Who the Clix? Scarlet Spider (Kaine)

Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.

Today we look at that imperfect clone of Peter Parker turned hero and successor to Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider/Kaine

Appearances in Heroclix: Wizkids Marvel, Amazing Spider-Man
First Appearance: Web of Spider-Man#119
Team Affiliations: New Warriors
Created by:  Terry Kavanagh and Steven Butler

Artwork and character is copyright/trademark Marvel; used under Fair Use
Artwork and character is copyright/trademark Marvel; used under Fair Use

Kaine began life as a particularly powerful imperfect clone of Peter Parker. Though Kaine began degenerating faster than other clones, and was discarded by the Jackal because of this, he survives in this scarred form for much longer than any other clone. This degeneration also enhances some of the spider-powers he inherited as a result of the cloning process. Kaine feels like a spurned son because of the Jackal’s casting off of him and goes through the Jackal’s files after the villain goes into hibernation. Unknown to either man, Norman Osborn had files shifted so that the Jackal’s files indicated his successful Spider-clone (calling himself Ben Reilly) was the real Peter Parker and the Peter Parker heroing in New York was a clone. Having a hatred for the real Parker, Kaine followed Reilly during his years traveling the country and tormented him. During this time, Kaine also acted as a bounty hunter and battled Kraven the Hunter.

Though Kaine had attempted to frame Ben Reilly for crimes (as all the clones have the same fingerprints), they eventually came back to haunt Peter Parker. After Parker is arrested, Ben arranges to take his place in prison, thereby fulfilling Kaine’s original plans. Meanwhile, Kaine scours New York defeating and executing many of Spider-Man’s villains. Around this time, Peter and Kaine are pulled to a mock trial where Parker is charged with crimes by his villains and Kaine is to act as his defense attorney. Though they make it out of this situation, the pair continue to argue as Parker wants Kaine to stand responsible for his crime and Kaine does not (feeling that the “real” Parker, Ben Reilly, is getting justice; while the “clone” Peter Parker deserves a good and free life). It is only when Peter threatens to reveal that he is Spider-Man that Kaine relents and confesses to the crimes but eludes authorities.

Kaine eventually helps Ben Reilly battle a number of Spider-clones in the Jackal’s lab before being impaled by a massive spike. The Jackal, feeling momentarily fatherly for one of his “sons” places Kain in a regeneration pod. Kaine is later released from the pod, fully healed, during a most dangerous game type situation involving super-beings. He ends up the unlikely ally of Ben Reilly (who had taken on the mantle of Spider-Man) as the two manage to avoid their fellow competitors and the sponsor of that Great Game. Later, Kaine makes peace with Ben and hands himself over to the law in order to redeem himself. Kaine later escapes his prison upon learning that Norman Osborn was behind the clone saga and had killed his “brother” Ben. Kaine battles many of Osborn’s operatives before being believed killed by the Green Goblin.

Kaine returns much later as an ally of Raptor, who promised Kaine that he could cure his cellular degeneration. This brings Kaine into conflict with Peter Parker, as Kaine believes that Peter is still a clone of Ben and, perhaps as a result of his disease, has grown to have rage towards the dead Ben Reilly again. When Raptor eventually reveals that he was lying, Kaine seemingly kills him.

Kaine is eventually hunted by Ana and Alyosha Kravinoff, who are seeking Spider-Man to sacrifice him and bring back their father, Kraven. Though Kaine is able to warn Peter before he faces the offspring of the hunter, this does not stop Spider-Man from running off to battle the pair. Parker is not strong enough, however, and is badly beaten. Kaine eventually knocks Peter out and puts on his costume, battling and losing to the Kravinoffs. He is then sacrificed to resurrect Kraven, which results in Kraven being an imperfect, undead version of himself. This results in Kaine transforming into a man-spider like version of himself and rising from the grave.

Jackal manages to control this form of Kaine and gives him the name, “Tarantula.” He falls under the control of the Spider Queen and is sent to Horizon Labs to tamper with a cure for the “Spider-Virus.” There, he battles with Peter and ultimately falls into a vat of the concentrated cure. After a few moments, Kaine rises from the vat and is human once more; not only that, but his scars are gone and he seems to be as perfect a clone as Ben Reilly. With the mental link to the Spider Queen broken and in a superior form of himself, he helps defeat the Spider Queen.

