Good news, spider-fans: starting with issue seven of Marvel’s Scarlet Spider in July, acclaimed artist Khoi Pham joins writer Chris Yost as the new series artist, kicking off the second year of Kaine Parker’s brand new life. Along with that new life? A brand new set of dangers, villains, and allies in the form of… Evil oil corporation ROXXON? To find out more, we chatted with Pham and Yost about where we’ll see Kaine going, how he walks the villain/hero line, and just what’s up with that Scarlet Letter/Scarlet Spider crossover:
MTV Geek: Khoi, let’s kick it off with you... What’s it been like joining this title? And what’s your take on Scarlet Spider?
Khoi Pham: This is a great book with limitless upside, so I'm really stoked to see what I can do to make this book even better than it already is. It's going to be fun to further define and shape Scarlet Spider as a character and make him a force to be reckoned with in the Marvel Universe.
Geek: Chris, we know that you and Ryan Stegman went on a trip to Texas to scout out locations for the book when it launched... When are you going to invite Khoi to take a trip with you, already? What is he, chopped liver?
KP: Hold up, field trips? This gig just got even better.
Chris Yost: That's right, we're going to Mexico in preparation for Year 2. Marvel foots the bill for that, right?
Geek: Okay, so starting with issue seven, what kind of place is Kaine in? Both physically, and mentally?
CY: Kaine is getting settled in Houston. He's found himself helping or being helped by his new supporting cast, he's taking care of a girl named Aracely there, he's got a place to live...
...and he's starting to accept that he can be a hero. He knows he's got blood on his hands, he's trying to deal with it, and he's trying to make up for it. He's in a place where he's trying to be good. So we're going to make it that much more harder for him.
Geek: He seems to be still walking the tricky line between hero and villain - you know, anti-hero, maybe? I’m always curious how you have a character stay on this path in the long term... At some point does he need to make a decision?
KP: I don't know what Chris has in store, but, in my opinion, it's that indecision that makes him real and interesting. Characters seem to become less compelling when they finally "choose." Although I'm sure Chris can make such a decision awesome.
CY: Yeah, there's a pretty big gap between wanting to do the right thing, and following your instincts -- which in Kaine's case, generally leads to the WRONG thing. It's going to be a struggle for him. He's going to fail. The question is, will he keep trying?
Geek: ROXXON seems like kind of a perfect fit for the Houston locale, what with the oil and all... Are we going to see this title slowly morph into Dynasty, but with spider-powers?
KP: Does that mean I have to draw women with big hair?
CY: Yes it does. Get ready. Roxxon is complicated. It's the backbone of the Houston economy, it employees thousands of Texans. And they're doing some very, very bad things. A corporation is a difficult thing to just go in and punch, but Kaine tries his best.
Geek: Seriously, though, how does ROXXON fit into all of this, and we going to see some of their employees more regularly in the cast?
CY: The CEO of Roxxon may well become a recurring villain. There's a woman named Zoe that is involved with Roxxon that's going to become a big part of Kaine's life. But the bottom line is that Roxxon is up to some bad stuff in the Gulf of Mexico, and Kaine's going to be right in the middle of it.
Geek: It seems like the Marvel Universe is headed for Kaine, whether he likes it or not. Who are we going to see headed his way, and Khoi, who are you looking forward to drawing?
KP: Super Hero Squad! Just kidding. I'm digging the colorful cast of characters as is, so any new faces would be bonus for me.
CY: Oh, we've got the southwest superheroes known as the Rangers coming up, we've got werewolves and clones and a few guest stars from Spider-Man's neck of the woods... all kinds of good stuff coming up.
Geek: There’s, of course, a big anniversary or two coming up for Spider-Man this year, as well as the movie... I know the main title will be tying in a bit, but are we going to see any of those repercussions in Scarlet Spider?
CY: There's a very good chance that Kaine is going to be getting a visit from his 'brother' as time goes on.
Geek: Any other teases about what’s coming up in issue seven and beyond? Are we going to finally see that Scarlet Spider/Scarlet Letter crossover the fans have all been asking for? Or, you know, any other teases you can give us that aren't limited to my fan-fiction.
CY: Yes, in a bizarre time travel accident, it's revealed that Kaine was Hester's lover. But beyond that, besides amazing art from Khoi, you're going to be learning a lot more about Kaine. Those spikes that come out of his wrists? The ability to communicate with spiders? We've seen these powers before. There's a lot more to Kaine's resurrection than even he realizes.
We get into the mystery of Aracely, the girl Kaine saved in issue one. We see Kraven the Hunter's plans for Kaine take shape. And something even more horrible is coming for Kaine. Check out issue six for a moment with Julia Carpenter, aka Madame Web. She's seen Kaine's future, and it's not good. Well, for him. Hopefully it'll be good for the readers.
Khoi Pham joins Scarlet Spider in July with issue #7!