SCARLET SPIDER is quickly becoming one of Marvel's best books. This is a .1 issue, so it dives into a lot of familiar territory (who Kaine is and what he thinks of himself), but it does so while setting up an enticing story. The Hand and Kingpin? Yes, please!
Usually I'm not the biggest fan of artwork changing in a book but in this case I honestly didn't mind at all. Both groups did a tremendous job with the issue and I exclaimed "wow" at least twice during my first read through. The panel with Kaine perched on a rooftop in the rain is simply brilliant. Both teams handled his fights very well, too (and there's plenty of action to be found here). The "nose scene" was savage and the battle with the Hand was quite entertaining as well. Each creative team had excellent use of motion and it was on full display during these violent encounters (best headbutt ever?).
This issue dives into some dark territory (human trafficking) and it's only fitting to have such a dark hero handle the issue. He recognizes it's a problem often overlooked and knows he's the man for the job. This is conveyed through an exceptionally nice twist on the often used "great power" speech and it's accompanied by an image of Kaine that's more than suitable.
Bruiser's a tough street level character, but even Daredevil was able to draw blood with a kick to his face. Because of that, I don't see why Bruiser should go entirely unfazed by a superhuman strike from Kaine. Honestly, I think Kaine should wipe the floor with Bruiser thanks to his speed and strength, but it's clear the character has been upgraded just to be more formidable for Scarlet Spider. I guess I'll just have to accept that despite disagreeing with it. Who knows, maybe Christopher Yost will provide some explanation for his upgrade.
And is it just me or does Aracely look super pissed off while she sleeps? I loved the art in this book but that panel (and Kaine's face while watching her) was without question the weakest part of the issue.
While this issue does retread a lot of Kaine's self-loathing (they won't love me if they know what I've done!), that's easily overlooked by the simple fact that this is an amazingly entertaining issue. There's a plethora of energetic and brutal action and the groundwork is established for what will hopefully transform into a great story. I'm loving SCARLET SPIDER more and more with every issue. Do yourself a favor and pick up this issue if you're even remotely curious about the character.