Writer: Christopher Yost
Art: Ryan Stegman
The book may be called Scarlet Spider, but in issue #6, the costume makes nary an appearance. Rather this story is more about Kaine, about his continued struggle with who he was, who he is, and who he wants to be. It’s also an issue that hints at some ominous things on the horizon, which means that it’s really a pretty average filler issue.
True, the daughter of Kraven the Hunter does show up, and they fight. But the whole thing felt strange somehow, like all of that was just in there to give the issue some action because otherwise it would have been all introspective stuff, and unlike some other books (such as Batman), the writing isn’t good enough to carry a story without action. Either that, or there wasn’t really enough material to fill this, er, filler issue, so they had to pad it somehow. So while there are interesting bits here and there with the characters, overall it just feels like we’re waiting for the real story to happen, but that isn’t happening in this issue.
Nevertheless, in the moments when Kaine contemplates who he was, is, and wants to be, things are fairly interesting. His struggle isn’t unlike that of the rest of us. We know the things we’ve done in the past, particularly the mistakes and bad choices that continue to haunt us. We know who we are in the present, and many of us would like to be someone different. We’d like to become something more, something better. Kaine certainly feels that way, and I think it’s significant that in the end he turns to the Church for answers to questions like, “Why have I been given a second chance?” I especially love how he’s willing to admit “I’m a bad person. I’ve done horrible things. Part of me still wants to do horrible things.” In order to find the answers he wants, he’s at least turned to the right place; the house of God. The fact of the matter is that the reason he, or any of us, is given a second chance, and even more chances beyond that, is quite simple; God loves you. Here’s the amazing thing; God knows all about the bad in us. He knows everything bad thing we’ve done or have even thought about doing. He knows our darkest impulses and thoughts, and yet he still loves us. He loves us so much that his son, Jesus Christ, died on a cross and rose from the dead in order to help us overcome that darkness within, to have that replaced with the light of his being and love, to have all of the bad things of our past wiped away. God loves you just the way you are, but he loves you too much to leave you the way you are. To be better, to aspire to more, to higher and greater things; God wants to help us make that happen, but first, we have to accept his help. I love the fact that Kaine goes to the Church because I have seen that happen time and again; when someone comes up against the unanswerable and reaches the end of themselves at the lowest point, that’s often exactly what they do.
Despite that, nothing much really happens in this issue. It all just feels like a waiting room for what’s to come next. It’s tough to fill in those gaps between story arcs, but if you haven’t been reading Scarlet Spider, this issue will kind of get you caught up on what’s happened so far before launching into what happens next. It’s not a great read, but I’ve read worse.
Score: 4 of 7
A BIG thanks to Astro-Zombies for providing the material for this review. Learn more about them at astrozombies.com.