Kaine Parker, the genetic clone and "brother" of Peter Parker currently metes out a rough brand of justice on the streets of Houston, Texas as the star of Marvel Comics' monthly "Scarlet Spider" series. Recently his brother has adopted a similar style of crime fighting on the streets of New York as evidenced by his activities in both "Superior Spider-Man" and "Avenging Spider-Man." Kaine is currently unaware of his brother's new viscous streak or that it's due to the fact that the mind of Spider-Man's old enemy Doctor Octopus (AKA Otto Octavius) now occupies Peter Parker's body.
That may all change very soon if Chris Yost has anything to say about it, and CBR News spoke to the "Scarlet Spider" and "Avenging Spider-Man" writer about both titles and how they'll lead to a face-to-face encounter between the Scarlet Spider and the Superior Spider-Man. Yost also detailed how "Avenging Spider-Man's" July relaunch as "Superior Spider-Man Team Up" will transform the series moving forward.
CBR News: Chris, let's start with "Scarlet Spider" where you've been planting and watering a lot of story seeds as of late. First let's deal with the fall out from your most recent arc, "In the Midst of Wolves" where Kaine merged with the mysterious and powerful spider like being known as The Other. How would you describe the current relationship between Kaine and the Other? From what we saw in "Scarlet Spider" #15-16 it appears Kaine is in the driver's seat of his body right now, but it also appears that could change quite quickly. Is that correct?
Chris Yost: Yeah, I think that Kaine is definitely still in the driver's seat. He's still the Kaine that we know and love, but right under the surface is the Other. So while Kaine was always kind of violent he wasn't instantly ready to just kill somebody. Now the darkness of the Other is there and it's pushing him to that place, but the Other is more of a supernatural element. So it's not going to come out for things like muggers. The instinct of the entity is there though, and it's pushing him.
In the rodeo issues you saw Annabelle's ex-boyfriend Ray push Kaine and the Other was telling Kaine that he should kill him. So even the littlest scuffle has the potential to become something much more tragic with this presence there and that freaked Kaine out a little bit.
So the Other is sort of the devil on Kaine's shoulder whispering into his ear until something appropriate causes it to take over his body?
Does Kaine have different powers when the Other is in control of his body?
In the last chapter of "In the Midst of Wolves" you saw that when he goes into full on Other mode he transforms into a much more animalistic spider form. He even grows additional arms.
It also appears that Kaine isn't the only "Scarlet Spider" cast member wrestling with a darker nature. During the "In the Midst of Wolves" arc you hinted that Aracely, the girl he rescued in issue #1, may just be the violent Mayan god, Huitzilopochtli. So does she have the potential to become a monster as well?
Absolutely. You see that there are moments where Aracely looks like she's possessed and there are people that believe she is this god reborn. She's using her powers more and more often and there are moments where she talks in a different voice. So she's doing some pretty scary things.
Plus we've seen her floating around at night while she appears to be sleeping and dreaming.
Yes, and in the next arc, "The Wrath," with Wolverine you're going to see Aracely use her powers very proactively. She actually puts on a costume and becomes a superhero called Hummingbird, and she and Kaine take on the X-Men.
Kaine and Aracely weren't the only characters that had surprise developments at the end of "In the Midst of Wolves" -- the revelations with Mr. Moctezuma in Mexico where he was accompanied by a group of characters that could be gods or super villains, and "The Culling" that happens at "The End of All things." Are these two stories tied together? And when will we learn more about these stories?
That is an excellent question. They're all story seeds for down the road. So right now we're just waiting to see how our schedule goes.
"Scarlet Spider" #16 was a one-off issue that followed the conclusion of "In the Midst of Wolves," and you planted some interesting seeds there, one which was a callback to Clutch, a character who's been mentioned in previous issues. Based on what we've heard about him in the series and what a reporter said in this issue it sounds like Houston was a very bad place when Clutch was around, is that accurate?
Kaine, the Scarlet Spider, is Houston's very first super hero, but they had a super villain back in the day and that was Clutch. He made life a living hell for the residents of Houston and then left. So the story of Clutch is another one that will unfold down the road.
Do we know why Clutch left Houston?
I do, but the residents of Houston and readers don't know [Laughs]. We haven't revealed it in the book yet.
Issue #16 also made reference to another mysterious and perhaps dangerous person, the brother of Annabelle's ex-boyfriend Ray. Aracely tells us that Ray's brother is even worse than he is, so how big of an enemy did Kaine make by punching out Ray?
