Scarlet Spider #13

As the world adapts to a new Spider-Man who isn't as beholden to the responsibility of his predecessor, Chris Yost continues to develop Kaine as a character, adding more dilemmas to the character's life in the pages of "Scarlet Spider" #13. Chief among those dilemmas is the arrival of "The Wolves," a brother-sister duo, who are seeking out Kaine's pseudo-ward, Aracely.

The burden of responsibility Kaine shoulders for Aracely is not unlike what Peter Parker recently experienced with Alpha, but Yost makes Kaine's situation believable and the borderline unlikable character sympathetic. The characters elevate the by-the-numbers plot, transforming it into a quick-moving, enjoyable comic book adventure.

While a half dozen individuals check into the credit box as inkers and colorists, "Scarlet Spider" #13 holds together quite nicely. Some scenes, naturally, are crafted in a different style and, therefore, are more evocative and engaging, bringing out the best in Pham's work. One such scene is Aracely's dream sequence, which is especially warm and ethereal, sketchy in appearance and personal, like pages from Pham's sketch journal. Other spots simply aren't as cohesive as others. The rooftop fight, which is a critical juncture in "Scarlet Spider" #13, treats the backgrounds as last-minute additions, as though someone decided late in the process that some atmosphere might make the fight more believable and interesting. In the end, due to his varied collection of collaborators, this comic feels like Pham has a chance to play in a number of styles, panel arrangements and camera angles. Some work better than others, sacrificing consistency for experimentation.

There's a great deal of buzz going on for the end of "Amazing Spider-Man" and the beginning of "Superior Spider-Man," but this book is pretty darn enjoyable as well. It has plenty of action and doesn't have as much baggage as the other two titles. "Scarlet Spider" #13 is a solid superhero comic that does a good job of layering plots and subplots, motivating the protagonist and inspiring heroism in the titular character. It also drops a cliffhanger on the reader, certain to inspire a return next month as well as a certain amount of anxiety in between.

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