Friday, January 13, 2012

Scarlet Spider #1

My name's Chuck, and I have a weakness for First Issues.

For a long time, I would buy the first issue of almost any title - partly to try it out, and partly (I suppose) because I didn't want to take the chance on missing another Action Comics #1 (the one from the '30s, that is).

It's an impulse that has largely been whupped out of me through years of companies renumbering their titles, releasing multiple first issues, or rebooting their entire line (look at me when I'm talking to you, DC).

But this week I gave in to the impulse again and picked up the first issue of Scarlet Spider.

I should have known better - I was around to buy (and suffer through) the original Spider-Man Clone Saga. That story failed because it got too complicated and played a little too fast and loose with the Spider-Man mythos. (For a much better version of the story, read Bendis and Bagley's version in Ultimate Spider-Man.)

So here we have a new story featuring Kaine, one of the Peter Parker clones. He's on the run for reasons that escape me - they devote four pages in the back of the comic to recounting his history, but it doesn't really make it any less confusing.

Apparently he's going to become the Scarlet Spider at some point - but it hasn't happened yet as this issue draws to a close. He spends most of the issue whining about his life, vowing that he doesn't care what happens to others, and scratching things with his incredibly abrasive hands (yeah, I don't get it, either).

I can understand conflicted heroes, but our pal Kaine here is just a jerk, running away from his responsibilities (to be fair he doesn't always run away) and refusing to be the hero we all know he'll eventually have to become (or this series will have a very short run).

Ryan Stegman provides the art, and its very good, but writer Chris Yost needs to make us care about the main character. Right now Kaine is a cypher, and not a particularly interesting one.

The trick to a successful issue #1 is getting the reader to come back for issue #2, and then #3, etc.

The Scarlet Spider did not succeed in that.

Grade: B-


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