SCARLET SPIDER, I think I'm in love with you. This issue's essentially an overload of fun. From the way the Assassin's reach out to Kaine to the jaw-droppingly awesome conclusion, this issue never fails to entertain.
The first thing you'll probably notice is a new direction for the art -- and it's a damn good direction! With Carlo Barberi on pencils and Rex Lokus on colors, this is the best looking issue of Kaine's solo in quite some time. It's vibrant, detailed and animated, drawing strong parallels to the book's earlier and stunning visuals provided by Ryan Stegman. Everything from stabs and the reactions they produce to Kaine's costume is a real eye-pleaser.
Covers are notorious for being misleading, but this one delivers on the promise of Wolverine vs. Scarlet Spider. The fight is a bit short and sure to upset some Wolverine fans, but I thought it was really cool and a total blast. It definitely gave credit to Wolverine's durability and his speed. Even though Kaine is clearly stronger and faster, putting Logan down is no easy chore and he's almost taken out of the game after Wolverine throws his very first strike.
Prior to this good time, Scarlet Spider also goes head-to-head with two original members of the X-Men and it's a real joy to read. The attacks are every bit as amusing as the banter and it's clear writer Christopher Yost has a good grasp on these characters, even if one of them is sold a little short. Just like many other chapters in this series, Yost manages to keep the entire issue hugely entertaining. When there isn't a brawl, odds are you're smirking at the dialogue, Kaine's aggressive mentality or Aracely's passion over the mission ("My super hero name is Hummingbird."). It's an impressive issue from start to finish and no scene feels like a waste of space.
If Kaine has a file on Wolverine, how does he seem relatively surprised when his punches aren't enough to keep Logan down for the count? That must be one sloppy file if it doesn't detail his high tolerance to blunt damage and accelerated healing factor. Wolverine's been in more than enough public brawls for the world to know the basics of his abilities and shady organizations to know even more. Regardless, it's a really minor critique.
This is what SCARLET SPIDER is all about, friends. It's packed with brutal action, solid writing, terrific visuals and always manages to take a dark turn. I was really curious to see how Kaine's relationship would be handled, but in the meantime, I'm more than happy to have Yost put that on the back burner because this latest mission is pure bliss.