Scarlet Spider #3 Review


One of the things that I like about Spider-Man and comics in general is that things can get you talking. It’s always good to have a dialogue about things inside a comic, especially if you disagree with the premise. This issue has one of those instances, and I will spend perhaps more time explaining my position on the issue, while it didn’t kill the issue for me, in fact I enjoyed the hell out of this issue, and it did bug me a bit. To each his own. DISCLAIMER: The above portion and following review is the thoughts of the reviewer, and may or may not reflect the opinions and views of the Spider-Man Crawl Space, its staff of fellow reviewers, or webmaster/owner/editor-in-chief, Brad Douglas.

Scarlet Spider #3

Written By: Chris Yost

Art By: Ryan Stegman

Colors/Inks: Babinski, Von Crawbadger (I), Marte Garcia & Andres Mossa (C)

Review By: Zach “Spideydude” Joiner

STORY: The issue begins at the hospital, with an unfortunate event resulting in the death of the wife and daughter of a man of prominence, resulting in a death threat. We cut to Kaine stopping a mugging in the Kaine way. Cut to the four seasons, where we meet the Barkeep and get her name this time, before Aracely attacks Kaine and Annabelle (the barkeep), only to be stopped by our friendly neighborhood doctor. He treats her and goes back to the hospital, where he gets attacked by an assassin. Kaine thwarts the gunman and is made. The Assassins Guild is revealed, and our issue ends.

THOUGHTS: Before I get to the quibble, I’m going hit up what I liked, nay loved about this issue. Ryan Stegman is just freaking awesome. AWESOME. Hit him up on Twitter and tell him so. He deserves it. Every panel is great, the lines are clean, and the inks and colors are perfect. It’s an A+ for me. As for the story, there is one word to describe this issue: “World-Building”. Little by little, Yost planted the members of the supporting cast over the last two issues and they get more screen time in this issue. We have a potential love interest, Annabelle, who kinda doesn’t know what to think of Kaine. It’s an interesting dynamic, and I will look forward to seeing the world building to continue. The best thing about Yost, is that the Assassin’s guild is a little known fact of Kaine’s past (It was referenced throughout the Clone Saga, but we never saw it outside his first appearance) and I’m excited to see where this goes.

Seriously, this books takes place in Houston, and I laughed out loud with the ‘where did the buildings go?’ bit. But there is one thing that bothers me about this issue. The cop and doctor is a gay couple. Personally, this wouldn’t bother me, but through the dialogue we see him get defensive about it.

DOCTOR: You know, for a super-hero, you’re pretty scary.
KAINE: I’m not a super hero.
DOCTOR: You’re wearing a super-hero costume.
KAINE: It’s not mine.
DOCTOR: Why are you doing this then?
KAINE: Why are you? This girl is nothing to you.
DOCTOR: I’ve had a lot of losses lately. It’d be nice to have a win.
KAINE: You and Officer Layton… are you friends?
DOC: Most days. He’s my Husband.
KAINE: Wait, what?
DOC: Is that a problem?

I don’t normally care about what writers do, unless it’s so egregious that I can’t stand idly by and take it. This wouldn’t bother me if not a few things:

A) It’s illegal to be gay and married in the state of Texas. While legal in New York, it’s not legal in Texas. If this is supposed to the world outside your window, then at least reflect it in the comic, no matter the personal bent of the person writing the comic.

B) The fact that he has to be defensive about it in a very liberal part of Texas bothers me. While it’s probably unfair to characterize, Houston is known as a liberal, left leaning town. (As are most of the major metropolitan areas of the state.) My biggest problem is that certain people want to make me feel sorry for the character because he’s a victim of hate. Truth is, there are people like myself that don’t care what you do behind closed doors and I won’t treat you differently unless you go out of your way to make me uncomfortable as a straight guy (Read: Hitting on me) It’s a minor thing, but it took me out of the comic. I won’t be crass and say that he doesn’t need to handle real-world issues, but between this and the Children’s Crusade coming out this week, I feel like there may be a need to establish another gay couple mandate. I don’t know. Again it took me out of the comic.

If I offended someone, I’m sorry. It’s just my thoughts.

