Guest Review: Scarlet Spider #25–FINALE


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Hi folks. Zach Joiner here. You might remember me as the original reviewer of this title for the first six issues. Last week I was offered the chance to submit a secondary review to mark the end of an era. I, of course, jumped at the chance and I am thankful both to Kevin and Brad for letting me come on here and descant my thoughts of my dearly departed series, Scarlet Spider.

When this title was first talked about, it seemed tailor-made for me. Kaine, Clones, Scarlet Spider, Texas. It all had the ingredients for a GREAT series. The problem? It stumbled in its second year, something I’ll talk about after the jump.

Scarlet Spider #25
“Finale”
WRITER: Chris Yost
ARTIST: David Baldeon
COLORS: Chris Sotomayor
LETTERS: VC’s Chris Eliopoulos
COVER BY: Ryan Stegman and Delgado
EDITOR: Tom Brennan
SENIOR EDITOR: Steve Wacker

THOUGHTS SINCE LAST TIME YOU SAW ME:

3498867-w2+scarspider2012025_int_lr2The Last time I commented on Scarlet, it was still largely in its infantcy. The title had not got its sea-legs and I was optimistic. Since then, I’ve slowly watch this title decline in quality. You might have heard my comments about it at Spidey-Dude.com but needless to say, after a pretty good year one, year two was disappointing. Issues 13-15 were okay, 16 may have been the best of the year, 17-19 was meh, 20 was almost TOO 90s, and 21-23 were underwhelming. 24 tried too hard.

STORY: Kaine and Aracely are in Mexico. Kaine flashes back to the previous week and the events from last issue, where the crazy ex from hell blew up the Four Seasons hotel. Kaine goes out of his way to save everyone and Shathra comes in to attack everyone. Kaine then goes back to his ‘Other’ persona and kills her. Horrified, Annabelle runs away, and Layton tells him to lave town.

THOUGHTS: Well it took two years our time, but he finally got to Mexico. While Kevin pointed out the very obvious flaws in the production of this issue, I want to talk about something that’s been brought up to me elsewhere: It seemed that for the most part in the second year of Scarlet Spider, we saw the dramatic drop in quality. THere are several factors that go into this, but it seemed that it started with Erik Burnham taking over as Co-Writer. But it goes deeper than that. The problem began after the Wolves arc. While we had the best issue of the title in Issue 16, the title finally began to fall off the cliff. For over four issues, we had no supporting cast, save for Aracely, in the title. Taking him out of Houston was not the thing to do because there were too many things set up over the last two years, and the payoff didn’t pay-off. Once we finally got that confrontation between him and Kraven (Which started back in 2009 during Grim Hunt) But once again, did we need that Wolverine arc? Did we need that Superior Spider-Man crossover? Ultimately, if we had the ability to see the cancellation of the book coming, we’d known that many of these teases were not going to be properly paid off. I’d have killed to see that Shartha arc, killed to see Zoe back front and center, Wally finally finding him as a monster.

3498869-w4+scarspider2012025_int_lr2The problem is, they tried too hard to wrap this up like a bow. And the problem is, much like Kaine’s so-called-happy-ending, is that it was trying to do something it couldn’t: deliver on the promises made and done prior in previous arcs. While like anyone, I love World-building, but we never got to see it to fruition.

Back to the issue at hand: Its merely okay. On one hand, we have a decent script by Yost, but like what Kevin said in his review, the artwork is merely serviceable. If you’re like me and read this digitally, you found it hard to read if you were in the guided view. Once I took it off that view, it seemed to work better for me. (Minor quibble I know, but still) In terms of the use of a 20131223-213201.jpgframe device, Mexico seemed to be a good way to do it, considering that’s where he was headed this entire time. But there is one thing that bugged me to not end. How Wally, Annabelle, and Donald were shuffled off to the side, and frankly were nothing more than afterthoughts. They deserved a better send off frankly because they helped make this title my favorite title of 2012.20131223-213547.jpg

BOTTOM LINE: Instead of organically evolving the storyline to this conclusion, we got it stuffed in 22 pages. No double sized issue, no major candles-blowing moments, we get a checklist of agendas to be made: settle each subplot, and eliminate the supporting cast that has been the backbone of the series since the beginning because we have a new series to set up for. If anything, this needed more space to breathe. While Yost did a fine effort, the uphill climb that this issue faced was too daunting.

GRADE: C–

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(5) Comments

  1. QuilSniv

    @3 - Kaine and Aracely will be joining the New Warriors (Which, if Slott has his way, will become The Superior Warriors), and Venom'll be joining the Guardians of the Galaxy (Meaning that he'll either survive Darkest Hours or be resurrected with a false symbiotic). So, be releasing all of the solicitation basically tells us how Superior is working out, just because they're so bent on making Superior a giant portion of their lineup (Take Superior Squirrel Girl and Superior FF for example). But either way, Kaine really was a great character. In fact, this should've been the main lineup instead of Superior. And I'll miss both characters the same as I miss Peter (until he comes back in ASM 701)

  2. JGC

    @2 - I agree about what you say concerning Yost. When his stories are good, they're great. But when he's off the stories are so-so. I wonder just how much of 2013 was taken up by Thor 2 (which he wrote) and pulled him away from his comics work? I definitely feel his work suffered this year on both SS and AVSM/SSMTU.

  3. JGC

    I'm also sad that this title limped to the finish line. 2013 was not kind to Venom and Scarlet Spider - both these titles were must reads in 2012 and they're now both gone. What replaces them?

  4. Chasing Amazing

    My biggest problem with this issue is it brought Kaine back to the very same place where we started this series - full of self-doubt, disregard and disgust. I wasn't expecting a shiny happy ending, but if you're going to take me on a journey for 25 issues, at least end somewhere different than where we started. What pull is there for me to read New Warriors if the moral of the Kaine's story in Scarlet is that nothing was learned, and nothing changed. On a separate tangential note, not that the reviewer here is doing this, but I feel like a segment of the fanbase overrates Yost tremendously. He's had some good stories, but I feel with this and Team-Up, he's had a difficult time constructing full arcs with a comprehensive beginning, middle and end. I'm looking forward to Kevin Shinick getting the next few issues of Team-Up and I hope Marvel can find a new writer to tackle whatever the new "B" series will be once Superior wraps up next year.

  5. Kevin Cushing

    Good to see you back for the final issue, but sad that it was on a down note. I had hoped you would be able to enjoy this issue more than I did, because you deserved a good ending to this book, but alas, we ended up with the exact same grade. Still, glad you could come back to help send this thing off, brother.

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