Amazing Spider-Man #16 Review

Writer: Nick Spencer
Art Team: Ryan Ottley, Alberto Alburquerque, Cliff Rathburn, Laura Martin, Brian Reber, Carlos Lopez
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: February 27, 2019

The Amazing Spider-Man, under the pen of Nick Spencer, has hit a rough patch lately.  Sure there have been some arc’s of this relaunch that I have enjoyed, but they have come too few and far between, and even the art has begun to follow suit lately, dropping in quality as the book continues to shuffle through artists like they’re being picked off a Marry-Go-Round running in the Marvel offices. With the long-teased Kraven, among others, finally stepping to the forefront, does the series once again find solid footing? Let’s discuss.

Strap yourselves in at the start here everyone, because once again Nick Spencer is here to recap the past of Spider-Man’s enemies, this time as Kraven takes the spotlight away from the title character, for almost the entirety of this oversized issue.  Quick rant here … I have no problem with recapping a series, a character, or past events quickly but when pages and pages of an issue, you’re charging me $4.99 for, are spent on past events, to eventually only get me to last issues cliffhanger I have a problem.

It feels like this book for some time now is only written for NEW Spider-Man fans. So much time is spent with Spencer constantly bringing up or tweaking Spider-Man’s past, it’s starting to prevent this series from ever moving forward, and I’ve grown tired of reading about things I already have knowledge of.  Wiki’s and the Internet exist, comic writers, the fact creative teams continue to insult their dwindling paying customer’s knowledge of events, by repeatedly recovering the past to fill page space, has grown increasingly tiresome to me. You have a recap page listed with the creative team on each Marvel title, use it or get rid of it, stop wasting page space to tell me what we know already or should at least infer.

So yes, we cover every tiring aspect of Kraven in this issue. We obviously start with his past, move to his resurrection, then to what he did after he was brought back from the dead (hint: its a Spider-Man story so it involves clones and then Kraven being a scumbag), to where that has brought him now, which is capturing a bunch of animal-related Spider-Man villains so he can conduct a ‘Grand Hunt’.  Yes, Kraven’s plan is seeming to collect money so other people can hunt down these Spider-Man villains, instead of poaching and wrecking nature, taking what isn’t there’s to take.  Oh and Kraven wants to teach all these poser animal villains a lesson in the process as well.  I wish there was more to this but there isn’t, just another Kraven plan doomed to fail, albeit with a tiny twist and some tie-ins this time.

From there we move on to the two back-up stories where we witness the Lizard’s son predictably be looked at as a monster by his mystery texter who invited him out. He’s then quickly captured to be taken to the Grand Hunt himself.  Then its finally off to peek at Peter as we learn he is seemingly deathly sick with the flu and somehow Black Ant and Taskmaster seem responsible. Peter being who he still suits up when trouble calls, able to arrive just in time to witness Lizard boy be taken by the evil duo that never stops working, before picking up hints things are going wrong from Black Cat, as the issue concludes.

Overall, Amazing Spider-Man continues to take its ever-loving time setting up Kraven the Hunter, ultimately getting us to the point we were at last issue, albeit with a few more details, but for $4.99 (basically standard Marvel pricing at this point) I want this Spider-Man story to actually progress … silly right! We’re sixteen issues into a series and what has Spider-Man done so far that hasn’t been done before in previous reboots? I think the answer is he has roommates we NEVER see. It’s great Nick Spencer is a writer who knows Spider-Man’s past, but uses it in a meaningful way, doesn’t just recap past events over and over. Get some fresh ideas in this title, the Centipede villain is intriguing, but we don’t have time for that when there’s more recap to cover.  Sure Spider-Man being rich didn’t work out perfect, but at least it lent itself to being open to new ideas, this title just has a been there done that feeling I can’t shake lately, and it’s making it grow very stale.

Final Thoughts:

If you’re brand new to the Amazing Spider-Man title the amount of recap Nick Spencer does each issue might be appealing, but it does nothing for me besides recap things I know or have already read, taking up space that could be used to make things fresh again … this is the Fresh Start Spider-Man after all. Ottley returns for some of the art duties here, and he was sorely missed, but overall this title does nothing to make me want to invest in the tie-ins and my excitement for Kraven’s return has now passed after seeing his plan for a Grand Hunt already being spread thin.


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