The Best Spider-Man Clone
So many things I loved in this issue. The first being the insanely cool cover-it might just be one of my favourite covers ever. The rest of the issue held up pretty nicely as well, though it definitely felt like the beginning of a new story arc; that is, a lot of build up, and a cliffhanger ending. Yost still managed to pile on the action though, and as with all prior issues of Scarlet Spider, it was an almost seamless blend of action and storytelling. Khoi Pham also came on for his first issue of Scarlet Spider, and while Stegman's work will always be missed, Pham holds up the stylistic tone and theme of the book, while also distinguishing himself.
The new story that was kicked off in this issue feels like it will hopefully go a little bit towards explaining some of the plot threads introduced back in issue one. The colossal nature of Roxxon gives me hope that there will be room for the continuing plot threads to be addressed, and possibly explained. Yost gives this issue a lot of breathing room in terms of expectations, and while I was expecting some Kraven and Co action, the story went somewhere else entirely, though in a positive way. The only complaint I have at this point is that the series seems rather disjointed, with issue 5, 6 and now 7 all featuring different characters and plots. They feel more like a series of one shots rather than a cohesive story. The introduction a new arc, however, seems to promise a new sense of direction and progression to the series. At its best, such as in the first 4 issues, Yost demonstrated pitch perfect storytelling ability-the pacing, progression and payoff were all brilliant, and with the addition of a new steady artist, hopefully Yost will re-imbue this series with all the things that made the first four issues so great. There are definitely indications of that in this issue: Kaine's rescue of an 'innocent' bystander and his subsequent reward made a stellar introduction to the story, and Kaine's humorous interactions with other characters balances out the darkness of his character. Overall, the book is still progressing nicely, if slowly.
New artist Khoi Pham makes a great first impression in this issue. While his pencils share stylistic similarities with Stegman's, they aren't as clean, and in certain panels seemed more reminiscent of Chis Samnee's more cartoony vibe. Needless to say, the same vertiginous feeling is present in Kaine's airborne heroics, and the more mundane aspects of the story were also well-communicated with the appropriate selections of panels and angles. The story certainly did slow down, but by having Kaine in costume for most of the outfit, Pham was instrumental in maintaining the tension and suspense, mostly through Kaine's ignorance of that which was transpiring around him. Overall, while Pham still has a lot to live up to with Stegman's departure, he demonstrates that he is more than apt enough to do so.
Overall, a lot of great moments in this book, and while it is not so much the case sometimes, these great moments translated to a great overall story and issue. The new art gave readers a seamless transition, while Yost provided a new story arc that also works as a good jumping-on point for new readers-the series on being 7 issues old also helps. The overall tone of this book was captured perfectly in this book, with the balance between humour and Kaine's darkness matching and building upon what we saw in previous issues. Overall, one of my favourite titles coming out of Marvel at the moment, and with this issue setting a stronger direction for the future, both in terms of creators and story, I hope that Scarlet Spider will continue to impress.