Scarlet Spider is the title given to one of Peter Parker’s most famous and controversial allies, his own clone. The title is usually used in reference to Ben Reilly, the original Scarlet Spider and the most successful and stable attempt at cloning Peter Parker. Recently, the name was gifted to another of Peter Parker’s clones, the once degenerative and defective clone named Kaine.
After the events of Spider-Island, Kaine was healed from his degenerative cloning disease and became a stable clone of Peter Parker. He then began his own super-hero career as the Scarlet Spider of Houston before becoming a member of the New Warriors. His super-hero team career was cut short, however when the New Warriors were attacked by the inheritors, and nearly decimated in their attempts to find Kaine.
Kaine was quickly saved by Spider-Gwen and recruited into the Spider-Army amassing to fight the Inheritors in the massive SPIDER-VERSE EVENT. Kaine, alongside the Ben Reilly of an alternate Earth, and Jessica Drew (the female clone of Spider-Man in the ultimate universe) have ventured on their own mission in this war for survival in the hopes of taking down the Inheritors.
The fact that this team is completely consistent of clones is due to the nature of their mission. Team Scarlet Spider is going to destroy the multi-dimensional cloning facility that keeps the inheritors immortal long after their original bodies have been defeated. CLONES KILLING CLONES! How is their mission fairing so far? Lets find out in this week’s issue!
Our issue resumes where #1 left off: Team Scarlet Spider is attempting to break into the main cloning facility on a parallel earth ruled by the Inheritors. All sentient life on this Earth is presumed to be the product of mass cloning experiments. Kaine and Ben are stopped by the world’s security force led by Johnny Storm, who they quickly dispatch and proceed on their way through the facility. After escaping detection by security, the Spiders manage to kidnap Doctor Miles Warren, an employee of the Inheritor Jennix, the lead Inheritor of this reality.
After a little threatening, the pair manage to coerce Warren into leading them to the depository for all of the clone bodies of the Inheritors. Thousands of canisters are seen to hold the new bodies of the Inheritors in case they should perish during their hunts for spider totems, as Morlun did in his hunt for the 616 reality’s Spider-Man.
It is made clear what needs to be done, and the team sets about a plan to destroy this clone farm! It is here we receive another dose of the running theme of this off-shoot title. During the first issue we were treated to introspective dialogue boxes from the perspective of Ultimate Black Widow, in issue two, however we receive more introspection, but from the perspective of Kaine.
Honestly, this introspection comes off more so trivial and nonsensical, like the purple prose you would find in a Frank Miller story. They provide little if ANYTHING to the actions occurring on panel, and just try to show through WORDS how difficult the lives of these clones have been due to inner torment and anguish and the like. It honestly comes off as very pretentious, thankfully though, the pretentiousness is off-set by the honestly compelling action going on in the book.
After disabling power to the main Inheritor cloning facility, the Spiders lay traps to detonate the remaining tubes, to ensure the cloned bodies are never put to use. but before they can finish laying traps, Kaine comes across a rather disturbing discovery: he has found that not only is Jennix cloning spare bodies for his brethren, but he has also been attempting to clone SPIDER-MEN! Tubes upon tubes of failed experiments, and attempts at Spider-Clones line the “special projects” lab each attempt more gruesome and disturbing than the last.
It is here that Jennix decides to show himself and reveal his true plans. While his brothers and sisters may travel the multi-verse feeding on Spiders for eternity, one day these Spiders may run out, and so he devised a plan, to clone his OWN spider totems!
However, a problem arose. No matter how many times he may try, no Spider-Clone of his held the same essence, the same spark as any true spider totem, and thus gave no sustenance. After learning of the existence of the clones of Peter Parker he went about LURING team Scarlet Spider to this place, so he may study them and replicate them for his own needs.
This title is honestly truly fun and enjoyable, but that enjoyment comes at a steep two-fold price. While the action is well paced and the dialogue between the Spiders entertaining, the artwork does little to inspire me. The artist doesn’t seem to understand the function of spandex. The heroes’ costumes look to be made out of liquid latex as they hug every possible curve and contour of their bodies. The PERFECT bodies of the male heroes pick out their six pack abs and ultra-defined biceps, while Jessica’s outfit makes sure to show not only HER defined abs, but the curves of her bust and her nipples as well.
All of this combined with the “artsy” internal dialogue does little to give this book any staying power. If it wasn’t for the fact that this title was coming to an end at issue 3, I would honestly tell you to stop reading now.
-Witty Ben Reilly dialogue
-Intriguing cloning plot that IS highly connected with the main story of Spider-Verse
-Does not feel like a wasted event tie-in
-Liquid latex artwork that treats superheroes like they have the bodies of GODS or supermodels.
-Boring and dumb internal dialogue that adds nothing to the story
-Internal dialogue NEVER STOPS