Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Comics Review:Scarlet Spider #21

Written by: Chris Yost & Erik Burnham
Art by: Carlo Barberi & David Baldeon

    First off, that cover. Can it be true, is it real? IS!!! THIS!!! LIFE?!?!?! Could that truly be Ben Reilly, THE Scarlet Spider right on the cover of this month's Scarlet Spider?! And not only that but in place of the "All of the power, none of the responsibility." tag on the top of the issue, it says "Because you demanded it, Ben Reilly the original..." So just about now, I've lost my shit, safe to say. Yep, shit is lost. Enough drooling over the cover, let's finally open up this book to see what exactly is inside!

    We open at the Four Seasons Hotel, where Kaine has been staying for quite sometime while he's been in Houston. He's flipping out, trashing up the room all because his degenerative disease is coming back. His face is all scared up like it once was long ago. I'd be mad too if I was suddenly dying by something that was supposed to kill me, but gave up. ESPECIALLY if I had just become a super hero and started using my powers for good. Aracely tries to get into his mind to see what's bothering him so much, maybe she can help. Yeah, that's not a good idea at all. Instead, she finds that spider beast hiding in Kaine's mind and well, that scares her off. Just as it would anyone who travels into minds. He gets so mad just flings a couch out the window, and bails from the newly gaping whole into the rainstorm. While in his flight, he either runs out of webbing or blacks out, I'm not sure. But he crash lands and gets some lip from a near by dude in his car. Kaine's answer? A swift kick to the door. Not too long after Kaine gets a swift kick of his own to his face. The next page reveals an incredible full page shot of the original Scarlet Spider, Ben Reilly, standing behind a crouched Kaine Parker. I mean seriously, this is beautiful. Its like, phone background worthy. Immediately the scene shoots over to Park Plaza Hospital workplace of Dr. Donald Meland. He's got an urgent call from Aracely, and is told she sounded a bit scared. He rushes into his office to call his husband, police officer Wally Layton, but as he's calling, the lights in his office cut off. What looks like a knife appears from the dark and the scene cuts back to Ben and Kaine. Ben starts tearing into Kaine, telling him how he made a new life for himself, a happy life until he started hearing stories. Stories of a new Spider-Man in Houston, Texas. Calling himself the Scarlet Spider. Ben's pissed at Kaine for trying to be a hero after all the bad he did. All the lives he took, all the time he tortured Ben, not only to try and be a hero but to take his name! Kaine tries to escape to get his head together, probably still shocked that Ben Reilly was standing in front of him. Over in Montrose, apartment of Annabelle Adams, she's awoken by a phone call, its Aracely. Poor girl's just trying to get anyone to come and help her. Annabelle heads into the bathroom to freshen up a bit, when she closes the door and screams.

    Kaine's finally got a minute to himself but it doesn't last long. Sooner than later he's got a knee in his face and web balls hitting him in the head. After a couple hits, Kaine's decided he's had enough. He takes his mask off to show his face, oddly enough, without the degenerative virus anymore. He admits that yes, he's done many things wrong as a villain, and yes he's been trying to make it up by taking on the role of a man he admired. But the REAL Ben Reilly wouldn't have been mad or offended by it, he'd be honored, appreciative and even forgave Kaine. So that can only mean that this man isn't Ben Reilly. And just as he goes to take his mask off, the scene changes again. Wally Layton's just getting home, leaving his husband a message not knowing he's been possibly kidnapped or even worse, killed. The power's out at his place too, and as he enters the kitchen, he finds his dog has been murdered. Reading this was real awkward for me, it didn't feel good. Anyone who's ever owned a pet, especially a dog would feel terrible reading this. His remorse for his dog, Buddy, doesn't last long before there a crash and a scream. Looks like Layton's been taken too. Meanwhile, at the rooftop fight, ben finally takes his mask off and yes, it is the face of Ben Reilly. Kaine seeing this, wastes no time in fighting back. Looks like Ben's been lost to something greater and talking isn't going to solve anything. He finally beats Ben to the ground and Kaine stands over him. Knowing that he may just have to kill him, but doesn't want to. Then, the voices start talking in his head. First, Spider-Man, telling Kaine that is he doesn't kill Ben, he'll come back for his alter-ego and completely take Kaine's new life away. Then the Jackal gives his two cents. Telling Kaine he was always the favorite clone and he should definitely kill Ben.

    Back at the Four Seasons, Aracely is left home watching the fight between the two Scarlet Spiders, trying to reach Kaine and tell him not to kill Ben. He's better than that, he can't kill him. Her thoughts are interrupted quickly when the daughter of Kraven the Hunter appears in the apartment. They have a long long LONG seeded score to settle, the Kraven family and Kaine. The knife she holds is the same knife used to kill Wally's dog, and the same knife that appeared in the office of Dr. Meyland. She's been going around kidnapping all of Kaine's closest friends. The fight between Scarlet Spiders rages on the in pouring rain. Kaine's slowly losing the fight, realizing that he may just have to kill Ben just to survive. Ben finally reveals that the degenerative disease was never reintroduced to Kaine, he was drugged the whole time. Ben had Kaine drugged to think he was dying again, to make it easier to catch him. The final page reveals that the original Scarlet Spider was not Ben Reilly, it was Kraven the Hunter! So Ben was never back to begin with, aaaaaaaaaaaaaand I'm super pissed off. Kraven says that there's unfinished business between the two of them, and now's the time to finish it. One of them must die, and Kaine couldn't agree more. This was a great issue, it was non-stop from the start. It didn't slow down for a bit. Where there wasn't action, there was suspense. An awesome fight, a great twist that didn't even reveal until the end. Man, why can't everything be as good as this. I find sometimes I get a lot more entertainment out of my $3 books than my $4 books. Get on that Marvel! Anywho, I'm excited to see where this is going to end up, its been a long while since we saw the Kraven family cross paths with the Scarlet Spider. And even back then I was awaiting to see how that would end. Could Kaine possibly be the new focus of a Texas version of Kraven's Last Hunt? I wouldn't be too mad at that. Guess we'll all have to find out in the next couple issues of Scarlet Spider! Until next week!

-Matt Milanes

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