cap’n loves him some scarlet spider

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Ben Reilly and Kaine both follow their own leads which will lead both Scarlet Spiders to the Diogenes Initiative. For Kaine that means sneaking into the top secret facility and getting chased around by a giant two-headed dog before getting taking down by Nakano (although, to be fair, she did cheat).

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Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #21 offers two separate storylines for Ben Reilly and Kaine, while leading each down a path which should bring both Scarlet Spiders back together in the next issue. Reilly’s search for the doctor who can cure Abigail Mercury ends in a fight with Sauron, and a cryptic message from the dying scientist about the Diogenes Initiative.

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With the battle with Mysterio and his daughter behind them, both Scarlet Spiders attempt to move on. For Ben Reilly that means continuing to try and save Abigail Mercury from the incurable Crooks’ disease. Tracking down the expert who has illuded him, the Scarlet Spider discovers why the willing scientist hasn’t been more responsive to his pleas: he’s unknowingly been a captive of Sauron.

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While Kaine attempts to keep everyone in the hotel and casino, who have been transported to an alternate dimension by Mysteria, safe from the murderous creatures, our other Scarlet Spider confronts Mysterio and his daughter to discover what the hell is going on.

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The arrival of Mysteria, the daughter to classic Spidey-villain Mysterio, who has now been hired by the same casino he is working for prickles Ben Reilly‘s Spidey-Sense to the level that he decides it is time to call in some back-up. Enter Kaine and Dusk. Unfortunately, neither prove to be all that helpful with the illusionist actually makes the casino disappear (by temporarily displacing it in another dimension).

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The latest issue of Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider is a bit of a departure for the comic as the primary story focuses not on Ben Reilly but on the other Scarlet Spider, Kaine. Really the only thing you need to know about the issues is this: Kaine fights a hippopotamus dude who would fit right in with Bebop and Rocksteady. If that doesn’t interest you, I don’t know what to say (partially because there’s really not much more to the issue). Still, Scarlet Spider versus Hippo!

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Already confused about what direction to take now that the Slingers have kidnapped Cassandra Mercury as leverage to force the Scarlet Spider to turn himself in for the brutal attack on Thorne, the sudden return of Kaine (who has his own agenda in freeing the kidnapped club owner) only further complicates the situation. In the end the two Scarlet Spiders agree to work together.

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Following the events of last month’s issue, the Scarlet Spider makes a pair of new friends (well… if you are grading on a curve) and works with Ricochet to track down the other hero’s former (and now resurrected) partner Hornet. Knowing there’s far more to the story that Ricochet is willing to divulge, and the fact that it’s been some time since he’s played well with others, Scarlet Spider’s team-up doesn’t last that long (although the consequences do involve our hero getting in over his head and Richochet racing through a casino without any pants).

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The death of Ben Reilly‘s patient marks the end of Kaine‘s patience. However, before pitting the two Scarlet Spiders against each other once more, the comic introduces a wild card in Marlo Chandler-Jones who seems to have an unusual effect on both Ben and Kaine. Inspiring Ben to go after a pair of thugs shooting up Las Vegas, the Scarlet Spider jumps into action (although he does have to be talked out of gunning down the villains in the middle of the street by one of their would-be victims).

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Kaine finally catches up to Ben Reilly in Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #5. The comic is most memorable for the fight between the pair that takes up most of the issue. Despite his vow to kill the other clone, Kaine decides to let Ben Reilly live for now leading to a temporary halt in hostilities between the pair until Reilly can cure a sick child (who he neither knows how to cure nor really wants to).

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