Scarlet Spider #18 review


Scarlet Spider 18Now THIS is a spider-themed team-up book!

“Wrath Part 2”

Writer: Chris Yost

Pencils: Carlo Barberi with Ale Garza

Inks: Walden Wong

Colors: Rex Lokus

Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover Artists: Stegman & Delgado

Editor: Tom Brennan

Senior Editor: Stephen Wacker

 

Scarlet Spider 18 p1THE STORY: Wolverine, of course, recovers from being killed last issue and agrees to go along with Kaine to take out the Assassins Guild (after hearing of the reasons for the whole murder thing). Meanwhile, Aracely is examined by Beast and the X-Men who determines that she is not a mutant but Beast thinks she may not be the only one in her body. Wolverine and Kaine do a decent job of shredding the Assassins Guild, but it turns out they’re not the ones that need to be dealt with. They’re afraid of and working for a woman called The Red Death, and she arrives to take out our heroes!

 

MY THOUGHTS: This really is the Spider-Man related team-up book by Chris Yost I always wanted to see. We get a great team-up of Scarlet Spider and Wolverine fighting together while getting a fun little subplot of Aracely crossing over with the denizens of the Jean Grey School. Plus, as a bonus for a big fan of Yost’s X-Force series with Craig Kyle (which I very much am), we also have Wolverine changing into his old X-Force black-and-greys for some stealth.

Right off the bat, it’s nice that we get past the whole “everybody’s pissed at each other” stage so quickly. There’s a bit more fight surrounding Kaine “killing” Wolverine, but thanks to a little telepathic assistance that quickly gives way to Wolverine agreeing to help with the Guild. It’s also quite funny that Wolverine’s first guess is that Scarlet Spider is an evil clone of Spider-Man (“Pfft. I got a clone, too.”)

Scarlet Spider 18 p2As a lot of this issue is a big, violent fight with the Assassins Guild, it’s really nice to have an absolutely hilarious page in there of Aracely with the X-Men. She’s being examined by Beast but she’s just running off at the mouth about everything popping into her head as Rockslide marvels at her ability to just not stop talking. Also, Rockslide is a character I very much miss Yost writing in his New X-Men run with Craig Kyle. Kyle & Yost nostalgia abounding in this issue and I’m loving it! Since this page is sadly not part of the issue preview, let me just give you the best part:

Aracely: “Is he made of rock? How long does it take you to comb your hair? Is my brain glowing in that picture? Why are you green? What’s that? Do you have any mutants from Mexico? Do people hate and fear you for real?”
Rockslide: “Holy crap, you talk a lot.”
Aracely: “I fought werewolves!”
Rockslide: “…that’s kind of awesome.”

And then, fisticuffs! This, I think, would be a good time to talk about the art. Barberi’s work, as I said last issue, is very evocative of Paco Medina’s (a collaborator of Yost and Kyle’s on New X-Men – yay!) and that comes with the great kinetic energy making these pages move quite well while also doing the figures well. Since the credit says “WITH Ale Garza” not “AND Ale Garza” and Garza’s name isn’t even on the cover, I’m going to assume Barberi did most of the work here, but either way I think we have to give credit to inker Walden Wong for keeping the look consistent enough that I really can’t even tell where the penciler changed. That is always the ideal with multiple pencilers, but rarely the reality.

Scarlet Spider 18 p3The one visual detraction, and this isn’t knocking the artist since I’m sure it wasn’t his call, is the continued use of the Tron costume. I made my complaints last issue about how NOT stealthy a costume with neon-glowy strips is so I won’t repeat that (except in so much as I just did), but really at this point it’s more that it’s just ugly. I’m really missing Kaine’s Scarlet Spider costume. I never liked this one all the way back to its introduction in Amazing Spider-Man and now it’s just the silly thing keeping Kaine from his usual cool.

Yost does a very good job, as expected, with the team-up between Kaine and Wolverine, highlighting how effective they both are as fighters and killers while also showcasing that they may not be the best people to work together, given their personalities (maybe too similar in some ways). The fights are visually fun and impressive and really what more can you ask for from Wolverine and Kaine beating down assassins?

