Hunted got off to a hot start with everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for Spider-Man. Kraven has put the world against Spider-Man. That includes the characters that are also being hunted by Kraven’s gang all hate Spider-Man since they are mostly his villains. While ‘Hunted’ had a good start Amazing Spider-Man #18 showed some of the weakness of this arc being Nick Spencer possibly stretching the attention of this story thing. There are a lot of characters outside of Spider-Man, Black Cat and Kraven getting attention. With the story likely only getting bigger Spencer will need to keep the focus tight to make sure things don’t get to out of control for the story’s structure. Now let’s find out how things turn out with Amazing Spider-Man #19.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval
Colorist: Edgar Delgado and Erick Arciniega
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At the prison cells Black Cat tries to calm Billy Connors down. She decides to get the attention of one of the guards to escape.
In Kraven’s mansion his son wonders why his dad would let a bunch of rich people use Hunter robots to conduct the hunt they should be on together. Kraven states that it is not time yet for them to show what they are capable of just yet.
In Central Park, Spider-Man finds Gibbon, Mad-Dog, Gazelle, Mandrill and Iguana’s dead bodies on the ground.
Spider-Man’s spider-sense suddenly goes off. A sudden explosion set off by the Hunters sends Spider-Man flying.
With Spider-Man knocked out the three Hunters gathered wonder what they should do when they kill Spider-Man. As they talk Spider-Man learns that the Hunters are all being controlled remotely with VR units. Spider-Man quickly gets back up and webs up the three Hunters.
While swinging away Spider-Man spots what looks to be arrows and follows them. He ends up on a bridge. Below the bridge he finds a bunch of villains gathered together by the Vulture.
Vulture tells everyone about the Hunters that are hunting them down. Vulture then recounts how Gibbon, who the Hunters have killed, bravely fought with him to stop the Hunters, even bringing one of them down. Vulture says that because of Gibbon they were he was able to figure something out about the Hunters. He then states that Gibbon eventually fell.
Spider-Man shows up and calls Vulture out on fabricating the entire story. Vulture shows everyone one of the Hunter’s head to prove his story is true. Spider-Man nervously states they still can’t trust the Vulture.
Rhino speaks up on how funny it is for Spider-Man to talk about trust after he abandoned him to be captured by Taskmaster and Black Ant. Rhino grabs Spider-Man and attempts to kill him.
Vulture stops the Rhino before he kills Spider-Man. Vulture states that while Spider-Man won’t fight that the rest of them must all fight together. All the villains join Vulture’s fight.
At the prison cells Black Cat tries to convince the guard that Billy is cold. When the guard doesn’t buy it Black Cat decides to explain her bad luck powers. She activates her bad luck powers on the guard. Suddenly a leopard attacks the guard out of nowhere.
Black Cat uses this as an opportunity to escape. Billy hesitates to join Black Cat, believing his dad will save him. Black Cat tells Billy that with the situation they are in he must protect learn to protect himself.
In the sewers Taskmaster brings Arcade the Lizard, who he just captured to add to Kraven’s hunt.
Back in Central Park Spider-Man swings off on his own. While swinging he thinks about everyone that is trapped with him, like Black Cat and Billy, and his visions of MJ being in trouble.
One of the Hunters come out of the woods. Spider-Man immediately reacts by knocking the Hunter down and starts beating it down.
Black Ant suddenly shows up to stop Spider-Man from completely destroying the Hunter robot. Black Ant offers to tell Spider-Man about what is really going on in Kraven’s hunt. End of issue.
The Good: With all the set up out of the way for “Hunted” Nick Spencer was able to dive in deeper into the various sides of this conflict with Amazing Spider-Man #19. This issue gave us a good idea that this story isn’t just about Spider-Man and Kraven. There are a number of characters that are not just here to be in the background of this conflict between two long-time rivals. Establishing that makes the entire story in “Hunted” better.
Keeping Kraven and his son on the sidelines continues to be the right play. Spencer is treating these two characters as the endgame for where Spider-Man needs to get to. There is no reason for them to be active players at the moment since there are so many others involved, thanks to how Kraven set things up.
The conversation between Kraven and his son also sets up what the pecking order for these two are when Spider-Man finally reaches them. Kraven’s son is the mini-boss that Spider-Man must overcome before he gets to Kraven. Setting up how impatient Kraven’s son is provides the character with an added depth he did not have before. It is the character’s weakness that Spider-Man can possibly exploit. Which is something that is needed with how Kraven’s son dominated Spider-Man in their first fight.