You've actually seen Ray's brother and he's a fairly large, at least in size, enemy. He was involved in the last arc, "In the Midst of Wolves."
Was he the leader of the street gang that Aracely tricked into attacking the Lobos?
Yes, We haven't explicitly said that, but that is definitely Ray's brother.
While we're on the topic of Kaine's enemies let's talk about two of them specifically: Kraven the Hunter and his daughter Anna, who were seen watching Kaine from afar at the end of "Scarlet Spider" #16. Can you talk about Kraven's plan or what he wants from Kaine?
If you recall during the "Grim Hunt" arc of "Amazing Spider-Man" Kraven was brought back life with the blood of Spider-Man, but it wasn't Spider-Man. It was Kaine. So now the two of them have a connection and Kraven believes he needs Kaine for a very specific reason that will be revealed in issue #22.
Is Kraven out to Kill Kaine? Or is something more complicated going on?
He definitely needs Kaine and there's definitely killing involved, but it is a little more complicated.
The final big story seed you planted was Julia Carpenter's (AKA Madame Webb) cryptic warning note to Kaine. In issue #15 we saw her sort of stirring in the coma that she's in. Can you confirm if she'll play a role in "Scarlet Spider" or any other spider-related books moving forward?
I believe Julia will show up in ["Superior Spider-Man" writer] Dan Slott's realm, but the note was her contribution to this story.
Is it safe to say her presence will be felt in the form of the note she left, but no one is aware because Annabelle destroyed it in "Scarlet Spider" #16?
Let's look ahead to the next arc of "Scarlet Spider," which starts in issue #17 and sends Kaine to New York to fulfill his obligation to the Assassins' Guild by killing Wolverine. Does Kaine want to do this? Does he know who Wolverine is? And if he does, does he care?
Those are the big questions. He agreed to do this though, and one of the things I'm playing with here is that Kaine is like the one guy in the Marvel Universe that hasn't met Wolverine. So he doesn't have any particular connection to him, and it's kind of a wait and see. Our mysteries here are will he or won't he? And can he? Because Wolverine is a tough customer, and the entire first part of issue #17 is them dealing with the fact that Wolverine is the headmaster of a school and the leader of this team. So there's quite a few obstacles to get through in order to get to what they want.
What's at stake if Kaine doesn't follow through and kill Wolverine?
The Assassins' Guild will descend on Houston and Kill Kaine's friends: Meland, Wally, Annabelle, and probably Aracely.
So there's definitely motivation to do this whether he wants to or not.
Right. He doesn't have spider sense. He can't protect these people 24-7. All it takes is one sniper's bullet and somebody is dead.
What can you tell us about the initial dynamic between Wolverine and Kaine? It seems like these guys have enough in common to either be great friends or hate each other's guts.
I think they really could have been friends, but given the way things go in the story it's not going to work out that way. I can spoil that right now. They're not going to walk away from this story as friends.
I understand this story begins with Kaine targeting Wolverine, but quickly turns into something where they have to join forces against a larger menace?
Yes. That's absolutely true. You're going to see a lot of fighting with the Assassins' Guild. You'll see the super powered members of the Guild make their play. You'll see their leader, Belladonna, unleashed. You'll also see the dark secret behind the Assassins' Guild. And you're going to see the Hand.
So there will be a couple assassination organizations running amok in this story?
Yeah. It turns into a whole big thing.
Sounds like the menace at the center of things in this story though is character called the Red Death. I take it from his name that he's Poe fan? What else can you tell us about the Red Death?
[Laughs] Yes, but the Read Death is actually a she. She's incredibly dangerous, and she's something that I don't think our heroes are particularly prepared for. They go in with claws and stingers expecting to kill bad guys and when they run into this it changes the game.
Because for all their powers and all their awesomeness they're more or less just two dudes. And what they run into is fairly beyond their power scope.
So what they run into is more in the weight class and expertise of somebody like, say, Doctor Strange?
Yeah, it's not necessarily a magic thing, but it's definitely on a scale of power well above Scarlet Spider and Wolverine's pay grades.
While Kaine and Wolverine are getting in over their heads, your other spider powered hero, Otto Octavius, the star of "Avenging Spider-Man," has his hands full has hands full with super powered KGB assassins and a rampaging Hulk loose on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. What can you tell us about the second half of this story that teams Spidey with the Secret Avengers and continues in "Avenging Spider-Man" #21?Cover by Paolo Rivera