Kaine moves to Houston, Texas and takes on the mantle of the Scarlet Spider. While there he faces the Roxxon Corporation, Bella Donna, a human trafficking operation, the Armadillo, as well as the resurrected Kraven the Hunter. After several months helping the people of Houston, Kaine eventually joins the New Warriors. He is attacked by Daemos, a member of the Inheritors that are hunting down every multiversal form of Spider-Man. He manages to make Daemos feel pain and is suddenly saved by other versions of Spider-Man: including the Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider.

Kaine meets with the other Spiders and together their learn that the Inheritors have mastered cloning technology, downloading their consciousness into a new cloned body after death. The clone Spiders, Ben Reilly, Kaine and Ultimate Black Widow, journey to Jennix’s realm to investigate the Inheritors’ cloning facility. There they battle that reality’s Tony Stark and Johnny Storm before Kaine kills Jennix. Jennix immediately begins to awaken in one of the cloning caskets which reveals to the Spiders that the top of the facility, that reality’s Baxter Building, was a receiver that transferred the minds of the Inheritors into their new bodies. Ben Reilly sacrifices himself to destroy the facility which triggers the Other within Kaine. Determined not to endanger innocent lives, he travels to Loomworld to face the Inheritors alone. Kaine is able to kill the patriarch of the Inheritors before Morlun kills him in his “Other” form. The united Spiders are able to defeat the Inheritors and return home leaving behind the husk of the Other, from which Kaine’s living human hand bursts.

After Kaine’s rebirth, the Master Weaver Karn reveals that Kaine no longer has the power of the Other and is again dying from the carrion virus like most of Warren’s clones. Karn shows Kaine numerous realities where the carrion virus was able to run rampant and explains that he can’t allow Kaine to return home, lest it happen again. Kaine agrees and begins journeying to the infected universes, hoping that he can find a cure. He tries to avoid the Web Warriors, who are working for Karn, but Ghost Spider eventually discovers him. Together they realize that the merger of Parker Industries and New U spreads the carrion virus. They manage to recover research as well as another alternate Kaine and study it. Upon studying it they discover that Kaine himself is not contagious and that even without Kaine’s presence, the virus seems to be spreading in the 616.

Kaine and Ghost Spider enact a plan to prevent the merger from spreading the carrion virus. As they battle the Jackal and many of Spider-Man’s rogues, Kaine realizes that the Jackal is actually a resurrected Ben Reilly that has been promising people the return of their loved ones through cloning. Spider-Man is able to deactivate the Jackal’s kill switch in all clones and humans resurrected with clone cells, allowing them to defeat the Jackal without fear of reprisal. As a result of this, Kaine is also cured of the carrion virus and only left with his old facial scars.

Kaine tracks Ben Reilly, who has returned to calling himself the Scarlet Spider, to Las Vegas. The two nearly have a battle to the death until Ben reveals that he is trying to save a young girl from a terminal illness. Kaine spares his life but promises to kill Ben if the original clone should fail.

When the Inheritors return to begin their war anew, Doc Ock becomes Superior Spider-Man again and recruits Kaine’s aid. Unbeknownst to either of them, Ben Reilly follows them to their base. Kaine, Otto and several others are sent on a suicide mission to the prison Earth that the Inheritors were left on. When they arrive they meet the John Jameson of this reality, who was bitten by a radioactive spider in space and became Astro-Spider. He communicates with them telepathically and they all agree on a plan that leads to him stabbing Verna, of the Inheritors, in the chest with the Solus Stone. Verna manages to survive the attack and kills Astro-Spider before giving chase to Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman, of 616. Kaine attempts to hold the Inheritors back with his life but he is ultimately saved by Ghost Spider and 616 Peter. The three of them journey back to the 616 and take part in the final battle against the Inheritors. Ultimately, the Inheritors are resurrected as children and raised with loving parents, which will hopefully lead to them becoming heroes rather than villains.

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