For Kraven himself, the conversation he had with his son showed how patient he is willing to be with what he set into motion for “Hunted.” He put too much time and effort into planning his latest, hunt with Spider-Man at the center, to blow everything up by getting involved immediately. Having this patience allows him to see if Spider-Man is the worthy challenge he believes him to be. If he survives all of this Spider-Man will be an even bigger trophy for Kraven to claim once they finally clash.
All this in perspective makes what Spider-Man has to overcome just to get to Kraven. Throughout Amazing Spider-Man #17 Spencer does a great job in showing how Spider-Man is stuck in this hunting ground within Central Park alone. There is no one to watch his back at the moment. What’s worse for him is that everyone involved hates his guts. That became an even bigger reality for Spider-Man when he saw how everyone sided with Vulture and did not even care for what he was saying.
And with just about everyone that is stuck in the hunting grounds with Spider-Man being part of his Rogues Gallery there is no way they should side with him. If they even gave Spider-Man’s words a second thought the reality that Spencer created for this story would break. Having them all follow Vulture instead further emphasized that these villains are only looking out for themselves and not looking to be the heroes.
This was best seen with how “Hunted” pushed Rhino back into being an antagonist. After how Spider-Man was forced to let Taskmaster and Black Ant capture him, Rhino has put our hero in his official shit list. Rhino nearly killing Spider-Man at first sight established an interesting sub-plot that could be turned into something bigger down the line after Spencer wraps up “Hunted.”
Through all of this Spencer was able to give Vulture some much needed character development. Vulture has always been one of the best villains in Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery. But far too often writers have used him as a minor villain that Spider-Man fights between major storylines. Spencer using him in a way that highlights how much charisma he has it. Positioning Vulture in this way makes him into a dangerous wild card that both Spider-Man and Kraven have to take into account as “Hunted” progresses.
On a similar note, the other big wild card for “Hunted” is Black Cat. Now that she was able to make her escape with Billy Connors there is no telling how Spencer plans on using her in this story. What will be interesting to see is if Black Cat’s wild card status was something that Kraven anticipated. Afterall, as Black Cat said, she is someone that has learned to survive on her own. That means being locked up in a cage was nothing to her. Kraven must know this which further makes you wonder how Black Cat will factor into the story.
That question is made even bigger with the fact that she has Billy Connors to protect. Now with his father, the Lizard, brought into the equation Black Cat has a lot of things to worry for herself. And if Spencer plans on showing us the Lizard from the “Shed” arc than things will only get more dangerous.
The ending for Amazing Spider-Man #19 was also nicely built around Black Ant. After getting screwed over by Taskmaster in the last issue Black Ant has a lot of motivation to get revenge. Not only on Taskmaster but Arcade and Kraven as well. How this team-up between Spider-Man and Black Ant goes could lead to some fun interactions as the story progress.
This team-up can also elevate the sub-plot involving the Kraven Hunter robots. Up until now it has been all a big game for the rich people who have been piloting these Hunter robots. There is nothing at stake for them at this point, They’ve just been having fun hunting Spider-Man and the various animal inspired villains. That can all change with whatever Black Ant reveals. It would not be surprising if there is some deadly feedback that Arcade and Kraven are hiding from all the rich pilots of the Hunter robots.
Gerardo Sandoval did a good job filling in for Humberto Ramos in Amazing Spider-Man #19. Sandoval did enough to make sure his style matched the way Ramos drew all the characters involved. At the same time, Sandoval stood out enough to show make Amazing Spider-Man #19 distinctly his own. He kept the issue moving forward as Spider-Man got deeper and deeper into what is going on with “Hunted.”
The Bad: As has been the case since Spencer started his run on Amazing Spider-Man, the one downside of this issue was the sub-plot involving The Other like creature. This creature still is drifting without having actual development that compels the reader to want to learn more about who this thing is. And given how Spencer continues to build this creature as and end boss-like villain for Spider-Man it has yet to catch on.
Having the creature go after MJ does nothing to make it a more interesting villain. It actually does the opposite since it has been a well worn plotline for one of Spider-Man’s villains to go after one of the special people in Peter Parker’s life. This creature is just copying what other villains have done in the past. Which further makes it a villain that lacks anything unique or compelling outside its creepy design.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #19 does a great job moving the “Hunted” storyline forward. Nick Spencer gives a number of characters, including Spider-Man, Black Cat, Kraven and Vulture, time to develop within the “Hunted” story. Given where all the chess pieces landed by the end of Amazing Spider-Man #19 things should only get more intriguing from here.
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