The Lizard enters the fray as “Hunted” continues. How did Curt Connors get to this point? Will he be able to save his son, Billy? Has he made up for all the horrible things he’s done as the Lizard? Amazing Spider-Man #19.HU digs into this character and his current state of mind.
Curt Connors is on a path of redemption. He committed unspeakable acts as the Lizard and he feels he can never truly make amends for them. Somehow, he was given a second chance with his family and he’s been desperately trying to keep them together. You can’t help but feel for him, especially since this issue is told from his perspective. He beats himself up and perhaps rightfully. He is a perfect example of how someone can change. Connors has gone to such an extreme as to install an inhibitor chip in his spine to prevent him from showing aggression towards another living thing.
As a character study, Amazing Spider-Man #19.HU is in-depth and interesting. Writer Nick Spencer peppers in some nice tidbits and character moments. As a tie-in to “Hunted” it falls short. This happens to coincide with a stagnation in the main storyline, so I have to wonder if the regular issues of Amazing Spider-Man couldn’t have been a little oversized and have a shortened version of this appear as a back-up story there. The same can be said for these other “HU” issues.
We do get some additional information, such as where Taskmaster went after turning on his buddy, the Black Ant, and how he got his hands on the Lizard as we saw at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #19. While this provides some additional context, it’s not entirely necessary. It’s nice to have, but not required reading.
I do love how artist Chris Bachalo lays out the action sequences. There’s an awesome double page spread with the Lizard trying to subdue another villain without getting violent that’s broken up into over a dozen panels, each one focused on a specific punch, kick, or attack. They’re interspersed with flashbacks to the Lizard’s misdeeds, providing justification for this pain. Does he deserve each hit he’s receiving? Is this his form of penance?
The flashbacks are shown in a light blue shade from colorist Erick Arciniega. This gives them the appearance of a memory, while also washing out some of the emotion. If we saw the blood splatter there, it would be a more brutal image, but the blows are softened by this look. That’s not to discount the Lizard’s acts. It just provides some more context, like he’s already paid for some of this and the violence and pain is starting to fade away.
While I love the layouts, I’m not a huge fan of this design for the Lizard. He’s got a big, bulky head and tiny arms and legs, as if his top half is a dinosaur and the rest of him is a puny human. It makes for some awkward images and gives the Lizard more of a bumpy frog appearance. Letterer Joe Caramagna reminds us that we’re dealing with a monster of sorts with a jagged font and scratchy word balloons. It brings to mind a guttural voice that would shake you to your bones.
I’m not crazy about these extra issues in an ongoing series, but I can be convinced with the right situation. “Hunted” started out with some potential, but has been dragged on too long, both in the main Amazing Spider-Man series and these .HU issues. If there are plans to spin out some of these characters into a different book, that would be one thing, but overall, it feels like some bonus features that didn’t quite make the cut for the main comic. They’re like deleted scenes.
Amazing Spider-Man #19.HU from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.