The Amazing Spider-Man #21 Review

Writer: Nick Spencer

Art: Gerardo Sandoval, Victor Nava, Edgar Delgado, Erick Arciniega, and VC’s Joe Caramagna

Price: $3.99

Release Date: May 15th, 2019

Spider-Man takes on half a dozen Vermin, buddies up with Doc Connors, and possibly kills a good friend all in this week’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #21 by Nick Spencer. Let’s swing into the issue!

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

SUMMARY

Nick Spencer opens the issue with Spider-Man getting eaten alive by over a half dozen Vermin, which was an amazing splash page, and Kraven shedding a tear from his window. Lucky for our favorite Spider, Kraven shoots some type of sonic gun at the multiple Vermin stopping them dead in their tracks before Peter would have been completely devoured.

After saving Spidey’s life, Kraven uses his herbs and potions to heal Spider-Man, gives him a brand new black suit, and throws him in a cell with Doctor Curt Connors. Spider-Man and Doc Connors realize that the only means of escape would be for Peter to rip out Curt’s inhibitor so that he would be permitted to let loose as the Lizard and free them both from their cell. So, the issue ends with Spider-Man ripping out the inhibitor and the Lizard laying on the floor in a pool of his own blood while Young Kraven is about to kill Black Cat and Curt Connors’ son stuck out in the hunt.

TOO MANY QUESTIONS

This reviewer left the issue even more lost than when it began. For example, at the beginning of the issue, why is Kraven crying? Did Spencer lay something out that readers are supposed to know? Are those tears of joy or sadness? In addition, Kraven spares Spidey’s life, which “I think” is meant to toughen up Spider-Man to be a better Avatar of the Spider… again ”I think”. But, was that the entire purpose behind this hunt? Really? Kraven’s entire plan was to make Spider-Man better? This just seems hard for this reviewer to buy.

In addition, why did fans need wasted pages of white to show that Spider-Man almost died? This reviewer gets the dramatic and artistic meaning but an entire page and a half were wasted in the issue that could have been used towards the story in a more strategic and explanatory way. Furthermore, when Spidey wakes up, why is Kraven so angry at him? Kraven seems out of control and frustrated at the web-slinger… but why? Is it because Kraven feels like he should be the Spider Avatar? And if that’s the true reason behind this entire set up and hunt, Spencer could have spelled that out issues ago. The motive just doesn’t make sense.

TOO MANY PLOT HOLES

Something that jumped out at this reviewer instantly was the purpose behind letting Vermin practically kill Spidey in the first place. Why did Kraven heal Spider-Man and how did his herbs and potions work so quickly? What was the point of this? The only idea that popped into this reviewers mind is that Kraven wants to be the new Spider Avatar and needs to defeat Spidey at his prime. But if that’s required, Spencer needs to tell readers this. There just appears to be too many plot holes, changes in direction, and changes in tone from the start of this arc to now. For example, instead of explaining the reason for the hunt, we get information about Doctor Connors and his son. Why did Spencer head down this path about Curt Connors’ son? It seems out of the blue and not important to the overall story.

Furthermore, at the end of the issue, Kraven says “what will you do then, faced with this choice? Will you listen to the man inside you?… or will you do what you must… will you show your strength?” The dialogue totally confused this reviewer. Is Spencer now saying that this hunt was all a set up for Spider-Man to be a better hero? And if so, what does that have to do with everyone else on the hunt? Kraven later says “you’ve passed the test… now you are ready to face the hunter.” Excuse me? Was this all just a test to make Spider-Man better so he could fight you? If I’m not mistaken, hasn’t he already beaten you tons of times before? Why would he need to get better in order to beat you now? This issue doesn’t make any sense.

TOO MANY DIRECTIONS

It appears that the purpose and direction of this event were not completely thought out before it kicked off. When the hunt began, I assumed it was Kraven finally getting his revenge on the Spider once and for all. Spider-Man would have to fight all his greatest foes at once, kind of like a Sinister Six-ish idea with Kraven as the leader. But that didn’t happen. Suddenly, the direction changed to Kraven trying to make money off of the rich and using the disgusting hunters to take out these idiotic, masked villains that give people like Kraven a bad name. But that isn’t what happened either.

Instead, Arcade pulled the old switch-a-roo and gave Vulture a way to destroy the robot hunters and actually kill the rich people attached to them. So, now the series was about killing those who hunt for sport AND killing the masked villains in the process. This would be like a win-win for Kraven. But again, that’s not right either because THIS issue leads us down a different road entirely. Spencer doesn’t even talk about the hunt at all, had Kraven save Spider-Man’s life, and tries to toughen him up by having him rip out Doctor Connors inhibitor so Spidey can make the tough choices and eventually fight Kraven…

WHAT?!?!

This reviewer honestly doesn’t know what is going on. One minute, I think I know the purpose of this hunt and the next it feels like Spencer just takes it down a different direction because he can’t decide what he wants to do. It feels like he had an idea, started writing, but never had an ending planned. And again, Spencer takes time away from the hunt to tell readers that Curt’s son is a clone that somehow actually contains his son’s real soul, which is fine because Doc Connors talked it out with Doctor Strange. Honestly, why did readers need this in the middle of the hunt or in this issue at all?

FINAL THOUGHTS

After changing directions numerous times, Spencer has finally settled on the theme of the hunt… kind of. Kraven has been trying to toughen up Spider-Man so they can fight each other… maybe. Point is; this reviewer isn’t sure what the theme of this arc or issue is supposed to be anymore. Maybe I’m an idiot? It really is possible. So, if someone knows, feel free to clue me in.

