Scarlet Spider #8: Walk Away, Texas Rangers

Did you know that the South has its own team of superheroes? Kaine sure didn't, and he'd rather not now.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Scarlet Spider #8

Chris Yost's Scarlet Spider has been having a great time playing on its catchphrase "All of the power, none of the responsibility," and last issue, it hit its peak by showing us something we never see – a superhero banging one of the grateful people he's saved. Kaine learned quickly that that was a bad idea, when he found out that particular girl, one Zoe Walsh, was not only the daughter of a dastardly Roxxon honcho, but she's also the person who caused the explosion Kaine saved her from. She's a little crazy.

So he tracked down Zoe's claim that her father is behind some evil Roxxon shenanigans (as all Roxxon shenanigans are evil, but they are "job creators!"), and runs smack dab into the Rangers, the South's own team of superfolks. Anytime The Texas Twister shows up in a comic book, you know you're in for a good time, but there's also pre-Disassembled-era Avengers Firebird and Living Lightning on hand, a gunslinger gal named Shooting Star, a shaman-type called Red Wolf, and a funky alien-looking thing known only as Fifty-One. Texas Twister is funny, but with all these kooky obscure folks around him, he becomes interesting once we see that Yost is treating them all as characters and not just trotting them out for yuks.

Not that there ain't yuks in Scarlet Spider #8. Much of the fun of this book is watching Kaine mess up all chances to be a logical, responsible hero by focusing on his self-interest and looking for the most brutally efficient ways to end whatever annoying situation he finds himself in. Case in point, he completely tunes out the fact that the Rangers are trying to talk rationally to him and find out what he's doing trespassing in the Roxxon guy's office by mentally sizing them all up and picking a fight he thinks is inevitable. Hence, a wild angry chase as Kaine and Zoe scramble to escape. There's a truth to uncover, and eventually, the Rangers have enough common sense to make up for Kaine's complete lack of it.

Yost has kept Scarlet Spider consistently entertaining in its completely reckless anti-heroic action. Artist Khoi Pham isn't quite original SS artist Ryan Stegman, but he's not too shabby when it comes to expressive faces. If you're not on board with this series yet, get there. The impending crossover with Venom will most likely be a wild festival of what not to do when you're trying to be a superhero.