After capturing dozens of animal-themed villains and imprisoning them in Central Park for a bunch of game hunters to track down, Kraven is finally ready to enter the fray. He’s watched this chaos unfold for some time as his greatest foe wriggles in the center. He wants to push Spider-Man past the breaking point. Then and only then will he be ready to face the Hunter.
This sounds pretty intimidating, but it’s also a bit strange. See, Kraven’s plan hinged on the Lizard, who wasn’t even in the Park until very recently. This whole thing started without him, so I have to wonder is Kraven had a backup plan if he couldn’t get Dr. Curt Connors. This throws a major monkey wrench into this scheme, making it feel less planned out and more reactive.
We get a revelation about Connors and his son, Billy. As we saw in his stand-alone issue, the Lizard is dealing with the guilt of having previously killed his family. He doesn’t feel that he’s paid his penance for this heinous act. We got a lot more of the doom and gloom from Connors as he wallows in misery. While he definitely deserves to be punished, I feel that Connors has already started to make amends. He got an incredibly rare second chance and he’s becoming every bit the family man, so maybe don’t be so hard on your scaly self, dude. Writer Nick Spencer lays this on a little thick, making me think the Lizard will sacrifice himself before this is all said and done.
While I’m not that enthused with the meandering storyline in “Hunted” the artwork definitely took an upturn with Gerardo Sandoval taking the reins. I’m not normally a fan of switching artists in mid-flight, but I like Sandoval’s style, particularly in this dreary setting. His inks, aided by Victor Nava bring out some of the more sinister aspects of the story. Since this issue takes a darker turn, it’s a nice fit.
I’m also a huge fan of the battle ravaged Spider-Man costume and Sandoval nails this. You can see the look of terror through the shattered lens of Spider-Man’s mask that really drives home just how desperate he is in the middle of the fight. Additionally, Sandoval adjusts the eye shapes of the mask based on Peter’s emotions and reactions, which is something I don’t see used as much anymore. This adds so much context to the story and is always a welcome sight.
Colorists Edgar Delgado & Erick Arciniega add to the foreboding nature of Amazing Spider-Man #21. There’s one panel in particular that looks absolutely terrifying. Peter is lying battered and bloodied. The mix of dark reds and blacks accentuates the dire situation he’s in. I’m sure some of that is someone else’s blood, but there’s a good chance it’s all his.
Amazing Spider-Man #21 has dual narration. One side is from Peter, obviously, but the other is from Kraven. Letterer Joe Caramagna differentiates the two well. I like how Kraven’s stands out in orange boxes and a font that looks like it’s from a typewriter. It’s a nice touch that makes it feel just a little dignified, which contrasts well with this horrific plan playing out.
Kraven’s plan has long been a mystery. As we finish the penultimate issue of “Hunted” I still have no idea how this will play out. If I had to guess, I’m betting Kraven’s looking to square off against his son / clone and not Spider-Man. The wallcrawler might be there to put down Neo-Kraven. At this point though, anything can happen.