Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Scarlet Spiders #1

As I've said elsewhere recently I have a fondness for the Clone Saga. I bought this for Ben Reilly and Kaine. Ultimate Jessica Drew isn't a character I read prior to this so while it's nice to see her I'm invested in the guys because they actually feel connected to each other despite things I'll explain shortly. This is the only thing tied to Spiderverse I'm getting.


Basically Spiderverse is an event that brings Spider themed characters from different universes together to defeat life draining vampires that feed off of animal powered based beings. Something from what I've seen and heard has been flawed for many reasons. (*1) After discovering their enemies were cloning themselves to overwhelm them (and maybe become immortal?) they decided to put an end to the cloning to even the odds. Kaine, Ben and Jessica are all clones of Peter Parker from different universes. Kaine is from our 'verse, there's a world where Ben stayed Spider-Man and the Ultimate world. The trio sneak around and quickly discover their in over their heads as the entire world is in the control of their enemies.

I'm kind of stuck on the fence over this one as there were good points to this issue. I truly loved the attention to detail on how different they are in the narrative boxes and Bens' sunny personality. Having them in over the head was also fun as it makes them have to rely on each other. Then there's the bad parts. The overly poetic descriptions I can shrug off, the mess with their powers I can't. Jessica apparent doesn't have spider sense fast enough to keep her from being hit with traps in Ironmans' armor. Ben I can buy since he intentionally ignored it for years. I'm not sure what the writers think Kaines' power set is as Spiderverse makes him have spikes all over his arms that can extend and this gives him random lying detecting smelling abilities. (*2) One of these clones is going to die and they seem to be telecasting it's Ben pretty hard.

A big drawback is the lack of personality Kaine has in this. While that could be explained as shock at seeing Ben that connection is barely present. Kaine didn't trust the other spiders until Ben showed up which is important for several reasons. The two share a long history together as both enemies and brothers. We might not know this Bens' relationship with his Kaine but we knows he's not holding any grudges. Kaine on the other hand is struggling with having the Scarlet Spider legacy (Bens' legacy) as he feels he's not worth of it. There's so much that could be done but they never have any interaction in this issue. You'd think there would be since Ben is the only one Kaine seemed to bond with and they came up with the idea of this mission together.

Jessica seems cool although I will point out that she's not the only one that can come up with plans. Yes Ben is the happy one that's a little naive but he's Spider-Man. He came up with plans all the time and as he points out is an inventor too. Kaine is impulse but he's not an idiot. This issue doesn't have anything huge going for it except nostalgia. Come on guys, at least have this trio interact on a personal level. This doesn't feel like their meeting for the first time (with Jessica) or have any emotional weigh with seeing each other (Ben/Kaine.) If one of them is going to die I'd like to see that build up better. As is it's nice to see but lack serious depth. This series can be so much more.

*1 Including Lady Spider who doesn't have actual powers which means she's unimportant to the hunters. Despite one character knowing what's going on he never tells anyone else or ensures the important characters are safe, more on that later on.

*2 Kaine is actually one of the three important characters for Spiderverse as he has the "Other" powers. Which never included anything that's been listed in this issue, the only thing he actually has is the stealth suit. Why no one decided to keep Kaine safe (including the guy that knew he should be) makes no sense. Peter at least should have understood this as he had those powers at one point. But this never occurs to him and he never tells Kaine jack about these abilities despite knowing they passed to his clone.

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