Rob’s reads: Scarlet Spider

I’m sure there are spoilers somewhere in there

Spider-man is such a beloved Marvel character after so many years different character developments happen that it is difficult to see that character act in any different way. If Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel movie is anything to go by people don’t like change. There was some grumblings about the direction that Spider-men went through with Dan Slott’s iteration’s of Spider-man. As the quote goes “you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain”, which might have happened to Slott with his take on Spidey.

I loved the concept behind the Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-man, it was ambitious and it was different, and it seems when you’ve covered a character for so long you want to be able to explore that character fully. And I think an obvious question would be what would Spider-man be like if he was more of an anti-hero and not the friendly neighborhood Spider-man that people know and love? Obviously that comic series was going to run into a couple speed bumps, with the death of the old Spider-man we knew and loved. Marvel was going through a lot of character changes at the time the Superior Spider-man story-line came out, from changing old character arcs like Iceman from the X-men being gay, to Thor being a woman and so. Some of these changes worked and some of them didn’t, it did allow of lot of changes in the marvel comic book universe to happen some good, some bad and some just lazy.

Anyway I digress, we’ve seen (I assume we’ve seen) Spider-man explored as an anti-hero one of my favorites was “The Spider Who Went Into The Cold”, a “what if” story line in which:

“Spider-Man is a killer. In 1987, Peter Parker followed Wolverine to Russia, who was on the trail of a friend working for the KGB. Realizing that the KGB would eventually kill his friend, Wolverine wanted to put her out of her misery. Peter tried to stop him, but accidentally killed the friend instead. Haunted by his actions, Peter fled home into the waiting arms of Mary Jane.

But WHAT IF…Peter never went home? WHAT IF…the Spider never came out of the cold?”

Find that wiki here

In Scarlet-Spider it is the same kind of concept, an anti-hero Spider-man that won’t be held back by the “responsibilities” of Spider-man.  For the most part it worked, for the most part.  The story spins out of the Spider-Island story line, there is a new Scarlet Spiderman based in Houston, Texas, albeit a reluctant Spider-man who wasn’t looking to be a hero.  That hero is Kane, going by the moniker Ben Reilly; Kane has a rich history and a strange connection with Spider-man in New York, Peter Parker, what with being a clone of Parker created by Jackal to kill Peter Parker. Kane was flawed by the cloning process and is left deformed and mentally unstable. The Jackal goes on to create a new, better clone which would become Ben Reilly, the clone that inspired Kane to take up the Ben Reilly mantle.  Having been cured of his mutation, the scars and instability, but not his spider-powers, Kane takes up the Scarlet Spider mantle. Kane started a trip around the USA to enter Mexico, earning money from both stopping robbers and committing robberies. Kane’s reluctance mirror that of our hero when he first became Spider-man by only wanting to look out for number one, something which never works out for our web-heads.

Scarlet-Spider starts out strong with interesting takes on what Spider-man would be like if he wasn’t afraid to cross the lines that Peter Parker’s Spider-man tries not to cross.  The writing starts out well-put together and interesting, as the series went on it became more obvious that there wasn’t much more that writer Christopher Yost could do with the character that was going to push him into interesting directions.  Kane is a great character, who meets the Superior Spider-man, unfortunately, that encounter fell short of the greatness that it could have been which is an apt way to look at the Scarlet-Spider story line. Peter Parker’s Spider-man works because he endures hardship to do the right thing regardless of how it affects his personal life, because as we’ve learned from Spider-man with great power comes great responsibility.

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