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It must be time for Scarlet Spider to reach for a sales bump, because Kaine travels all of the way back to New York for an appearance by Wolverine and the X-Men. There’s sadly nothing deeper to the story than that, managing to be fun but really that filler kind of fun.
Earlier in the series, Kaine made a deal with the Assassins Guild to fulfill a contract to be named later. This was a big deal since the series has had Kaine resist being a killer anymore, so readers have been left waiting for this shoe to drop. What would Kaine do when Belladonna came calling with his target? It was potentially a game-changer for the series and Kaine’s status quo.
Well, so much for that.
It turns out the target Belladonna wants Kaine to kill is Wolverine. So immediately, all suspense and intrigue over this awaited plot point goes right out the window. We all know that Kaine is not killing Wolverine. It’s nearly pointless for this issue to end on a cliffhanger as if he actually might have. Please. Everyone knows better. Kaine is not killing this target. Therefore, all the expectations for whether he would and what that might mean for him are null and void. it’s now hard to see how this story could have any real consequences.
Judging by Kaine’s plan to go after Wolverine, it honestly doesn’t seem like much thought went into this issue beyond getting Wolverine and as many X-Men as possible in it. Kaine decides to go after Wolverine right in the heart of the Jean Grey Academy with all of the X-Men around. Seriously, what sense does thst make? That is even below the standard of a dumb rookie move, and Kaine is supposed to be an experienced killer.
Also in this issue, Aracely gets some more... development? It’s a little hard to tell how seriously to take her here. She does end up donning a superhero costume and even chooses a codename for herself, but it could just be a gag for this issue. We also get more cryptic references to what her deal is as she coincidentally is able to help out Kaine against the X-Men’s telepaths. You know, I often get this impression with this book at Chris Yost is more interest in playing with Aracely’s character than Kaine’s, especially since Kaine is usually around to just play the straight man to her antics.
Carlo Barberi’s art is solid but has its moments of inconsistency and awkwardness. It’s really nothing too distracting from the story, though. Barberi does a good job with our leads, Kaine and Aracely. The cloaking effects of Kaine’s Scarlet Spider costume are especially nice too. But there are several panels where proportions and perspectives seem to go all out of whack.
The action and humor here are entertaining enough. It’s just there isn’t much to this story beyond that. There’s nothing intriguing or compelling about what’s happening. As I said, Kaine is obviously not going to kill Wolverine for the Assassins Guild. There’s no drama. The story also doesn’t tell us why this contract has been put out on Wolverine, leaving nothing for the reader to cling to there either.
Scarlet Spider turns what had been set up as a potentially major plot point into fluff action story and an excuse to include Wolverine and the X-Men in the book. It’s a truly disappointing turn of events. What makes it worse is that no substance is given to why Wolverine is Kaine’s target and that Kaine’s plan for getting at Wolverine is unbelievably dumb for the guy who is supposed to be good at this sort of thing.