Even Kraven’s Son Is Frustrated With His Plan In Amazing Spider-Man #20

by James Ferguson

Kraven’s plan continues to slowly play out with dozens of animal-themed villains trapped in Central Park along with Spider-Man and a bunch of Kraven-bots run by rich prize hunters. What is his endgame though? Well, you’ll have to wait on that as he’s pretty tight-lipped about that. In the meantime, the Lizard enters the fray, searching for his son and the wall-crawler gets some help from an unlikely ally.

The frustrations about how slowly “Hunted” is playing out are felt not just by the readers, but the characters themselves. Kraven’s son / clone practically begs him for answers and gets absolutely nothing from him. He questions his father’s actions and how they seem to have everyone right where they want them and yet they’re doing nothing but sitting here and watching.

The Black Ant, now imprisoned with the rest of the animal-themed characters (and really, he should have seen that coming), lets Spidey in on some of the plan in an exposition-heavy discussion. This is an overwritten segment as we could have easily pieced together what was actually happening with the Kraven-bots and their pilots based on their reactions. Instead, writer Nick Spencer has Black Ant go into excruciating detail about how all of this works and it reads like an instruction manual.

This is a bummer because it’s a pretty great, albeit ruthless idea. It kills two birds with one stone in a brilliant twist. This excellent plot point is buried under all that text so it feels more like a history lesson.

There’s a very ominous feel to this chapter as the remaining villains have gathered together for an all-out attack. The shield covering Central Park crackles in the air like a lightning storm. Colorists Edgar Delgado & Erick Arciniega make this setting pop, like a march of death is coming for the Kraven-bots. The fires of the night contrast against the normal interior lighting of where the rich folks are. Up until this point, they thought that was safe, but they quickly learn they were dead wrong.

Artist Humberto Ramos has some great shots in Amazing Spider-Man #20, particularly those with Kraven and his son. Where things fall off a bit are some of the images of the wall-crawler. I noted this in a previous review too and the same can be said here. Spider-Man is often shown in weird proportions, with a bulky, potato-like body and spindly arms and legs. This looks super awkward and gets very distracting every time he appears on the page.

The Lizard’s portion of “Hunted” is pretty tragic as he’s basically serving himself up in an effort to save his son. He’s taking all kinds of punishment just to get close to his boy. Despite his menacing size, he looks humbled and almost subservient. Ramos makes him look every bit the monster. Inker Victor Olazaba brings this out even more by highlighting all of the small scales across the character’s body along with the rows of sharp teeth.

Finally, letterer Joe Caramagna seals the deal with the guttural and horrifying font that evokes such a chilling feeling.  I love how the Lizard says “s-words,” holding on the sound like a hiss.  Caramagna uses different sized fonts for those letters to add to it.

While we do get some progress in “Hunted” with Amazing Spider-Man #20, it comes in a blocky manner which leaves something to be desired. There’s a pretty cool storyline in here, but it’s been stretched out way too long between all the chapters in this series as well as the tie-in issues. I have to wonder how it would have read if it was at least two issues shorter. We saw some great shorter arcs when Amazing Spider-Man restarted, so I’m not sure why it’s meandered within this overly long one here.

Amazing Spider-Man #20 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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