Nightmare in Scarlet
Credits: Evan Skolnick (writer), Paris Karounos (penciler), Randy Emberlin (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Tom Smith & Malibu (colorists)
The Plot: Spider-Man joins the New Warriors to rescue the hostages captured by the evil Scarlet Spider. After falling off of a building, Scarlet Spider shocks everyone by stumbling back to life and continuing the fight. An injured Stephanie Briggs confronts Scarlet Spider and convinces him to face his pain and revert back to Joe Wade. He complies, and is taken away by the FBI.
The Subplots: Firestar is suspicious that she knows this Spider-Man’s “true” identity. When he accidentally calls her by her first name, her suspicions are confirmed.
*See _________ For Details: The evil Scarlet Spider took a group of citizens hostage in New Warriors#67.
Production Note: The indicia is still one month behind the cover date.
Review: And finally, Web of Scarlet Spider, the series no one really wanted to publish, is gone. The previous issue had some entertainment value due to Skolnick’s dark sense of humor, plus it’s interesting just to see how he deals with the illogical existence of these comics in the first place. This issue isn’t as funny, the art is still ugly, and the story cops out with a predictable “friend talks villain out of madness” ending. Apparently, another motivation for doing this story was to besmirch the Scarlet Spider’s reputation and essentially force him back into the Spider-Man role, but that idea hasn’t been expressed in any of the chapters I’ve read.
Given the vocal backlash to the clone storyline, it’s amazing that Marvel considered the “Scarlet Spider” such a valuable name that it couldn’t just die when Ben “reclaimed” the title of Spider-Man. If it was a brand name they really liked, you would think Marvel would’ve been more protective of the material it appeared in. Reading the Life of Reilly, it’s amazing to see the various hoops Marvel went through to get Ben into the Spider-Man role, even though it seems like everyone knew all along that Peter (and MJ) shouldn’t be written out of the books. Marvel’s solution was to make Ben the “real” Spider-Man, have Peter “retire” with MJ in a series of mini-series, and try to carve out a new supporting cast for Ben in New York. This was destined for failure. Not that anyone asked, but tomorrow I’ll present my solution to the Peter/Ben conundrum…