Kaine Parker, the star of Marvel Comics' "Scarlet Spider" series, may be a genetic clone of Peter Parker, but that doesn't mean he wanted to follow in his "brother's" footsteps and become a costumed hero. He didn't have much of a choice though. After being cured of a deadly sickness and resurrected from a seemingly fatal injury received during the 2010 "Amazing Spider-Man" story line "Grim Hunt" Kaine left New York and ended up in the city of Houston, Texas. The city's lack of superhuman champions and Kaine's inability to ignore some of his more heroic impulses lead to the Scarlet Spider becoming Houston's premier super hero.
Kaine's past as an assassin for hire and penchant for violence means Houston's new protector has his own aggressive and dangerous style of super heroics and over the next few months he will be put to the test by a number of deadly enemies. In the current "Minimum Carnage" crossover between "Scarlet Spider" and "Venom" Kaine is up against the symbiote-enhanced serial killer Carnage and several vicious aliens from the dimension known as the Microverse. Then in December's "Scarlet Spider" #12.1 and January's issue #13, which kicks off a storyline titled "In the Midst of Wolves," Kaine must confront a legion of foes including the assassin cult known as the Hand, the villainous thug for hire Bruiser, and mutant werewolf mobster Carlos Lobo. CBR News spoke with "Scarlet Spider" writer Chris Yost about his current and upcoming plans for the series.
CBR News: Chris, I've noticed in recent issues of "Scarlet Spider" that Kaine has had some especially violent reactions when his life is threatened. What's going on there? Is this Kaine, who had been ill and angry for so much of his life, realizing that he has something to live for? Is he afraid of death?
Chris Yost: Kaine is somebody who was dying for a long time and even died and came back to life. So now for the first time he's not dying and I think he is going to be surprised by his own reactions to things.
Plus, he doesn't want to die again. Being somebody who's led a very violent life and been given a second chance, his first reaction is to get away from everything. He runs away from the super heroes and villains of New York and ends up in Houston where he's started being heroic, but he may regret that.
Some of Kaine's heroism appears to have been on display in "Scarlet Spider" #10, the second chapter of "Minimum Carnage," when he blows off Venom's initial entreaty to pursue Carnage into the Microverse and then decides to join him after realizing Carnage may come back to menace Houston. Is this Kaine consciously making a heroic and responsible decision to protect his city?
It's funny, there's a line there where he says, "Being an idiot is in my DNA." It's almost like the guilt of Spider-Man is kind of chewing on him. It's instinct. His first reaction was to get out of there, but something pulled him back. I would say that something is very much part of his DNA.
What about his attachment to Houston? Have the city and its inhabitants come to mean something to Kaine?
For the first time in his life really he's made friends. He's found people and a place that he can call home. He's fairly protective of these people, too. He's going to get attached to them and in issue #12 we're going to see his reaction to the whole "Minimum Carnage" adventure. It's an interesting look at how he feels about these people that he's with. In issue #12 he basically leaves again. We'll see his mindset as to why he may or may not stay in Houston.
Before he makes that decision he still has some business to take care of in the Microverse. "Minimum Carnage" continues in this week's "Venom #27 before concluding in "Minimum Carnage: Omega," on sale November 21. Can you hint or tease what's in store for Kaine in the remaining chapters of this story line?
In the next issue of "Scarlet Spider" he basically has round two with Carnage. So they're going to face off again, but then the bigger threat they realize might be something from the Microverse. That's Marquis Radu who seems to be waging a war against the Microverse itself.
You've already touched on "Scarlet Spider" #12, on sale December 5, but what else can you tell us about this issue?
Issue #12 is Kaine ready to basically abandon Houston after the events of "Minimum Carnage." I don't want to spoil the end of that story, but bad things happen and Kaine is pretty rocked by it.
We also understand issue #12 is a holiday-themed issue, right? What's it like plunging a gruff and dangerous character like Kaine into this kind of story?
It was pretty fun because Kaine is not a cheery holiday kind of person. In fact he spends the majority of this issue unconscious. So issue #12 has a lot to do with Kaine's supporting cast. The holiday bit was just a little fun. We knew this issue was hitting in December so I thought, why not?
This issue involves his supporting cast having to deal with a particular situation and having to deal with Kaine who is not in the best of moods or states. Issue #12 will also have some interesting revelations for the cast -- they're still getting to know each other, and several of them have some pretty big secrets.
A week after that issue, on December 12, you provide new readers with a jumping on point and kick off the next chapter of Kaine Parker's life with the release of "Scarlet Spider" #12.1. What can you tell us about that one?
In issue #12.1 a young girl is found dead in Houston and the Scarlet Spider is pulled into the mystery of who this girl is, what happened, and who's responsible. At the same time it picks up with the story of the young girl Aracely who Kaine rescued from a human trafficking operation in issue #1. It turns out this dead girl was also a captive of a human trafficking ring. Since Houston is one of the United States' biggest ports, human trafficking is a very large problem there and Kaine dives into the problem head first.
He tears through Houston's criminal gangs looking for the head of the human trafficking ring and finds him. He's a guy named The Mark and he very much reminds Kaine of himself. Then from there things get very complicated with the Hand, Bruiser, and more.
