This week marks the debut of the new SCARLET SPIDER series. Despite being new, it will have a familiar face, just not the one many originally expected. The Scarlet Spider we will be seeing is Ben Reilly's former nemesis, Kaine.
Kaine is a clone of the original Spider-Man, created by the Jackal. Because he wasn't a perfect clone, he was discarded by his creator and soon went on a dark path. Believing Ben to be the true Spider-Man, he soon began years of tormenting him.
Recently Kaine has started turning over a new leaf. He gave up his life for Peter during the Grim Hunt and despite being resurrected for evil, managed to help save the day during Spider-Island. Despite my absolute love for Ben Reilly, I even recently wrote an article about why Kaine deserves to be the new Scarlet Spider.
Comic Vine: There's been mention of a villain named Salamander and the Assassin's Guild, is the plan to stay away from typical Spider-Man villains to keep them separated?
Chris Yost: We wanted to really try and establish Kaine in Houston outside the Spider-universe at first, but it's inevitable that the two will collide. So we'll see a mix of new villains, as well as villains outside of Spider-Man's world... X-Men villains like the Assassins Guild and general Marvel entities like ROXXON. But down the line, you'll start to see more Spider-villains, some major and some a little more obscure.== TEASER ==
CV: Who decided to use Kaine and call him the Scarlet Spider? Was this editorial's decision or did you pitch the idea of redeeming Kaine?
YOST: Steve Wacker came to me with the project, because of my long history with clones and 'red' versions of other characters. But once he said 'Kaine, Scarlet Spider, and Houston'... I was in. I'm a huge fan of Spider-Man, but an equally huge fan of violent anti-heroes. It's the best of both worlds.
In all honesty, it's the character beats that sold me. Kaine was a failure. He was disfigured, and dying. He had a horrible life. He didn't have Aunt May, buckwheat pancakes, friends, love... nothing. Unlike Ben Reilly, he doesn't have Peter's memories. He had every reason to become a villain, and did.
But after the events of Spider-Island, everything changed. He was cured. Physically, mentally, everything. Like a cancer survivor, he's got a second chance at life. And given who he was, the real story is to see what he does with it.
And I'll just say that Scarlet Spider isn't a name Kaine takes himself. There's a lot of shame there for him.
CV: How involved will Spider-Man be? Is he going to keep tabs on Kaine?
YOST: Spider-Man will lose track of Kaine, but because of certain events that are going to happen in Houston, he'll figure out where Kaine went pretty quick. Scarlet Spider goes public fast.
YOST: If Venom comes down Texas way, maybe! And Spidercide...? hmmmm....
CV: Will Kaine be able to maintain a secret identity or will certain villains quickly discover who he is (like what happened to Bucky when he became Cap).
YOST: Kaine is not a traditional superhero, and doesn't think of himself as a superhero. He didn't intend to stay in Houston. So in issue one, we see him swinging around without a mask, without a costume... nothing. So you might say he's incredibly BAD at keeping his secret identity, but he'll come to see the value of it pretty quickly.
CV: Is Kaine's costume the same stealth suit he took with him after Spider-Island or is it a different suit?
YOST: It's a next gen version of the suit... all the stealth capabilities, mixed with the appearance altering qualities of the FF suit.
CV: Will there be any mention or acknowledgment to Ben Reilly?
YOST: Big time, but outside a brief flashback in issue one, not for a while.
And now for some questions for Mr. Stegman.
CV: What was your inspiration for the new costume?
Ryan Stegman: I wanted something simple and classic. I feel like a lot of times we design characters for what looks cool on the paper at that very moment. But then when the artist has to draw it repeatedly it all falls apart. And I also prefer simplicity because that never goes out of style.
This costume revolves around the red eyes on the black mask. I think that represents the character well. It's an aggressive look and it's a little bit scary. Which to me is what Kaine is all about. He doesn't want to look like everybody's favorite superhero. He wants to intimidate and scare his enemies. But at the same time, he IS a hero. So it covers all those bases.
CV: You've mentioned wanting to move away from the hoodie, is it gone for good?
STEGMAN: I wouldn't say it's gone for good. It makes its appearances in the book. But really, the hoodie is Ben Reilly's. Kaine is absolutely not Ben Reilly. I think the hoodie would look funny on a character that has the personality of Kaine. I know some people will disagree with me, but I just don't think it fits him.
CV: Whose idea was it for Kaine to get a makeover (buzz cut, etc)?
STEGMAN: I believe that would have been Chris and Steve's idea, though I agree with it. I like the bearded, long-haired look. But this is the lead character in the book, and readers need to relate to him facially. And all that other stuff covers up his face. Also, it makes sense for Kaine to have a new look, since he's essentially starting over. If you had Kaine's past and suddenly felt like you had a chance to really live, wouldn't you want to sever ties with your old self?
CV: Kaine used to be a bulkier character, is his slimmer look due to the cure in Spider-Island?
STEGMAN: That's never been said, but I don't think that's a bad hypothesis. I prefer him to look slimmer for artistic purposes. When he was a bad guy, it made sense to be bulky and mean looking. But most of the shots of him are him standing on a rooftop, standing straight up and down. That wouldn't look too cool on a heroic character web-slinging through a city. And web-slinging wouldn't be very easy with a barrel chest and gigantic arms. He needs to be limber.
CV: With the new supporting characters and villains, have you been given free reign over the designs or is Chris giving you notes and suggestions?
STEGMAN: Chris definitely gives me notes and suggestions. But it's still pretty much free reign. I give Chris ideas for the story, and Chris gives me ideas for the art. It's how it should be. But designing characters is far too fun. I can't get enough of it. It's definitely one of the biggest perks about working on this book.
CV: Do you often find yourself trying to crouch down into Spider-Man-ish poses to capture the essence of the character?
STEGMAN: Ha, yes! Of course. I find myself striking poses of all the characters that I work on. It just makes sense when drawing them. But yeah, with Spider-characters you have to get into some pretty silly poses. And the key is, to get yourself into those crazy poses and feel what is happening in your body, what is twisting and pulling, and then push it 100% further, beyond what is possible in your own body. Those are the coolest poses to me.
SCARLET SPIDER #1 is on sale Wednesday, January 11.