Marvel has returned the Scarlet Spider to comic book fans. Ben Riley, the original Scarlet Spider and the clone you hated to love, died way back in Spider-Man #75. Long time web heads will recognize crazier clone Kaine coming in to do the Scarlet slinging. This may sound like too much history to jump into for new fans, but this issue comes with a synopsis at the end to keep new fans in the know. This synopsis is succinct and features the art work from the 90’s issues it references. Very cool for long time fans.
The cover, by Ryan Stegman, Michael Babinski, and Marte Garcia, shows the new Scarlet Spider costume. Gone is the torn blue hooded sweat shirt in favor of a more Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales)look. A variant cover shows the blue sweat shirt burning. A symbol of the changing of the guard.
The opening pages are very cinematic with the credits spread through the panels like the opening of a movie. Opening with a big deal going down in Houston and building to bullets flying at Kaine. The Scarlet Spider Life After Death in white on black lets you know the show has started.
From there, Kaine takes down the bad guys, swiftly saves a girl, and takes their money. A fugitive, looking to leave all the mess behind and start fresh in sunny Mexico, he leaves. Again like the beginning of a hundred action flicks. The cover’s promise of “All of the Power and None of the Responsibility” seems to be coming true, but then this becomes a Spider-Man comic again.

Thus far Kaine is choosing to leave it all behind, until a cliche out of control car and old lady crossing the street forces Kaine to choose. Kaine accidentally kills the driver by stopping the car and sending him through the windshield. One can almost hear “With Great Power there Must also Come Great Responsibility.” Meanwhile, a villain with a gecko tattoo over his eye appears to burn people and Kaine is shown leaving town.

All this leads to one thing. Kaine is going to be a good guy and it will not be easy. Written by Christopher Yost, the book has a flashback back scene to add some context to Kaine.

At then a synopsis of the Clone Saga. While this is easier than living through the agonizing Clone Saga, it does make for 5 or so pages of looking in the mirror and cutting your hair to bring forth the new you.

Kaine is healed, now has organic webbing, but has no Spider-Sense. Much like Venom #1 and Ultimate Spider-Man #1, this book sets the stage for the Spidey style hardships to come. Also, for things we all know will happen. Kaine will be a reluctant hero despite the transparent implications of the last panel. Kaine will run into Spider-Man or Venom. Kaine will have to deal with his past sins and the fact that he is clone of Peter. We know all this and yet the story has potential enough to make it interesting. Especially for us survivors of the Clone Saga.

With Venom and Carnage on the loose, is there room for Spider-Man to show up here too? Spidey is on a few teams and still has his own titles to appear in. Is Marvel setting up for a mega large Spider show down? Or trying to cash in on the spider-interest generated from the sure to be popular movie? Whatever the aim, they did the right thing leaving Ben dead and giving Kaine some room to be himself. Pick up this book not just because it’s a #1, but also because of the history it still respects.