story and 65% chromium ass-hair laden tripe,  I do have a guilty pleasure nerve in me that tingles at the thought of it. Do we need to return to it? Absolutely not. Is it just a ploy at cashing in on the upcoming 90’s resurgence in pop culture? Most likely. Am I still totally sucked in despite all this? Sigh.

For those of you who AREN’T 100 effing years old, Kaine is the (previously evil) clone of Peter Parker. He was jealous of and hated Ben Reilly, the (altruistic and previously alive) clone of Pete. Ben was even Spider-Man for awhile, having been duped into thinking that Peter was the clone and that HE was the original Peter Parker.  And his Spidey costume was AWESOME. Of course, most of that doesn’t matter for this story. All you need to know is that Kaine used to be a scarred-up, degenerating jerk who killed lots of people by body-modifying them to death with branding or somesuch sillitude, but now that his brain isn’t deteriorating, he’s trying to…well, not so much be GOOD, but at the very least… not be BAD. And that’s the saving grace of this book. I was skeptical towards the seemingly over-night transformation his personality underwent. “Grrr, I’m bad! Wait, now I’m handsome and great! Doers of evil, beware my chiseled jaw!” Well, as it turns out, that’s not so much the case. Sure in this book, he does some thwarting, but only so he could rob the bad-guys of their ill-gottens. I’m glad to see that his road to redemption is going to have some pot-holes, and they’re going to have to keep it bumpy if they’re going to avoid making the book stale. Obviously, as soon as he stops being the reluctant hero, we’ll just have another Spider-Man title on our hands.

I give Marvel credit for not bringing back Ben Reilly, who crumbled like frothy Shake & Bake after being ker-stabbed by the Green Goblin, but how many Spider-Man villains are going to get the “road to redemption” treatment? The Sandman. Venom: Lethal Protector. The Black Cat. Molten Man. Black Widow. The Beetle. The “good” Green Goblin? I’m hoping Yost has something a little more original planned for our anti-hero. I like that he no longer has his procog abilities OR spider-sense. He now has organic webshooters. I hope some more differences emerge to really set Scarlet Spider from Spidey. I guess it’s too much to hope that the terrible name Scarlet Spider is up for changing, since it’s the title of the comic? Oh well. I also hope that his new costume is going to go through a change or two before they settle on one. I’m not fond of this version yet. I’d almost prefer the sleeveless hoodie!

I know I may be presenting a conflicted opinion on this book, but I should be clear that I’m actually kind of giddy to be reading this book. I’m always in favor of second chances, and maybe if this book is good enough, it’ll help to repair the damage to our childhoods that the Clone Saga made us block out in the first place, only to be remembered during a tear-filled session of  hypnosis with our collective therapist. This is not only Kaine’s quest for redemption but Marvel’s as well, I hope. 😉


When not hosting the PopTards Podcast, fist-bumping his own nethers, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam here, JD is graphically designing/illustrating/inking for a living, hanging with the @$$holes over at and Booking his Face off over here. He is also now co-hosting another Comic Book discussion show on alongside Bohdi Zen. They discuss comics and play music, check it out live every Saturday from 4-5pm.

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4 Comments to “Scarlet Spider #1 Advance Review!”

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  1. Tgjan says:

    Ha ha oh man, I actually like the name Scarlett Spider. I’m probably alone in that. I’m excited for this title for some reason and I’m not a product of 90s comics. I actually did know of Ben Riley though. Did you get a chance to read the 6 issue remake of the clone saga by Tom Defalco and Todd Nauck that came out 3 or 4 years ago? I really enjoyed that series. (Also, I’m obsessed with Nauck’s art)

  2. Mark Mackner says:

    Don’t pretend like you didn’t buy that Limp Bizkit album that had “Nookie” and “Break Stuff” on it. That’s right. I’m spilling your darkest secrets on your very own website! Was that in the 90’s? I guess so. We met in ’99, I think, and that was new then. So they certainly do represent the worst of late 90’s music. And they wore those big raver pants, too. Ugh.

    Having said all of that, I guess I don’t mind if Kaine pops up in ASM every now and then, but I just don’t feel compelled to pick up his solo title. There’s no way it’s going to last, and with money being tight as it is these days, I’m not going to bother getting invested in it.

    Didn’t they resurrect Ben Reilly during BND? In that story with that Raptor guy who had dinosaur powers, or something? When Aunt May’s relatives from Boston or some place were staying with her? Remember that?

  3. JD (Host) says:

    @tgjan: I’m not sure what it is about that name that I never liked, it just always sounded weird to me, I guess. Yeah that mini-series was how the clone saga was originally SUPPOSED to happen, but then marketing got involved and they dragged it out as long as they possibly could until every hated them.

    but that’s not the story I remember…I remember reading the behind the scenes stuff and them talking about how they were trying to get an un-married Peter and Ben was the way they were going to fix it, by revealing that Ben was the original Peter the entire time, and sending MJ and the clone that we’d been reading for the last 2 decades or so off to live happily ever after. But then, once all the fans realized that they were basically wiping out the past 20 years of continuity, they got super-pissed and then Marvel had to change it back. I think they could have just had the balls to stick with it, but whatever. And maybe I heard wrong, but that’s the story I remember.

    @Mark Mackner: I did like that cover song that they did back that…I forget what it was, but I did like it. Actually, I saw Limp Bizkit at either the Warped Tour or Lollapolooza waaay back before they were on the radio and I was like “huh, this is actually kind of interesting”. Then they album came out and was on the radio and I went “ohhhh wait. this is garbage. dang.”

    No they didn’t resurrect Ben Reilly during BND. He’s stayed dead, but that was a flashback to when he was on the run and was assisting that scientist who went on to become the super-villain YAWN…the most generic and boring villain of BND. Or something.

    You’re right about the title though, I don’t think it’s going to last, but like Spider-Girl, I’m curious to see how it goes.

  4. Mark Mackner says:

    I saw a Faith No More show at the Electric Factory ages ago, where Limp Bizkit opened and got booed off the stage. That alone was worth the price of admission. The cover song you may be thinking of was “Faith”, the old George Michael tune.

    No, I remember you being embarrassed after we listened to the album a couple of times, and you were like, “Wow, this is bad. I need to sell this”, or something like that.

    Ah, so that WAS a Ben Reilly flasback during BND. OK. And you’re right, that dude certainly WAS the most boring villain of BND. His costume was really bland and didn’t fit with his powers. OK, he’s got dinosaur powers. So let’s dress him up like… Paladin? Sure, whatever. They shoulda just brought back Stegron, the Dinosaur Man.

    I really liked Spider-Girl, though. I wish they gave that title more time to find an audience. I also liked Stephanie Brown as Bat Girl, and was bummed to see that fall apart around the same time.

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