The Mark is an interesting name. Can you tell us any more about this character and his nom de guerre?
The Mark is both a gang lord and a servant of the Hand. He runs the Hand's operations in Houston. His name comes from a very specific ability that he possesses.
Does Kaine have any past connections or dealings with the Hand from his days as an assassin?
He knows who they are, for sure. He wasn't expecting to find them in Houston though.
You also mentioned that Bruiser, the brawny thug for hire that debuted in Mark Waid's "Daredevil," is one of the foes making life miserable for Kaine in #12.1. What made you want to pit Bruiser against the Scarlet Spider?
I'm a huge fan of Mark Waid's "Daredevil." It's an incredible book and I thought that Bruiser was kind of a fun character and I found a particularly good use for him. So I called Mark up and asked him if he was okay with me using him. Mark was; so Voila! Since Bruiser is a villain for hire he has a very particular client in this case.
Does "Scarlet Spider" #12.1 set the ground work for your next big arc, "In the Midst of Wolves?"
#12.1 leads right into it. It kind of puts Scarlet Spider into what he's doing and at the same time it reintroduces the threat of the Lobos.
Let's talk about the Lobos, since they play a major role in that arc. You're showing your old school Spider-Man fan credentials by bringing Carlos Lobo back. He and his brother Eduardo Lobo, who was later killed, made their debut in the late '80s in "Spectacular Spider-Man" and I don't think Carlos has been seen since. What made you want to bring the character back?
I was a huge fan of the "Spectacular Spider-Man" run they appeared in and all its Sal Buscema artwork. Seeing that one of them survived and they were essentially part of a Mexican cartel they seemed like a perfect fit for the story I'm telling. Plus it's also the Scarlet Spider fighting werewolves! And you can't really go wrong with that.
When we last saw Carlos he was mutant with the ability to transform into a humanoid wolf and had connections to an organized crime cartel. Is that still his status quo?
Yes, that much has remained the same but other things have changed.
Carlos' dead brother Eduardo had the exact same mutant power during the Lobos' "Spectacular Spider-Man" appearances and I couldn't help but notice Kaine is battling two werewolves on the cover of "Scarlet Spider" #13...
You're right Eduardo did die and he still is dead.
So is the other character on the cover a third Lobo brother? Or is something else going on?
There is definitely something else going on, but you'll have to read the story to find that one out. You'll have the answer to that question at the end of issue #12.1.
Will "In the Midst of Wolves" feature any other big villains our guest star characters?
In issue #13 there will be another appearance by the Salamander (the new villain from our first story) and the guy essentially behind the Salamander, the one that freed him in issue #6. The Lobos have a connection with that story as well.
Then something incredibly significant happens at the end of issue #13 that will be a massive call back to another huge Spider-Man story. So issues #13-14 are especially huge for Kaine. It's been hinted at with the changes he's undergone in his powers specifically, but issue #14 is where we flat out change Kaine forever.
Ever since Kaine's resurrection there have been hints that his current power set is connected to the changes Spider-Man underwent in the 2005 story line "The Other." Is this the story where we'll get some answers about what's going on with Kaine, his powers and his "resurrection?"
Yes, you're definitely going to get some answers.
How big a role will Kaine's supporting cast play in this arc?
Doctor Meland and Officer Leyton play a big role in issue #12. Then in #13-15, Aracely kind of takes the spotlight.
Meland and Leyton will have parts to play in that story, though, and our upcoming ones. The supporting cast is not going away. In fact, later in 2013 there will be big things in store for all of them.
We've talked about story, let's start to wrap things up by moving into art. It looks like for the next several months you'll primarily be working with artists Khoi Pham and Reilly Brown on "Scarlet Spider."
Khoi and Reilly are working together on "Minimum Carnage" and Reilly is working on issue #12. Issue #12.1 is by Paulo Siqueira. Then I believe #13-15 are done by Khoi.
What's it like working with these guys? It feels like both of them have a real knack for depicting the acrobatic nature of your protagonist?
That's true. Khoi has been amazing. I'm a huge fan of his, and his work is really sharp, dangerous, and fluid.
At the same time issue #12, for example, is a pretty fun issue and Reilly is perfect for that. Issue #16 is going to be another fun issue where the largest rodeo in North America comes to Houston and Kaine is not a rodeo guy. So we're going to have some fun with that one too.
Finally, you're closing out your first year on "Scarlet Spider" and readying your second one. How does it feel to be given a chance to do a second year on the series? How big a year will 2013 be for Kaine Parker?
It's going to be insane. We've got at least two major stories coming up, a major guest star, and potentially one of the biggest crossovers that I've ever been involved with.
I wasn't sure we were going to get an issue #2, let alone a second year. I was always hoping because from the moment issue #1 came out I had planned the whole way through year three, but with things in this market you just never know. So I'm extremely grateful to everyone that's been reading and I'm extremely excited about what we've got coming up.
"Minimum Carnage: Omega" is on sale November 21 and "Scarlet Spider" #12 is on sale December 5.