“Hunted” Treads Water In Amazing Spider-Man #19

by James Ferguson

Spider-Man is still trapped in Central Park along with dozens of animal-themed villains, all fleeing for their lives from Kraven-bots manned by rich people. How will the wall-crawler get out of this one? Does hope lie in the wings of the Vulture? Also, how is the Black Cat holding up with the Lizard’s son, Billy?

Hunted” got off to a great start, but we’re at the halfway mark and it feels like it’s stagnated a bit. We still don’t really know what Kraven’s endgame is and judging by the events of Amazing Spider-Man #19, neither does his son / clone. Not much has changed over the last couple issues, aside from reaffirming that the bad guys are bad.

The Vulture takes charge in this issue, effortlessly manipulating everyone around him. We already saw what he did to the Gibbon and now he’s set his sights on bigger allies…or rather cannon fodder, to use to keep himself safe. It’s pretty funny to hear his side of the Gibbon story as he paints himself as this noble hero. It’s like something out of a cheesy movie and yet he has his audience in the palm of his hand.

Artist Gerardo Sandoval packs this issue with all kinds of villains. The one that really stands out is the Rhino. His depiction of the character is massive and so very intimidating. The Rhino is cloaked in shadow, making his presence feel even more monstrous. Yes, at times he can look like a goofball in a big rhino suit, but that’s not the case here.

Shadows are used very well throughout Amazing Spider-Man #19. Colorists Edgar Delgado & Erick Arciniega play up the foreboding nature of the night in every location. That extends to the brief conversation between Kraven and his “son” in the comfort of a posh apartment building. You’d think with all their money they could afford some lights. Instead, it creates a creepy atmosphere as they plot their next moves.

While Spidey struggles in the Park, the Black Cat shows off her skills by planning her own escape. Billy has brought out a motherly side of her that she didn’t know she had, forcing her to go against her base instincts. Instead of just saving herself, she’s looking out for the kid. It’s not perfect as she’s probably traumatizing him a little, but it’s better than the alternative.

Although Billy is in some cases a literal definition of a monster, he’s still just a little kid. Letterer Joe Caramagna shows this perfectly with Billy’s speech, shown in wobbly word balloons filled with a rougher font. You can hear the quiet sound of his voice as he begs and pleads to go home.

While there are some solid character moments in Amazing Spider-Man #19, it feels like it’s treading water. I have to wonder if this storyline couldn’t have been shortened by an issue or two to keep it moving at a brisker pace. Writer Nick Spencer has all the pieces on the board and continues to move them about, but like Kraven, he’s keeping some of this close to the chest.

Amazing Spider-Man #19 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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