Just when I thought “Hunted” was over, an epilogue swoops in to tie up some loose ends and put a cap on the whole thing. Much of this is the logical conclusion to what was put into play during the story arc, but there are a few surprises that will help propel Amazing Spider-Man into the next year. Perhaps the biggest thing to come out of this issue is the origin of the new Kraven. The Hunter has been traded in for a younger model.
This was definitely the obvious path that Kraven’s ruthless clone was going. His story bookends Amazing Spider-Man #23 in a pretty cool way. The opening pages bring him down low as he buries his “father” and grieves while the closing pages rise him up as he officially takes on the mantle of Kraven the Hunter. Although he’s surely going to be a thorn in Spider-Man’s side in the near future, you can’t help but notice how cool this sequence is.
Much of this comes down to Ryan Ottley’s artwork. The first few pages are presented without a single word of dialogue or narration, yet you feel every ounce of the emotion. New Kraven openly weeps before lashing out in a rage. Ottley captures each and every piece of this so no explanation is needed. The mirrored pages at the end are captioned by excerpts from OG Kraven’s suicide note to his “son” which create a poignant. He may have lost a father, but he gained so much. It doesn’t wash away the sadness, however it does give him purpose.
Old Kraven’s words are shown like snippets from a hand-written letter. Letterer Joe Caramagna makes the caption boxes look like they were torn out of a notebook. It’s a personal touch that helps to amplify the connection between father and son.
You have to admire the level of detail in the artwork. Inker Cliff Rathburn brings out the best in Ottley’s pencils. You get an instant sense of the raw power in New Kraven. He’s been held in check for this long and has finally been set free, both emotionally and physically. He’s set up to be a major villain.
Most of the other elements, like Vulture’s rise to power, Lizard’s dance with the monster, and the clean up of Central Park were already implied with the last issue so we didn’t really need these scenes. They’re nice to have, but redundant. The other standout scene aside from the rise of New Kraven is Peter’s rush back home, terrified that something has happened to Mary Jane.
Since this volume of Amazing Spider-Man began, the rekindled relationship between Peter and MJ has been a driving force. Writer Nick Spencer continues to make this a foundation of the series. This is solidified based on Peter’s actions here. He was deathly afraid that the visions he saw while under the influence of Kraven’s poisons were real and that shook him to the core. Flashes of these visions are shown as he rushes to her side. Colorist Nathan Fairbairn shows these in a violent red, reinforcing the terror coursing through Spidey’s veins.
The mysterious centipede mummy villain that’s been pulling strings in the shadows since this series began makes his presence felt to us, but not to Spider-Man just yet. There are definitely big things coming for this guy and I’m anxious to see what he has in store for the wall-crawler.
“Hunted” dragged on a bit, but we did get some pretty cool elements out of it. Now that the storyline has been firmly put to bed, I’m excited to see where the creative team takes Amazing Spider-Man. On the one hand, Peter Parker is finally getting his personal life in order, but on the other, his time as a costumed super hero is only going to get more hectic. Through it all, he finds the strength to soldier on and that’s what makes him such a great character.