And in the end we’re introduced to an even bigger threat that is kind of unexpected. Belladonna being afraid of someone seems a bit out of place, so The Red Death really needs to pay off next issue to validate that, but if Yost continues to write this arc at the level he has been, I don’t anticipate being disappointed.

 

GRADE: A  So far this is looking like it may be Scarlet Spider’s best multi-part arc to date with two issues equally strong and enjoyable.

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(8) Comments

  1. Nick MB

    @7 I think the Spidey A-title/B-title relationship has changed rather since the days when Harry died in Spectacular - and although it'd be easy to point to the B-title eradication around BND as the root, I think it actually started around when JMS came on-board. Prior to that, throughout most of the clone era and post-clone era certainly, even on to the 2000 reboot, the books all seemed kinda equal participants in the same soap opera - ASM was the longest running but didn't necessarily read like it had "seniority". When JMS took over, ASM was definitely the main book and the other titles marched to its drum, which made them feel a tad redundant, which sent sales down, which probably led to the decision to cull them. Which... they might be regretting now, because they're finding it kinda hard to introduce other Spidey titles which feel like they "matter". Considering it's another title featuring the main character, Avenging Spidey sales have been pretty low.

  2. CrazyChris

    @5, In the past, B-titles were allowed to develop and affect the character. Harry Osborn died in Spectacular, for example. Peter got organic webshooters in Spec Vol. 2. A lot of changes to Norman and Venom's status quos occurred in Marvel Knights. The whole concept that nothing important can happen in the secondary titles is a very recent thing. So while I don't really think Marvel has told Yost not to "upstage" Slott in the sense that Yost can't write anything too good, I do suspect that he doesn't have the freedom he should have. Or maybe he just isn't very inspired by the Superior concept. SSM reads like it was written by someone who is really excited to be telling this story, whatever else you want to say about it. Avenging reads like it is written by someone trying to follow along the best he can but isn't putting much energy into it.

  3. Kevin Cushing - Post author

    Honestly I think with Yost writing both titles it highlights how similar the concept of Superior Spider-Man is to Scarlet Spider and at the same time proves how much better Scarlet Spider still is.

  4. Nick MB

    @4 I think the idea of him being "told by Marvel not to upstage Slott" brings in a conspiracy theory that isn't there - with Avenging, it's just the reality of writing the B-title for a character. Ultimately, the only things he can progress or develop are his own small plotlines, e.g. the Jackal stuff, whereas with Scarlet Spider he can actually change and affect the character, which makes it a lot more compelling.

  5. CrazyChris

    I agree that this is a good Yost team-up story. Why can't Avenging be this good? Is Marvel telling him not to do anything this interesting there so as not to upstage Slott's story?

  6. George Berryman

    "I wish sales were better, it’s such a good book!" Well they could kill Kaine off and have... Hell, I dunno... Mysterio maybe... assume his body and identity. Renumber it, call it 'The Superlative Spider,' something like that. Heh.

  7. BD

    I wish sales were better, it's such a good book! http://comicsbeat.com/marvel-month-to-month-sales-may-2013-x-men-break-the-quiet/ 94. SCARLET SPIDER 05/12 Scarlet Spider #5 - 30,932 ( -6.5%) 06/12 Scarlet Spider #6 - 30,722 ( -0.7%) 07/12 Scarlet Spider #7 - 29,140 ( -5.1%) 08/12 Scarlet Spider #8 - 27,690 ( -5.0%) 09/12 Scarlet Spider #9 - 27,140 ( -2.0%) 10/12 Scarlet Spider #10 - 31,786 (+17.1%) 11/12 Scarlet Spider #11 - 32,287 ( +1.6%) 12/12 Scarlet Spider #12 - 26,652 (-17.5%) 12/12 Scarlet Spider #.1 - 25,771 ( -3.3%) 01/13 Scarlet Spider #13 - 25,919 ( +0.6%) 02/13 Scarlet Spider #14 - 24,388 ( -5.9%) 03/13 Scarlet Spider #15 - 23,682 ( -2.9%) 04/13 Scarlet Spider #16 - 24,207 ( +2.2%) 05/13 Scarlet Spider #17 - 24,288 ( +0.3%) 6 mnth (-24.8%) 1 year (-21.5%)

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