Comics : Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #15

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This story is part of an Arc: "In the Midst of Wolves"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: Apr 2013.

Background...

Kaine has been killed (again) and now confronts the mysterious force behind the Other and both his and Peter’s past resurrection. Meanwhile, Aracely is still being hounded (get it?) by Los Lobos. Kaine realizes that the only way he can save her now is to accept his spider side and the monster within…and when he does, he revives as a hideous spider creature.

In Detail...

"In the Midst of Wolves, Part 3"
Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #15
May 2013 : SM Title
Summary: "Other" Scarlet Spider vs Los Lobos
Arc: Part 3 of "In the Midst of Wolves"
Editor:  Tom Brennan
Writer:  Chris Yost
Pencils:  Khoi Pham, Neil Edwards, Paulo Siqueira
Inker:  Terry Pallot, Tom Palmer
Cover Art:  Edgar Delgado, Ryan Stegman
Lettering:  Joe Caramagna
Colorist:  Andres Mossa, Antonio Fabela
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Articles: The Lobo Brothers

Aracely attempts to hide from Los Lobos in a dumpster, thinking the scent will throw them off. While hiding, she starts to recall more of her past- A man known only as Mr. Moctezuma “captured” Aracely, claiming it is what her parents want. He then has her and truck of other people left in the desert for a day, letting the heat kill them. This ties into the past few stories, as Roxxon was buying these people as test subjects and paid the Lobo Cartel for them. Moctezuma is not bothered by this and states that the Lobos can gain more from him and that for his plans to begin, Aracely has to die. This is exactly what happens, but a voice calls to Aracely promising her that she will make the world bleed. Back in the present, Aracely knows Kaine has died, but notices that a spider is looking at her…

This is quickly interrupted as Los Lobos arrive, ready to kill her after the “gang war” she caused last issue. Before they can begin though, the newly resurrected Kaine arrives, uttering a single word: “Prey”. Aracely realizes she cannot feel Kaine in the creature. What follows is a vicious assault from the thing that was once Kaine, starting with him ripping out Carlos’s eye. Aracely is scared by what he has become.

The Kaine-Creature stabs Carlos with some…arm-like appendages that grow from his back, then proceeds to rip off Carlos’s arm. Esmerelda grabs Carlos and runs, leaving Aracely alone with Kaine. He webs her up and is about to attack her when she attempts to use her “psychic” connection to reach him. This does nothing to stop him and before he can kill her, she begs him to come back for her. This reaches him and he leaps away and pulls off…his skin? A shell? Either way, he rips off the spider-creature exterior and reveals a shaggy, bearded Kaine. He tells her that what she was the real him, but she is comforted by his return.

Unfortunately, with his resurrection, Kaine has lost his scars and tattoos, requiring him to get his arm done again. He decides to keep what happened from the rest, but he’s more convinced than ever that he is a monster. When he looks in the mirror, he sees a form made of spiders. In New York, Julia Carpenter (still hospitalized from all those months ago) utter his name. “Between worlds” a figure that only looks like the Scarlet Spider mask says “Spider”. And at “The End of All Things” an unknown figure claims, “The Other has ascended. The culling will soon begin.” At the Four Seasons, Aracely sleeps, and dreams once again of the mysterious shaman claiming “Mictlan Rises.” She also dreams of, what I think is her mother, eating a heart and claiming, “The sixth creation comes.” Aracely “awakens”, eyes glowing, and states, “It requires blood. We will make the world bleed.” Spooky!

In Mexico, Esmerelda watches over Carlos, stating everything will be ok. At this point, Mr. Moctezuma arrives and seemingly kills Carlos. He tells Esmerelda that he needs “the hummingbird” dead (I assume he means Aracely, given she sees that in her dreams) for the sixth creation to begin. When Esmerelda says she will go back, Mr. Moctezuma refuses, claiming that Huitzilopochtli has awakened, but that he will be ready for them. The scene pans out to reveal a group of what appears to be mystically powered beings on Mr. Moctezuma’s side.

In General...

And here we are again- the end of another arc and more set-up for future issues, with little resolved of what has been established. Kaine has, yet again, accepted his darker side, only to feel remorse and question his own humanity. Granted, after this last issue he has more reason than normal, but still, this…”conversation” has grown rather tired in this series. I thought we had some closure to this whole debate back in issue 12, but it seems like it’ll be something we’ll deal with for some time.

I’m glad to see the Aracely plot get moved a long a bit more, but there’s still a lot left unanswered. But this is more progress than we’ve gotten in the past year, so that’s a start. I do think the Kaine situation here was wrapped up a bit too neatly and very much clichéd as well. The whole “innocent reaches out past the beast” thing isn’t exactly original. And then to have Kaine just…rip off his monster skin? I think this was the attempt to explain how Kaine returned from the grave earlier and with all his new powers, but I think that should have been handled in a separate story or arc. Having him die (to re-hash the guilt that’s been covered endlessly already) and then to just shrug off becoming a monster…it was more needlessly complicated than it needed to be. But I suppose it provided some answers, so in the end it accomplished that at least.

Overall Rating...

Not a very good issue. It seemed like it had an interesting concept that sort of fizzled out, something I feel is becoming too common in Yost’s multi-part stories. But as with all issues, this does leave me with another “I hope this gets explored more later” detail, that of Kaine’s spidery mirror reflection. It seems this book may follow a more mystic route than Amazing (or should I say “Superior”), but that’s not something Spider-Man fans typically enjoy. However, future issues looks to start resolving some threads established early in the series, so let’s hope we start seeing some growing from the many, many seeds that have been planted.