Living in the shadow of Spider-Man is tough, but the person taking it hardest of all is Kane. Working now under the moniker of Scarlet Spider in the series of the same name, Kaine’s life is about to go from bad to worse when another clone, Ben Reilly, comes back to haunt him.
Ben Reilly and Kane are blood brothers – literally – as the two clones of Peter Parker created during the “Clone Saga” event back in the late 1990s, and after years apart (you know, since they both died at one point or another) they’re on a collision course in this week’s Scarlet Spider #21. And with that, we talked with series writer Christopher Yost (also the co-writer of the upcoming Thor: The Dark World feature film) to talk about Kaine’s descent and the obsession that’s fueled his entire life.
Newsarama: This week sees the release of Scarlet Spider #21, the beginning of the “Into the Grave” arc and the return of Ben Reilly – a man he shares a long and convoluted past with. What can readers expect with #21, Christopher?
Christopher Yost: Well, there’s angst. Fighting. Scarlet Spider vs. Scarlet Spider. The return of the supporting cast. Mystery. Twists. And a dead dog.
Nrama: Kaine’s already been dealing with some rough issues, especially with his attempted reunion with his “brother” Spider-Man last issue. What’s going on in Kaine’s head before he crosses paths with Ben Reilly?
Yost: At the end of 20, SPOILERS!!! -- Kaine's cellular degeneration has returned. He's back to square one… he's DYING. So, after embracing the monster within him and being rejected by "Peter Parker," and now that his second chance at life is over… you might say he's in a dark place. He throws a couch out the window.
Nrama: Little does he know that Spider-Man isn’t Peter Parker anymore. But moving on, we’ve got Kaine going against the former Scarlet Spider, Ben Reilly. Kaine’s doing bad, so what about Ben?
Yost: Anger. After all, Kaine was the man that tormented and tried to kill Ben Reilly for years, right? Now to see that man pretending to be a hero, using the Scarlet Spider name… that's just not cool.
Nrama: If that weren’t enough, we have one of the banes of all spider-heroes out there coming back, Kraven the Hunter. Last we saw of him, his daughter Ana had used Kaine’s blood to resurrect him. What’s going on now?
Yost: Well, way back in #6, we learned that Ana was tracking Kaine for her father. She was learning everything about him. In issue 16, it seemed like whatever they were up to was coming to a head. And now… it's here. Things go dark pretty quick.
Nrama: This 4-part arc’s title is “Into The Grave.” Seeing Kraven involved, that title instantaneously reminds me of that great cover by Mike Zeck from Web of Spider-Man #32 with Kraven’s Last Hunt. Any symbology there?
Yost: Yes. That's one of my all time favorite Spider-Man stories, and many of the ideas in it come back into play here. Who is Kraven, what does he ultimately want? What does he have to prove?
Nrama: You and artist Carlos Barberi have really been on a roll since he joined you with issue #17. Now that you’re several months in and he looks to be onboard through the end of the year at least, are you adapting to what he’s doing to get the most out of his art with your scripts?
Yost: Carlo's strengths are insane action and humor. That's generally where I live, too -- this arc is a little darker than most of what we've done, but Carlo is knocking it out of the park.
Nrama: I understand the idea of putting a hero in turmoil to see him grow, but for Scarlet Spider you’ve really put Kaine through the ringer. Can you tell us your thoughts on Kaine and how it’s changed over time, and the amount of punishment you’ve laid down on him?
Yost: Most writers do this to see how their characters survive, grow, and come out on top. But what if they don't? What if this redemption story doesn't end in redemption? What if the world of hell that we're putting Kaine through just breaks him? Like the anti-Daredevil. It's possible to try and change, to try and be a hero… and it's possible to fail. You'll know soon enough.