SCARLET SPIDER (KAINE)
It’s time for another Scarlet Spider review. I’ve previously reviewed 2 Scarlet Spider figures but none of the three are actually the same character. Let’s recap…
The first Scarlet Spider was a clone of Spider-Man. Back in issue 149 of Amazing Spider-Man published in 1975 Peter Parker’s deranged university professor, Miles Warren, nabbed some of Spidey’s DNA and cloned him. The clone was convinced he was the original and this led to a conflict between him and the true Spider-Man. The battle ended with the clone’s apparent death. End of story. Not quite. In the 1990s the clone returned. The writers explained it by saying that the clone never actually died; he just packed his things and left town after he realized he was the phoney. During his years in exile the clone took the name Ben Reilly. Upon his return to the big apple Ben and Peter became friends. Ben dyed his hair blonde and they explained away their physical similarities by telling people they were cousins. Ben donned a red spandex suit and a blue hoodie and took the name Scarlet Spider. He and Spidey fought side by side for a little while and things were all good. That is until the Green Goblin showed up and killed Ben. For more details check out this post.
The blue hoodied hero was gone and Ben was dust but the Scarlet Spider returned in the pages of Avengers: Initiative. A new recruit of the Avengers with enhanced athletic abilities named MVP was killed during a training exercise. But it just so happened that a mad scientist who lived in Avengers basement at the time made 3 secret clones of MVP whom he named Michael, Van, and Patrick. He dressed them all in the Iron Spider-Man costume that Spidey wore during the super hero civil war. They took the name the Scarlet Spiders and became members of the Avengers Shadow Initiative team. All was well. That is until Van and Michael got killed in battle , leaving Patrick as the sole clone of MVP and sole Scarlet Spider. Then the Initiative book got canceled and Patrick faded into obscurity. For more details check out this post.
The Scarlet Spider recently returned for a third time with another new costume, the black and red number you see here. This Scarlet Spider upholds the SS tradition of being a clone but it isn’t Ben or any of the MVPs; it’s Kaine, the “evil” clone of Spider-Man. In the same 90s storyline that gave us Ben Reilly we got Kaine. He was a mystery man at first but it was eventually revealed that he was in fact Professor Warren’s failed first attempt at cloning Peter Parker. Soon after he was created Kaine’s unstable clone body began to degenerate. He was of no use to Professor Warren like that so he was cast out while the professor worked to perfect the process. The degeneration left Kaine hideously scarred and a little insane. He became obsessed with killing the successfully cloned Ben who Kaine saw as the reason that he was rejected and abandoned by his “father” Miles Warren.
Kaine was a thorn in Spider-Man’s side for a while but once Ben was dead Kaine faded out of the picture. Overall, Spidey fans didn’t like “the clone saga” which spanned years and permeated multiple titles. Apparently sales took a hit. Sweeping Ben, Kaine, Lady Doctor Octopus, Seward Trainor, Traveller, and anyone else associated with the bloated clone story line, under the rug seemed to be the mandate to get fans to come back. Kaine made frequent appearances in the alternate MC2 universe inhabited by Spider-Girl though so he wasn’t completely wiped out of existence.
Kaine returned to the core Spidey books with the Grimm Hunt storyline. During the hunt he sacrificed himself to help Spidey save the day, ultimately redeeming himself. But then he was resurrected as a spider monster during the Spider-Island storyline which found pretty much all of the denizens of New York transformed into spider monsters. Luckily, the team at Horizon Labs mange to whip up a cure and revert everyone back to normal, including Kaine. A side effect of the cure was that Kaine’s degeneration scars healed. This redeemed and, for the first time ever, handsome Kaine left NYC to start a new life. He found himself settled in Houston where circumstances forced him to take on a new heroic costumed identity. He went with the name coined by his fallen brother Ben, the Scarlet Spider.
There, now you’re all up to speed. This figure is from the 6” Marvel Legends line. I don’t usually buy Legends figures because I collect the 4” scale Marvel Universe line. But unfortunately many characters I want figures of (Black Cat, Superior Spider-Man, Spider-Girl) are only available in the larger scale so I’ve made a few exceptions. This Kaine/Scarlet Spider is one of those exceptions.
Once I broke the Marvel Legends seal with my Black Cat purchase I ordered this figure from BigBadToyStore. He was marked down to clearance so I think I only paid about 8 bucks for him. That’s less than I spend on the 4” figures so it was a great deal and I was happy to him to my collection. The sculpting and articulation are quite nice on this figure. You can pose this guy in many realistic and exaggerated spidey-like poses. I like how his eyes are actually sculpted onto the mask instead of being just painted on. The crimson red and black look really great together. It’s a very good figure of the current Scarlet Spider.
My only issue with this figure isn’t really with the figure itself so much as it is with the design of the character. I know Ben Reilly’s hoodie costume was silly but I really liked it. Ben left some big shoes to fill and I think this costume misses the mark. There’s just way too much red. I would’ve liked to have seen them take some risks with this costume; like they did with the agent Venom design. Between this guy, Spider-Man 2099, Ultimate Spider-Man, and the real Spider-Man there are too many guys running around with the same powers and essentially the same costume. I don’t mind this look but Marvel played it safe here, and safe can be boring, which I would guess is partly why Scarlet Spider’s book got cancelled only 2 years in. If you’re interested in seeing what he’s up to now though you can check him out in the most recent version of the New Warriors.
I’m glad this character and this toy exist but I wish it didn’t look so similar to the dozens of Spider-Men I already have in my collection. 7 out of 10.