This issue of Amazing Spider-Man marks the ending of the “Hunted” story arc, and we are dealing with the fallout from Kraven and another of his crazy Hunts. This last Hunt, as organized by Nick Spencer, was quite an epic, especially in the extra .HU issues, but hopefully your stamina has maintained and we are here at the epilogue. So let’s jump into the issue and get our SPOILERS ON!
So the opening pages start with a rainy funeral for Kraven, dressed in the Black Spider-Man costume. Kraven’s son watches the casket be lowered and then buried — he is very solemn, and I’m guessing he must be torn up as he knows he is responsible for the death of his father. He then goes inside and begins to let his rage out by taking on some very fierce looking animal statues, mainly just something to let out his frustration and grief. Ryan Ottley does a great job of making these four pages very expressive because there are no words used; a very silent mourning that is well drawn and speaks for itself.
The story then picks up from where last we saw Spidey, as he is desperately trying to get out of the trap set by Kraven and Arcade. He is racing to get to Mary Jane as he is worried that she might be hurt as he saw in his vision from the previous issue. I do like that we see all the animal-themed villains also have managed to get their freedom and want to escape or cause mayhem. It’s going to be a lot of work, since Spidey doesn’t want to get involved, but that’s okay, as we get to see a larger portion of the Marvel Universe step up to help out…which is always nice to see and remember that there are a lot of heroes living in NY.
A fun moment with Spidey high-tailing it away is Johnny Storm (Human Torch) calling out to Spidey just to wind up sucker punched by Lady Beetle. Luckily the Avengers make quick work and we see Arcade get captured, Captain America makes quick work of the hunters who have been VR hunting, and the Savage Six won’t be going down easily. A thing I like when we have these epic arcs or crossovers is the mixture of characters and new teams that are made; the Savage Six is a great play on the original team and the animal theme looks like it could make them a strong force again. Nick’s favorite duo of Black Ant and Taskmaster get a great moment that screams to who they are — saving and backstabbing each other. So Taskmaster has to save Black Ant from some of the other villains as they are angry at being used in Kraven’s animal zoo; the way the two interact after the save is so fun. This is how great duos get created, just like Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, which would be a nice match-up between universes.
Black Cat makes sure to get Billy Connors back to his mom, but both look to be stuck in their lizard form, which makes for an interesting twist as Curt is shown alone and distraught but in his human form…yet we get the ominous panel of a Lizard’s eye. Along with the other evils out there we can see a couple versions of the enemy Vermin loose in the subway tunnels.
Finally Spidey makes it to the apartment and sees a broken window, and of course Pete thinks the worst. His mind flashes back and forth from the now and to his visions from the previous issue. Once Pete is inside we get to see the horrible scene, broken glass and blood everywhere, even complete with a scream, but the nice twist is…MJ is okay. She is screaming because Pete is in the black suit which is very upsetting to MJ and she just hurt her arm by tripping over Pete’s clothes, which caused her to crash through the window arm first. It’s a very touching moment and nice to see Pete get a happy ending, complete with an MJ kiss. I really do appreciate the small twist and I’m glad that Kraven isn’t a total jerk by attacking a loved one (at least in this arc).
Next page, we see a centipede-like creature crawl in the window and the narration leads us to believe that it’s Kraven. The narration is great, but the last box is very creepy with him talking about Spidey and himself being alone together, since Pete will cause the death/loss of his loved ones. The book then shifts back to Kraven’s son, back at the mansion, and it looks like we are going to see what Kravens do best after a big hunt. Sure enough, he does go for the shotgun, but luckily for him there is a note there. These are the better version of Kraven’s last words from beyond and he tells his son to embrace his birthright by becoming…Kraven. Which he does, by wearing the classic costume. Now this is a part that does trouble me, because it just totally undoes the funeral and death…status quo quickly repaired.
There is a nice page that, thanks to J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck, reminds us to go and read the classic Kraven’s Last Hunt, available at your LCS or other fine bookstores (or Amazon). Here is the best part of the unnecessary funeral: when death comes, it usually brings out all kinds of members of a family, and we get Kraven’s half-brother, the Chameleon. This part was worth it and really does save the issue by reminding us of one of Spidey’s greatest enemies. Now that he is back on our minds I can’t wait to see how he will menace our hero — especially with that monologue hinting at him having some global plans and of course the issue is billed as “to be continued…”
So with this issue we cap off a 12 part story arc, and honestly it just drained me. The extra .HU issues were nice character studies, but with the current price points of Marvel this just makes me want to switch to trade waiting. I found myself coming back to read issues at a later time, as I didn’t feel the need to make time for them when they came out. This epilogue issue was nice and it did have some great moments in building up Pete and MJ, which is nice to see after so long of an absence between the two. Then again, could that be low hanging fruit by teasing fans with showing us something we have been wanting? I hope not, but it is nice to see Pete care about MJ again. I honestly could’ve done without the clone situation for Kraven as now this just doesn’t add to the danger of Kraven dying or being finished off because that was just a clone. I really wish it would’ve been a natural son taking on his legacy.
It was nice to see Pete in a positive light and realize there is more to the man than just the spider. Good to see him get a win instead of losing a loved one or worse. Overall, this issue is worth a read and does wrap things up nicely. So let’s see how things move along for the big 25th issue coming up.