Review: Scarlet Spider #3 – The Assassin’s Guild Returns

Scarlet Spider #3
Writer: Chris Yost
Art: Ryan Stegman [Pencils], Babinski & Von Grawbadger [Inks], Marte Gracia with Andres Mossa [Colors]

Chris Yost continues to explore Kaine Parker’s transformation in Houston from sometimes-villainous clone to costumed vigilante as part of his past comes back to haunt him.

After saving illegal immigrant Aracely from the Salamander, Kaine has taken it upon himself to keep her in hiding and protect her from deportation. As a result, he’s had to enlist the help of a Houston doctor and a bartender fluent in Spanish along the way.

In the meantime, he’s patrolled the streets at night, and Yost’s Scarlet Spider has proven to be what you’d get if you gave Spider-Man the badass attitude of Batman.

At one point this issue, he pops down from a building to grab a mugger in the act and swing across the city while holding the buy by the face. Eventually, he stops long enough to drop the thief from a building and catch him with webbing, causing the would-be mugger to wet himself in the process, before demanding that he leave the city lest Kaine should “break his bones in ways that will never heal” and “tear every piece of flesh from his body.” The art for this scene alone was fantastic, not just showing a large yellow spot on the mugger’s pants, but urine dripping down his shoes, as well.

As the story progresses, we find out that the doctor Kaine has been working with has been targeted by a member of the Assassin’s Guild (most likely by a man at the beginning of the issue who threatens his life after he fails to save the lives of his wife and daughter). During their battle, the assassin sees Kaine’s face (Kaine was once a member), which makes the doctor’s problem even more of a problem for Kaine.

This is yet another great issue to one of Marvel’s best new series. Yost has not only been doing a great job of fleshing out Kaine as a newly-reformed vigilante, but of fleshing out Houston as a character in these stories much in the same way New York is a character in Spider-Man stories. In this issue, for example, the vast difference in the number of skyscrapers is made light of when Kaine suddenly runs out of places to web-swing from. Even the art has a warmer feel, reflecting the book’s locale.

Digging into Kaine’s past for villains and building up a supporting cast is yet another way Yost is drawing parallels with Spider-Man without just making this book about a clone into a clone of an existing book.

If you haven’t given Scarlet Spider a look yet, there’s no better time than now–especially with second and third printings of the first two issues on the way.

STORY: 9/10
ART: 9/10 


Roger Riddell
Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.