The Exile Returns – Part 3 Echoes of Silence
Credits: Terry Kavanaugh words, Steven Butler and Randy Emberlin on art and edited by Eric Fein.
Cast: Ben ‘Scarlet Spider’ Reilly, Ken Ellis, Gabrielle Greer, Eddie Brock/Venom and unnamed Symbiote creature.
Plot: Echoes of Silence opens with an injured Ben Reilly (still in his Scarlet Spider outfit) managing to get home, despite his serious gut wound. He ditches the costume and uses the discarded sleeves of his hoodie as a makeshift tourniquet and from a payphone calls a friend he calls Seward, but he blacks out through pain before the call goes through.
He is found by a neighbour Gabrielle Greer, who gets him to a clinic that will help someone who clearly is without insurance. The problem is that intrepid journalist Ken Ellis is looking for the Scarlet Spider (a name he coined) and has put the word out for any information about adult men with severe stomach wounds. The nurse at the clinic makes a call to Ellis to inform him of the unnamed man she’s been treating. Following Ken, to get to Ben, to get to Venom is the Symbiote creature from the last issue. She thinks to herself that she doesn’t need to camoflauge herself, just before doing so.
Then we get a scene in midtown, where a hired assassin called Kaine, flubs a job when he learns of the Scarlet Spider’s fight with Venom and instead kills his clients before leaving, but not before scarring one with raised veiny marks on his face.
Ken Ellis arrives at the clinic, missing Ben by seconds, but the symbiote creature is on the roof waitingfor him and he really doesn’t have time for this and goes to leave. In a tantrum, she destroys part of the roof, which Ben has to stop the falling pieces from hitting someone. This being another way of beating the whole ‘power and responsibility lesson’ over Ben’s head, he goes home and starts working on stuff to help stop Venom and the other one, blowing off Gabrielle, when she pops by to check in on him.
Armed and ready he goes after the symbiote creature, who is now under attack by Venom, who has spent the issue looking for the Parker family, with Mary Jane out of town, Peter out his mind and May in hospital, he finds no-one, so by the end of the issue is pretty wound up and takes it out on the other symbiote. He’s about to tear the symbiote from it’s female host, when he is attacked by a gooey ball, which becomes webbing that wraps around his head, buying enough time for the Scarlet Spider to arrive and point out to Venom that he’s seen nothing yet.
Notes: We get it, despite being a reluctant super-hero, Ben is just as affected by Uncle Ben’s death as Peter is, we don’t need that to be pointed out every issue.
Okay, now that is out of my system, this isn’t a bad issue at all. The real effects of the fight with Venom are good to see, with a severe injury that won’t just be written off as someone he can heal from give enough time. He’s calling for help and although not who he calls, gets it off a neighbour. We get a look at Venom’s search for the Parker family as parallel to his search for identity, his anger at the symbiote creature and Ben stemming from their less that original status. Kind of ironic for a character who’s entire schtick is wearing Spider-Man’s second hand under-crackers. The thing I like about this story is that everyone wants something, no two people want the same thing and they are all linked to one another because of it.
We get some new characters, Gabrielle Greer, a neighbour of Ben’s, no idea whether she’ll be sticking around and also Kaine. Kaine, the scar tissue of the Clone saga, so you know it occurred even years later. He will go on to play a bigger and bigger role in things as this saga rolls on and that’s both good and bad.
There’s not a lot going on here and it is very much a middle chapter, setting up what should be an exciting finale, but there’s enough here to make me glad to have read this issue.
Writing: 3/5 There’s nothing to exciting going on, but Kavanagh does well with what little he’s been given.
Art: 4/5 Butler’s style is on the moderate end of extreme and his Venom is a particular highlight for me.
Overall: 7/10 Another solid chapter in the unfolded story of the Scarlet Spider and it’s an issue that made me glad I was doing this Clone Saga readthrough.
Next Time: A classic Daredevil/Spider-Man team up, though neither will admit it.