“Scarlet Spiders” #3 ends the spinoff title and closes the Mike Costa-written chapter of “Spider-Verse” while Paco Diaz draws the last rally of a hero. Three Spiders — Kaine, Ben Reilly and the Ultimate Jessica Drew — start this comic but, by the final page, there are only two Spiders left to fight the Inheritors.
Costa layers in a story over the action. It adds depth to the comic but, unfortunately, it also highlights Diaz’s apparent preference for dynamic shots over solid storytelling. The parallel between asynchronous art and story underscores a disconnect in this creative team and is certain to foster flagging interest as Costa’s narrative proves more compelling than the art, rather than working in sync with each other. The two pieces aren’t quite at odds but simple things, like a clawed swipe in the art being referred to as a shoulder-dislocating move in the story, stand out. Each portion of this comic would be fine on its own merit, but the two differing halves detract from the overall whole.
That said, characters are down for a count in one panel and miraculously springing about in the next, only to be at death’s door shortly after. Body language and posture are under-utilized as Diaz goes with 90s apparel and anatomy. All three Spiders and their foe are spindly and ridiculously chiseled. Diaz fills the issue with all kinds of dynamic, expressive shots and characters but doesn’t give enough storytelling to make the adventure worthwhile. When the panels get tighter, the characters get murkier, and the story itself has to fall back on the heavy narrative captions letterer Travis Lanham uses for Costa’s tale. Colorist Israel Silva keeps things bold and loud but pitches a distraction or two as well by dropping in extreme phantom light sources that appear and disappear as though emanating from a slow-motion strobe light.
“Scarlet Spiders” #3 suffers from being a sidebar tale that has expanded to fill the space available. Costa gives Ben Reilly some humorous lines, but those few lines aren’t enough to string out the inevitable in anything resembling a successful manner, and the comic just limps along, like its stars, to the end.