cap’n loves him some scarlet spider

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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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While the third issue of Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider does offer a cameo of Kaine on the hunt for his clone brother, the majority of the comic deals with Ben Reilly‘s fucked-up Las Vegas adventure. With his lies buying some time from Cassandra Mercury, at the cost of a bomb in his neck, Ben is at least able to breathe again. However, when a group of spider-clad would-be heroes decides to show up in the casino our protagonist springs into action, playing the hero whether he wants to or not (at least for a little while).

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With the set-up of the team settled and the New Warriors victorious over the High Evolutionary I decided to pop back in on this title and give it a look. New Warriors #9 has two things going for it: lots of Scarlet Spider and an insane giant basketball mascot intent on proving himself a hero. This my friends is a good time.

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I never expected anyone would ever make me want a Kaine action figure, but Christopher Yost’s terrific Scarlet Spider run makes grabbing this 4in. Marvel Universe Scarlet Spider Action Figure tempting. You should be able to find one for between $13 and $18 online.

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After two years Kaine‘s adventures in Houston as the Scarlet Spider end in the title’s final issue. Picking up some time after the events that ended Kaine’s super-hero career which are shown in a series of flashbacks which demonstrate the former killer’s heroics and the face of his monstrous nature (and why he can never return to Houston) we find Kaine and Aracely working their way down the Mexican coast in an attempt to begin a new life and forget their old one.

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Here’s my look back at the ten best single comic issues from the past year. Including ongoing series, one-shots, and mini-series, the only limitations I put on this list was that the comic had to have been released in 2013 (no reprints) and I limited myself to only a single issue from any one title. Because I was focusing on standout issues rather than consistently strong comics every month several of my favorite series missed the cut, but, if time permits, I may work up my regular list of best comic series of the past year as well.

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The series winds to a close leading into next month’s final issue as Kaine decides to give up the role of hero after what Kraven the Hunter put his friends through (including one still fighting for his life in the hospital). He also faces new threats in a friend turned enemy, someone masquerading as Annabelle, Aracely‘s dark visions, and the arrival of his crazy one-night fling Zoe Walsh (who brings her rocket launcher with her for the unannounced visit to Kaine’s hotel room).

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The Kraven the Hunter storyline comes to a close as Kaine fights the suicidal madman who is threatening the lives of all of the new Scarlet Spider’s friends. Only willing to spare Aracely, Annabelle, Wally, and Donald if Kaine can kill him, the hero tries his best to fight off his darker nature, defeat Kraven, and save his friends.

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