As for the questions of Kaine taking the suit from Spider-Island, It’s all but confirmed with the dialogue above. That same scene we saw Kaine use the cloaking ability that was present in the “Tron-Suit” and I’m happy that we’re getting the questions answered. According the letters page, we have more coming.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Despite the above bit, I can’t say there was a bad element of the issue. Standard fare of Modern Comic Storytelling that I enjoyed, while this is part one of a multi-part story; I’m excited to see where it goes.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE WEBHEADS 

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(34) Comments

  1. CrazyChris

    I don't think Zach did anything out of line here, but perhaps a lesson to learn here is that the amount of emphasis a topic gets in a review will be perceived as a cue to readers about the reviewer's mindset, and it is a good idea to be mindful of that when deciding how much space in a review to allocate to each topic.

  2. Jon M. Wilson

    Is this much fuss made when couples are depicted as having red hair or green eyes? No, and it's unfortunate that people's sex lives still garner this much debate and cagey "it's okay but its not okay here" kind of talk. It's discriminatory, and it makes me sad. That is all.

  3. sthenurus

    Why do I have the feeling that if the sexuality of this character would't have been noted in the review, it would have been seen as an homophobic biais from the reviewer?

  4. SpectacularSpiderGuy

    I can see where SpideyJohn is coming from. Spending 3/4 of the review on a one-panel revelation seems like less "review" and more "GAY PANIC!" to me. He even throws in a conservative bent by mentioning how liberal and left-leaning Houston supposedly is (which, incidentally, is another common criticism of the site and podcast). I don't think I would have been as extreme about it, but it's a valid point of discussion.

  5. BD

    #21- As a straight man I find your allegations against my website offensive. Care you cite specific examples where you saw or heard someone being racist or homophobic? Please use quotes and not assumptions.

  6. Enigma_2099

    @#23 Read the wrong way, it does seem like Zach is complaining about the gay couple, even though he already stated that that's not the case, and he ALREADY APOLOGIZED IF ANYONE TOOK IT THE WRONG WAY, AS WELL AS MAKING IT CLEAR THAT HIS OPINIONS DO NOT REFLECT THE SITE AS A WHOLE. But that doesn't matter. Someone on the Crawlspace said something that can be taken as offensive. I can bash the whole site with this if I twist it just right.

  7. sthenurus

    @21: Can you develop your allegations? I don't see anything homophobic in the review or the comment. Care to give us some citations?

  8. Enigma_2099

    @#21 Nice try, troll. Sure Zach could have worded it better, but I can already tell you skipped over the " DISCLAIMER: The above portion and following review is the thoughts of the reviewer, and may or may not reflect the opinions and views of the Spider-Man Crawl Space, its staff of fellow reviewers, or webmaster/owner/editor-in-chief, Brad Douglas." part. You even whip out the racist card again. Where's my aspirin?

  9. SpideyJohn

    As a gay man I find this review offensive. This type of blatant homophobia is the reason the crawlspace has the negative reputation that it does. I've also noticed racism and homophobia on the podcast.

  10. FSUSpiderfan

    Don, I can't believe you are saying gay people are Skrulls! Seriously though, Chris makes some good points that I was thinking about saying before he posted them.

  11. Donovan Grant

    @16: I don't think having two gay couples in two Spider-related comics is such a massive coincedence. It's a coincedence to be sure, but it's not as though the people are aliens or anything.

  12. crazychris

    Canada has gay marriage legalized nation-wide so the cultural context is quite different. If someone says they are married in a country where marriage is available to them, then of course one would understand that to mean that they had gone through the process of becoming legally married. But in America it is more complicated then that. There are couples who have had a marriage ceremony, raise children together, and live in a house together, and are married in every way imaginable except in the eyes of the government. So at that point it comes down to whether or not they think the government should define how the couple regards the nature of their own relationship. If they think the government's role in defining relationships is leass important then every other factor, then they'll be more inclined to refer to themselves as married.

  13. sthenurus

    Great review. The whole gay couple also made me go wtf. Peter, got max, Kaine got the doc. I mean it's really one hell of a coincidence isn't it? @CrazyChris: Here in Quebec, gay couple that aren't married, even if they share morgage and bank account don't call themselves hhusband or wife, they call their meningfull other boyfriend or girlfriend. Heck, even straigh couple that aren't married don't! Maybe it could be the same way in some other States too ?

