Kraven the Hunter has finally revealed his big plan, capturing tons of animal-themed villains and using them as the real most dangerous game. We learned at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #16 that the Black Cat was taken in by Kraven’s henchmen, Taskmaster and Black Ant. How did she come to be in this precarious position? That’s what Amazing Spider-Man #16.HU is all about.
I’m not a fan of these decimal point issues. I think it’s confusing for a number of reasons. That being said, I see how this tale is worth telling and probably wouldn’t do nearly as well as a one-shot, even though it’s tying in to the Hunted storyline. It would also take away some of the momentum from the main storyline.
This issue does a deep dive into the Black Cat’s recent history with Spider-Man, mostly pertaining to their relationship. There’s an added wrinkle to this as Peter Parker made the world forget about his secret identity. All but a select few know who he is under the mask. Felicia Hardy was not one of those chosen. Imagine how that must have made her feel.
Peter recently revealed his identity to her in a moment of trust and the memories are starting to fill in. This is a pretty creepy feeling because there are all these shared times and she’s only just remembering them. It’s a violation of sorts, since these memories were removed or altered without her knowledge or permission. Felicia’s time with Peter wasn’t bad either, so she’s remembering pleasant times. It’s just that they’re tainted by his actions.
Artist Iban Coello weaves us through these memories and the Black Cat’s investigation in the present. The panel layout is pretty impressive as it’s always varied. The flashbacks stand out a great deal as each image is like a piece of a puzzle with the overall image slowly coming into focus over time. This coincides with how the information is coming back to Felicia perfectly.
These glimpses of the past are shaded in a grey / blue hue to differentiate them from the present day sequences. Colorist Edgar Delgado does some great work here, highlighting the fact that these are memories, but also that some of the emotion has been drained from them since Felicia is only just remembering them.
Letterer Joe Caramagna expertly guides us through these sequences. Since the panel layout is a little erratic at times, Felicia’s internal narration serves as a path to focus our eye on the correct sequence, allowing us to soak in each detail.
A great example of Coello, Delgado, and Caramagna working together like a well-oiled machine comes when Felicia is fighting her way through some goons in the present while remembering Peter revealing his identity to her in the past. The panels alternate between the two time periods in this beautiful pattern.
Amazing Spider-Man #16.HU is the first of several “decimal” issues scheduled for the Hunted storyline. If they’re all of this caliber, I will welcome the additional content. It looks like writer Nick Spencer has thought of everything with this arc and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. With someone this close to Peter in the crosshairs, there’s no telling what Spider-Man is going to do. The only outstanding question I have is why Black Ant isn’t one of the animal-themed villains that’s been captured. Shouldn’t he be in there too?