We've been fearing this day for awhile and now it's finally here: the very last issue of Christopher Yost's SCARLET SPIDER. Yost has introduced a lot of characters and plot threads during his run with Peter Parker's clone, but ultimately, this one's all about the book's two key characters: Kaine and Aracely.
As always, the dynamic between the two (Aracely's bubbly personality vs. Kaine's blunt nature) is lovable and there's a few good jabs throw in this finale. If you follow the news about these characters, then you know they do indeed have a future with Marvel and Yost dedicates much of this issue to setting these two on a new path -- essentially wrapping up this story while loosely teasing a whole new adventure for the duo. The justification for their trip to Mexico and Kaine's morale taking a dive yet again is solid. It's not quite as emotional as I had hoped and Kaine's connection to the supporting cast reaches a swift conclusion, but Yost makes up for that by delivering a strong internal voice for Kaine and series of exciting and explosive events. In the end, we all know Kaine truly is a hero, but the logic behind him thinking otherwise is sound, especially given what he does to "save the day."
Yost's script has everything from big cinematic moments to soothing character-driven scenes, and for the most part, artist David Baldeon and colorist Chris Sotomayor make it all look good. It strikes a nice animated tone, yet never comes off as feeling too cartoonish. Sometimes the facial work is a bit distracting (too much attention to detail or grins which cover the entire width of a face), but there's some really impressive work with the action scene in the city. Also, I really dug a couple of the establishing shots and more relaxing moments in Mexico. It's never quite as detailed as the chaos back in Texas, but the attention given to the sky makes it particularly calming.
Yost does a fine job setting Kaine and Aracely on a new path, but a stronger and more direct/blatant connection to what their future holds (aka NEW WARRIORS) would have been really appreciated. Also, maybe it's just me, but the handling of the time in the beginning was a bit confusing during the first read through. I have to assume the opening scene is in the future, but there was no caption informing us of that -- it's something that'll just make sense after the first handful of scenes.
I'm not sure if Chistopher Yost is a big Breaking Bad fan, but Kaine drops a very famous line from the show and, while definitely cool, it removed the illusion of being in this fictional world and made me think of the totally different one with Walter White.
I understand Yost is working with very limited space to close this series, but it would have been nice to see his supporting cast receive a little more time. Maybe if we're lucky they'll appear in NEW WARRIORS.
All in all, SCARLET SPIDER leaves us the same way it came into this world: sharply written and full of eye-pleasing action. Except for Arcaley, the focus on Kaine's friends is mainly pushed aside to let Yost really dive into the clone's head and justify him finally accomplishing what he's apparently always wanted: a getaway to Mexico.
It's terrible to see this book go (I sincerely hope Marvel releases an omnibus), but at least we know these two characters will remain in Yost's more than able hands as they switch to the upcoming team book NEW WARRIORS. You'll be missed, SCARLET SPIDER.