SCARLET SPIDER has been all about Kaine's effort to become a proper hero. Sometimes he'd earn a win and it would be great to see his inspiration and motivation grow. Other times things wouldn't go down in an exactly ideal manner and it would once again make Kaine question whether or not he has what it takes to be like Peter Parker or Ben Reilly. So when an encounter with the Kravinoff family put the people he cares about at risk and left one of them critically injured, you can bet he's going to seriously doubt himself.
The "one step forward, two steps back" situation is something we're very familiar with at this point, but given the circumstances, it's totally fitting and serves as a great opportunity to really dive into the character. Seeing Kaine revert to "emo/angry" mode sometimes bothers me a bit -- especially after he makes such progress -- but I really believe it's appropriate in this situation and I love how, despite Kaine's mentality, co-writers Christopher Yost and Erik Burnham don't make the issue entirely mopey. For example, they're able to turn what is debatably his angriest moment into something that'll absolutely earn a smile or even laugh from you. It's a nice little tonal shift but it never really detracts from our ability to feel all of the guilt in his heart.
The two writers also go full-speed ahead with Aracely's still fairly mysterious plot and do so without having it detract from the spotlight on Parker's clone. Then, they also throw in a familiar face (if you're a longtime reader of the book). Heck, there's even a blatant nod to an iconic Spider-Man moment. Needless to say, they cover quite a lot of ground in this one and end it on a note that'll definitely leave you demanding to know what happens next.
Chris Sotomayor's coloring is a good fit for animated vibe the book has often produced. However, David Baldeon's art here contrasts with the energetic atmosphere by offering seemingly rushed pencils. The detail fluctuates heavily in quite a few panels and many have a rougher and far sketchier feeling. It's not a bad looking book, but it's certainly distracting when someone's facial expression has an excessive amount of lines.
Oh, and if you haven't been following along, you're definitely going to feel lost in the final act. The opening recap doesn't have a blurb about the previous events surrounding a character who makes a return in this issue.
Yost and Burnham juggle a lot of material here yet still successfully provide a character-driven chapter and understandably so given what went down in "Into the Grave." We've seen Kaine walk the "I suck at being a hero" road plenty of times before, but given the sheer weight of everything surrounding him, it's a completely justified and well-executed path. The only thing really bringing this chapter down is a sometimes sketchier style which doesn't really fit all that well with the bold coloring -- it unfortunately comes off as rushed. It's too bad there's only one issue left in the series but here's hoping they'll make the best of it.