At San Diego Comic Con 2011, Marvel made the announcement that there would be a one-shot issue called Point One. It was a play on the .1 craze that Marvel has instituted in the last year. Its object was to get the readership a taste of the upcoming attractions. Much like a Movie trailer, the issue features snippets of different and various projects, from X-Men, to Avengers, to Defenders. It’s all encompassing. It’s also a whopping six bucks.
As a Spider-Fan, I feel to mention that the New Scarlet Spider makes his first official appearance in this book. It’s also the preview for his ongoing title that is coming out in three short weeks. (January 4th to be exact.)
This review is designed to not only enlighten you towards the character who will don the mantle, but also to educate others on this character’s rich history. More after the jump. SPOILERS AHOY READ AT OWN RISK. And be sure to leave a comment. It’s Painless.
Marvel Point One: The Future Begins Here! #1
Scarlet Spider Preview
Written by: Christopher Yost
Art By: Ryan Stegman
Review By: Zach “Spideydude” Joiner
BACKSTORY: The character of Kaine debuted in Web of Spider-Man 119. His first chronological appearance would be in Spider-Man: The Lost Years #1. He was the first Peter Parker Clone; although previously thought to be the very first clone, it was revealed in the Deadly Foes of Spider-Man One shot this last year that this was not the case, to be born from Miles Warren. Miles was the brother of Peter’s Principal and teacher to both him and Gwen Stacy. After Gwen’s death at the hands of Norman Osborn, Miles began his quest on replicating DNA. His cloning process was eventually a success. But his failed first attempt was the being known as Kaine. Kaine had the condition that affects all clones known as Clone Degeneration. This is an accelerated process which the cloned body will begin to break down and decay; it also ages the person somewhat until death. Kaine’s main mission was to torment Ben Reilly. At the time, Kaine believed Ben to be the real Peter Parker, while the man Kaine believed to be his fellow clone was living the life he could never have. After two years, Ben finally began to achieve happiness with a girl named Janine Godbe. Eventually Kaine made her fake her own death to drive Ben over the edge. (Ben would recover thanks to a man named Seward.)
While Ben found Janine, Kaine found Louise Kennedy. She was a detective for the Salt Lake Police department. Sadly, she also was a crooked cop. Because of Kaine possessing Spider-Powers due to him being a clone, he had the basis of those powers such as: speed, agility and reflexes, danger-Sense, the ability to stick to walls and strength. But because of the Clone Degeneration his powers were twisted and augmented. This also made Kaine unique from his counterparts. His speed, reflexes and strength were more than Peter and Ben’s; with his danger sense changing into a precognition sense where he could see the future and his more frightening ability, the Mark of Kaine. The Mark was left for the first time on Kennedy. Instead of Kaine grasping to walls, he now would rip the skin and burn his mark into the person face. It became his calling card as he became a mercenary for hire.
Kaine’s journey was always intertwined with Ben Reilly and Peter Parker. He loved Peter deeply and would do whatever it takes to prevent him harm. He killed two of his adversaries, the Grim Hunter (son of long time but deceased foe Kraven the Hunter) and Doctor Otto Octavos (who had just learned his foes identity in order to save his life so they may tango again). Kaine was driven by one vision that would not go away: Mary Jane (Peter’s then wife, err live in girlfriend whom he was about to have a baby with) being killed by an unknown assailant. It wasn’t until shortly before Kaine’s first death that he saw the man who he was hunting; for which in a bitter irony was the man he was trying to help: Peter Parker. (He didn’t succeed.)
Shortly after his death, the Jackal placed him in a tank that was designed to heal people from near death. Jackal would later die so his plans for him would never materialize. He was released into the wild so to speak in Scarlet Spider Unlimited #1 by a group claiming to be from the High Evolutionary (A long convoluted story in itself). From there he would go into his mercenary roots, playing the ‘Great Game’. This contest was wealthy businessmen hiring men and women to kill one another for sport. Kaine broke free of his programming after an encounter with Ben Reilly now as Spider-Man. Once Janine came back into Ben’s life however, his final plan was in motion. (This would be like his second of three final plans. Seriously. ) His mission was for Ben, Janine and Kaine to all die together to end the suffering. After Ben saved Kaine, he finally began to see Ben as an equal. (This process had started earlier, but consumed in his own self hatred, he lost sight of the progress he had made shortly before his first death.)
