Writer: Nick Spencer
Art Team: Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado, Erick Arciniega, VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: March 27, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99
The Amazing Spider-Man is a couple issues into this Hunted story line, that so far has been a bit disjointed in regards to an actual focus, meanwhile issues continue to be added to the story as its now being extended to issue #23, all clear signs to me somethings not quite right, or has been changed, since its initial conception. With six issues still in the pipeline hopefully the creative team can course correct here and get things back on track. Lets find out and discuss if that starts here with issue #18.
The issue begins with a mysterious narrator speaking over a scene of a spider attacking a centipede, carrying into Spider-Man and the entire crew of animal villains running for their lives, in the bubble they find themselves entrapped around Central Park, as Kraven-Bots run around trying to kill them. There is some brief recapping inter-cut with this first act if you’re just jumping on here, catching everyone up, to how we got to where we currently are. It’s squeezed into individual panels, so doesn’t hinder forward momentum to much, making me more ok with it than usual. However I still don’t think recap of recent events needs to occur every single issue, and I personally find it to be a huge crutch used by writers too often in comics lately, this series especially.
From here its revealed how Arcade is involved in this entire plan if you were at all curious or couldn’t infer from previous story beats in this story line or series. See Arcade was hired to create a V.R. experience for these ‘hunters’, to use the Kraven-Bots he’s developed, to hunt the villains captured within the dome. We get a quick display of how this all works currently, but really as I mentioned previously this could all be inferred from what we’ve been given in this series so far. At this point in this event it just feels like superfluous buildup, more a way to fill page space while not accomplishing a whole lot, other than meaningless character deaths. Nick Spencer has to find a happy medium between telling his story and letting the art do some of the work for him. He continues to insist on revealing every little detail, even when the time has well past gone when it would be necessary to tell his story, holding back progress he should be making. Its becoming an infuriating habit he’s picked up and uses ad nauseum here in the Amazing Spider-Man.
We know Kraven isn’t necessarily a tech guy, as soon as we saw Arcade involved in this scheme overall obviously we could assume he’s developed these robots to hunt these villains for the ‘hunters’, right? So why do we have to spend 6 pages here going over this concept and how it all works, just to reveal this is how the ‘hunting’ will occur? The scene removes Spider-Man from the story, it removes Kraven from the story, all to put a huge emphasis on Arcade this issue, who was in previous Spider-Man issues doing the same thing, continuing to muddle the focus of this story as a whole. It’s like the creative team assumes people jump on and off this series constantly, or they don’t trust them to remember beats that happened in previous arcs.
The issue begins to wind down by featuring a chase scene towards the end which only seems to serve as a too neat setup for the upcoming tie-in issue (#18.HU guest starring the Gibbon). Then we move to another cliffhanger featuring Mary Jane, which hearkens back to something I’ve been begging for more info about, however only frustrates me. It just another scene in the series playing the same cards again. Kraven or this mystery character have ended almost every issue of this series just standing there and I cant take it anymore, mix it up!
Overall, the Hunted continues to be a frustrating, muddled affair, that thus far refuses to have any sort of focus but hey at least Ramos art gives you something fun to look at. The villain this entire story is centered around is barely mentioned here, while also failing to make an appearance, moving aside for Arcade to take the spotlight. Meanwhile, Nick Spencer chooses to setup his next story instead of deal with his current ‘event’ and personally I dont blame him too much because so far the Hunted is a dud.