by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Christopher Yost, Art by Khoi Pham
Published: June 2013
I may be talking out of my butt, but in a lot of ways Scarlet Spider feels like the opposite of Spider-Man. Peter Parker is a relatively goofy guy trying to cope with a harsh, merciless world. Kaine, on the other hand, doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, but the world he lives in makes up for that. In Scarlet Spider 16, Kaine’s friends talk him into attending a rodeo, where he whines and complains and sulks, all while wearing a shockingly out-of-character cowboy hat. When it looks like things couldn’t be going less his way, a villain named Armadillo crashes the rodeo, in an effort to win back his ex-girlfriend. Scarlet Spider may not find any of this funny, but I certainly do.
Issue #16 seems to be more of a standalone issue rather than part of an arc, though current events are touched on and the last few pages certainly tie in to something larger. I’m usually not a fan of standalone issues as I see them as lacking in substance, and while I wouldn’t call this issue substantial, it’s definitely a lot of fun. It’s good to see Kaine spending some time with his friends. He character isn’t necessarily making great strides, as he spends most of the time standing around and being a hardass, but it helps to humanize the character. The character is just a grump.
I’m glad Kaine got the girl. We don’t know where it’s going to lead (though we’re given an unpleasant idea), but I’ve read more than enough superhero comics to know that superheroes and regular humans can co-exist romantically. While I’m sad that this isn’t going to be a Peter Parker/Mary Jane-caliber romance, I’m interested to see how it’s going to play out after what we learn at the end of the issue.