Scarlet Spider #1
Written by Christopher Yost
Pencils by Ryan Stegman
Inks by Michael Babinski
Colors by Marte Gracia
Letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Covers by Ryan Stegman, Mark Bagley, and PAC MAN
Release Date: January 11, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
You remember those big splash balloons in Marvel Comics that used to shout “BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT!”? Well, I was the one who demanded a brand new Scarlet Spider #1, and you’re all going to thank me for it when you finish reading it.
Hot off the heels of last summers Spider-Event, Spider-Island, a brand new Scarlet Spider is introduced into the Marvel universe. OK, he’s not a new character, but he’s new to being the Scarlet Spider.
In this first issue writer Christopher Yost manages to condense about 17 years’ worth of comic books into two pages, making the recap of his origin both more exciting that you remember it and very accessible to new readers. What I was very impressed with was Yost’s decision not to make the Scarlet Spider just another Spider-Man clone (sorry) and have him based in New York City fighting Spidey’s roster of reject villains. This hero gets a brand new start in a brand new city and, what looks to be, a rogue’s gallery all his own. Another aspect of the book that I absolutely love is Kaine’s attitude. He doesn’t feel the need to be the hero and save the world. He’s a guy with super powers who’d rather be on a beach somewhere relaxing. It’s just like the tagline says “All the power, none of the responsibility.” You don’t get the played out anti-hero vibe from this character, either. It’s a really nice refreshing change of pace from a lot of the other mainstream super hero titles on the stands right now.
Then artist Ryan Stegman has to come along and ruin the book. I’m kidding. His art is FANTASTIC! I’ve never seen anyone convey such mood in his art as Stegman does. And what’s better is that the mood of the character seems to be reflected in the scenery and backgrounds. Something else particularly interesting is the look of Kaine himself. He looks just enough like Peter Parker without it being distracting at all. There are some great pages when Kaine first cuts loose with his web-slinging powers that are unlike any I’ve ever seen in any issue of a Spider-Man title. The design of this issue’s villain is outstanding. He looks like someone who could actually destroy the hero of this book, and not some misguided idiot in an animal costume. Now, all this praise might sound like a ploy to get Ryan to sell me a Scarlet Spider page really cheap, and it pretty much is. C’mon, Ryan! Cut me a deal! Again, I kid (not really, Ryan. Call me!). The book is great looking from the first page to the last. Stegman is the perfect choice for this book.
If the rest of 2012’s comics are half as good as this one, we’re in for the best year of comics in a long time. In the past, the character of the Scarlet Spider has often been a punch line for many comic fans, but after reading this, nobody’s gonna be laughing anymore. Only the team of Yost and Stegman could take a 17-year-old forgotten character and turn him into one of the freshest, most contemporary comic stars to hit the comic market in a long, long time. I’m looking forward to a long, entertaining run on this title by this creative team — and so should you.