After this, he turned himself in to atone for his sins and pay for his crimes. Shortly thereafter, Ben Reilly died at the hands of Norman Osborn. But Kaine wouldn’t be down long. He escaped in a prison uprising and would then go after Norman Osborn’s Scriers. (This was originally intended to have him get Baby May and deliver her to Peter and MJ, but was struck down by the Powers-That-Be at Marvel. Bob Harras, I’m looking at you. For more on that see Spider Girl.) Afterwards, he was defeated and not seen again.
Until a man from Ben Reilly’s Past named the Raptor had came into Peter’s life claiming to want revenge on Reilly for destroying his life. In reality he came after Peter Parker and his Aunt’s side of the Family in Boston. Kaine intervened, and took Raptor out by breaking his neck. Kaine would return again after getting beat by Skittles the Penny Hooker err, I mean Ana Kraven. Kaine was the messenger to warn Peter of the impending return of Kraven. The ritual was to have Peter Parker be killed to replace Kraven in death. Kaine switched out with Peter, causing the event to be flawed. This led to Kraven being unable to live or die. Shortly thereafter, Kaine was resurrected into a Spider-Man, similar to how Peter was killed and turned into a Spider himself by the Queen. (The Jackal said it was his Clone Degeneration. I believe that it was the Queen masterminding his resurrection.) The Jackal and the Queen began working together to turn everyone in New York, and eventually the world into spiders. Kaine was supposed to stop Peter from getting into his lab but was cured when he fell into the synthetic cure the place that Peter works at, Horizon Labs was working on. This cure also cured Kaine of his Degeneration, making him a perfect, but older clone of Peter. His Journey would take him away from New York. This is where the story in Point one picks up.
STORY: It’s four days later. Kaine is in Charlotte, North Carolina. His bus is going to Houston because he is a wanted man who killed dozens of people. (and help save the world from becoming Spiders) Kaine is struggling between his old life and new one. He reflects on resent events, and is drug into a hostage situation because of his overwhelming sense of responsibility. His first task as the new Scarlet Spider is to take out men who are wearing a bunch of mask designed to be different Marvel characters. Kaine brutally succeeds. Whereas Kaine would’ve broke some necks, left a Mark of Kaine on everyone, and be done with it, he prefers to leave them all wrapped up in a little ball for the cops, not unlike his Clone, He begins his walk with a new lease on life.
THOUGHTS: This is a huge. HUGE… leap forward. Kaine was a woefully under-appreciated and under used character. Yost has a great feel for him and his history. There are massive parallels to Kaine and Ben in this story. If you go back to ‘The Parker Years’ Back-up story chronicling Ben’s journey from failed Clone to his beginnings of wondering around the USA and the world, you see a man unsure of himself, alone and looking to start a new life. The same story is told here, but different. Ben story involved a man who was on the edge, ready to kill himself because of Ben’s bold statement that he should disappear. Ben saves him because of his Parker Responsibility. Kaine, on the other hand, who actually died twice, is ready to move on, and for the same reason as Ben, goes in and saves the bank. He is brutal, but that is who Kaine is. Brutal. At the end of this story, Kaine has a new lease on life. He’s ready to begin his journey in Scarlet Spider. (Ben’s Journey would pick up in Lost Years) It seems to me this story was somewhat influenced by that story and Yost does a great job capturing that spirit and using it to his advantage. This story was awesome. Not really worth the 6 bucks, but still awesome.
Stegman’s art is a gift. He does such as great job with the characters and the touches. The hoodie is directly carried over from ASM 673, as well as homage to the original Scarlet Spider. I loved the robbers’ masks, while it’s been done before, it was a nice touch. The visuals are striking as you look at this issue. You have to give the guy a lot of credit because he makes this story work.
My biggest gripe with this issue is the 6 dollar price tag.That’s too much for one comic. Even an oversized one. Some of you might complain about the length of the story, but this really is the teaser trailer to the big number one on the 4th. PRE ORDER THE BOOK NOW.
CONCLUSION: If you know me, I was hard on the characterization of Kaine in ASM. This 8 page story reaffirmed my stance that Kaine is back. Yost knows what he is doing. Stegman is awesomesauce. If there was a guy who knows Kaine, it seems to be Yost. My expectations are high on this. It doesn’t seem to disappoint at all. As a trailer so to speak, it works really really well.
4.5 out of 5 Webheads. Great Art, Solid Story.
NOTE: Spider-Man also makes an appearance in the 7 page Ultron Preview for the Avengers. He doesn’t do much, but it is worth noting.