Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Scarlet Spider #22 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)
After years of Kraven's shtick, you'd think that I'd be tired of it by now. But, Yost somehow manages to find a way to make it feel fresh. Kraven is totally in command of the game here, from start to finish. In reality, Kraven's kidnapped Kaine's friends to give him incentive to become a killer, but, in the meantime, he uses Ana to let Kaine think that they've already killed them. Kaine manages not to cross the line and kill Ana, thanks to his memories of Ben Reilly's faith in him. He asserts that he is in command of the person that he wants to be, but it's not enough; Kraven has prepared for this eventuality. He might've hoped that Kaine would've willing killed Ana, coming to him having embraced the killer in him; but, since he didn't, Kraven has a back-up plan, using Kaine's kidnapped friends as inspiration for him to fight Kraven to the death: if Kaine loses, his friends die. It's uniquely Kraven and it totally works. Even worse, if Kaine manages to find a way not to kill Kraven and grant him his wish of death, it's pretty clear that this phase of Kaine's life is over. I doubt that he's going to exit this arc feeling confident that he can keep Annabelle, Aracely, Donald, and Wally safe and in his life. It seems clear that he's going to wind up returning to being a nomad; the only question is if he's going to be a killer or not. This issue gives us hope that it'll be the latter and not the former, but Yost doesn't make that a foregone conclusion. Even with the revelation that his friends were alive, I still felt horribly sad at the end of this issue (and not just because I think that Donald and Wally's puppy is probably dead). By reminding us of Kaine's conversation with the priest in an early issue, we're reminded of how hard Kaine is trying to live a normal life and how his past, in the form of Kraven this time, just won't let him.