  14. Enigma_2099

    @#12 I thought he was just over at Bleeding Cool harassing me, but I don't think that was him.

  15. CrazyChris

    A lot of gay couples refer to themselves as husband and husband or wife and wife, even in states that do not legally recognize gay marriage. The reason they do this is because if they are committed to spending the rest of their lives together, have a mortgage together, have joint bank accounts, and are essentially a family in every practical way, then other terms like "boyfriend" or "domestic partner" do not accurately capture the nature of their relationship. I've known gay couples in Colorado and California, both states that have outlawed gay marriage, refer to themselves in this way, so it is not out of the ordinary that a character in Texas would, too. As for your point that Houston is liberal, therefore a gay person would not act defensive about it, I think it assumes too much to say that acceptance of gay marriage always goes hand in hand with being liberal in other ways. The same voters who elected Obama in California in 2008 also voted to outlaw gay marriage. Yes, there is probably a correlation between people who are generally liberal and people accepting of gay marriage, but it clearly is not true in every situation. Furthermore, Don is right that the guy only became defensive after Kaine said "wait, what?" So to be perfectly honest I don't see anything wrong with this scene based on the information included in the review. Maybe I would have reacted differently with the full context of the issue. This might have been a situation where a scan would have helped clarify the tone of the scene.

  16. Eddie

    Good review. Scarlet Spider has actually become my favorite comic. I am really enjoying it. However, I have to say - I rolled my eyes at the husband thing. To your point, I smell a mandate. Are we going to have gay couples in every Marvel book now? We are talking about 5% of the population. Yes, the media would have us believe that number is closer to 50%, but it's just not true. In Hollywood/entertainment companies it is much higher than 5% (I say this looking out my window at the Hollywood sign), but not in the rest of america. I feel like I'm being spoon fed Bendis' liberal elixir.

  17. Enigma_2099

    ... and we all know what happens when anyone says anything that can be considered even slightly negative.

  18. Zach Joiner - Post author

    Yeah, of course we will Don. I'm excited to talk shop about the book on the show. I'm not OMG THISISTHEWORSTEVER.... It just took me out of the book. Hence why I mentioned it.

  19. Hobo-Goblin

    I really dug the "camo" effect for Kaine's suit. Stegman's art is awesome. It's too bad there's gonna be a fill-in artist by issue six, according to what I've heard.

  20. Enigma_2099

    Yeah, I actually like the subtlety of Max Modell too. I applaud Slott's handling of that character reveral.

  21. Donovan Grant

    We'll certainly hit it up on CSC, but IMO the guy was being defensive because Kaine responded the way he did. If Kaine said "Oh..." or something aside from "Wait, what?", the doctor wouldn't have get the impression that Kaine may not have been accepting to his lifestyle. It's only two panels out of the comic.

  22. Zach Joiner

    I perhaps i didn't make this a clear my review. But I have no problem with gay characters, as long as they are done in a tasteful manner. Brian hit the nail on the head of my point better than i actually ever could. The Modell reveal was much more subtle and much more tasteful than this. Again it's not a huge demerrit to this issue, but it was enough to take me out of the issue when I was reading.

  23. Brian Bradley

    Agreed on Stegman. Love the art in this comic. And the reveal of the sexual orientation was definitely not handled as well as the Max reveal. This one seemed much more forced instead of casually brought up, maybe because they decided to make him defensive about it off the bat like you said. Nice review though. I've been to Houston once so I was trying to remember what the skyline was like but that 'run out of buildings' line made me chuckle.

  24. Enigma_2099

    Zach, sometimes you just gotta shrug your shoulders and just say, "whatever..." This might be one of those times.

  25. Two-Bit Specialist

    You know you're in for a treat when you start your reviews with: "This opinion is my own and no one else's." Haven't gotten past that disclaimer yet, by the way. Maybe tomorrow.

  26. spideytothemax

    I'm really beginning to enjoy Scarlet Spider. It helps that I just read through the Clone Saga and all of the associated minis for the first time a few months ago. So it's established that the suit is indeed the stealth/Tron suit that Kaine took at the end of Spider-Island. So why does it look like that? Am I just forgetting that the stealth suit could shift it's appearance like a symbiote or Spidey's unstable molecule FF suit? I mean, it's pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, but I'd still like to know at some point.

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