The plot is not capturing my attention and this reviewer sees too many plot holes with unanswered questions. Spencer is giving answers to questions that no one appears to be interested in and doesn’t take the time to explain what is actually happening within the story itself. This Spider-fan leaves the issue more confused than when he started and totally uninterested in the ending of the arc. When this arc began, it felt like it had purpose and direction. Now, this reviewer couldn’t tell you either.

5.2/10

6 thoughts on “The Amazing Spider-Man #21 Review

  1. I honestly think Hunted will be better read all together than spaced out as it is now. I’ve been loving it, but I’m constantly going back and re-reading the previous parts to keep it all fresh in my memory.

    “For example, at the beginning of the issue, why is Kraven crying? Did Spencer lay something out that readers are supposed to know?”

    Yes. In issues 16 and 17. Kraven doesn’t want to live. He killed himself in “Kraven’s Last Hunt” in the eighties and was brought back by his family using dark magic and sacrificing Peter’s clone(who the family thought was the actual Peter at the time). This happened nine years ago. Now, Kraven is immortal and can’t be killed by any means except by Spider-Man because of the sacrifice using Peter’s essence and all that hooey. Kraven was crying because even after everything he’s put him through so far, Peter was still holding back against the Vermins. Not trying to kill them. Which meant he still wasn’t in the mindset needed to release Kraven from his suffering.

    “In addition, Kraven spares Spidey’s life, which “I think” is meant to toughen up Spider-Man to be a better Avatar of the Spider… again ”I think”. But, was that the entire purpose behind this hunt? Really? Kraven’s entire plan was to make Spider-Man better? This just seems hard for this reviewer to buy.”

    Kraven needs Spider-Man to kill him. Plus, Kraven hasn’t held any ill will towards Spider-Man since the end of Kraven’s Last Hunt. If anything, Kraven really appreciated what a good man Peter was by the end of that story. Kraven has multiple plans regarding this hunt. Spider-Man is a big part of it, yes, but in issue 16 he tells his clone son that he wants him to leave a legacy which ties into the rich hunters who kept on killing animals in cruel ways in his territories in Africa. Even though he hates those guys, I think he wants to see who among that group will survive by the end of the night. No doubt in Kraven’s eyes those would be true hunters!

    “In addition, why did fans need wasted pages of white to show that Spider-Man almost died? This reviewer gets the dramatic and artistic meaning but an entire page and a half were wasted in the issue that could have been used towards the story in a more strategic and explanatory way. Furthermore, when Spidey wakes up, why is Kraven so angry at him? Kraven seems out of control and frustrated at the web-slinger… but why? Is it because Kraven feels like he should be the Spider Avatar? And if that’s the true reason behind this entire set up and hunt, Spencer could have spelled that out issues ago. The motive just doesn’t make sense.”

    Agreed about the white page (though it was a callback to Kraven’s Last Hunt). Kraven’s angry because as mentioned before Spider-Man still isn’t willing to unleash his “true nature buried within.” Which Kraven obviously wants. Also, Spencer did explain it in issue 17. Peter’s just a confused as you are though and no doubt all will be revealed in the final part.

    In regards, to the plot hole stuff you list, most of it was explained. The stuff with Curt Connors was the best part of the issue and it’s been set-up many issues before this. It’s not out of nowhere. It also ties into a big theme about “inner nature” and “beasts within us” which ties into why the rich hunters do what they do and Kraven trying to ignite that more in these goofy animal super villains. Connors has a literal beast inside him! One that cost him his son in his darkest hour. Connors resorted to the inhibitor chip to control the Lizard making it incapable of harming another. Kraven’s clone son laughed at that in issue 20. Insulting Connors for suppressing the natural instincts of the Lizard. My theory (again just a theory). Kraven wants to teach everyone under the dome how to be like him. To not just give into the beast and rage inside of all of us, which would only cause random chaos, but to control it and be strategic with it. Only then can you truly be “Hunter” in Kraven’s eyes. Maybe by the end Connors will actually be able to control the Lizard without the chip.

    “Furthermore, at the end of the issue, Kraven says “what will you do then, faced with this choice? Will you listen to the man inside you?… or will you do what you must… will you show your strength?” The dialogue totally confused this reviewer. Is Spencer now saying that this hunt was all a set up for Spider-Man to be a better hero? And if so, what does that have to do with everyone else on the hunt? Kraven later says “you’ve passed the test… now you are ready to face the hunter.” Excuse me? Was this all just a test to make Spider-Man better so he could fight you? If I’m not mistaken, hasn’t he already beaten you tons of times before? Why would he need to get better in order to beat you now? This issue doesn’t make any sense.”

    I suppose going forward he hopes Spider-Man carries these hard choices with him in the future, but as mentioned he wants Spider-Man to understand when things are necessary. In this case he wants Spider-Man to kill him. I have a feeling, Kraven’s going to tell Spider-Man that if he kills him all the insanity and death in Central Park will cease. Maybe the robots will be deactivated. Maybe the force field will lower. Don’t know. Something tells me though Kraven has some extra incentive to tempt Spidey to kill him.

    Again, just a guess on all that other stuff. I know for sure what Kraven wants with Spider-Man. That was made clear at the beginning! I’m curious to see how Spencer can wrap up so many threads in one final issue and an epilogue issue. If he pulls it off though, this will definitely be a classic. You’re not an idiot, it’s a lot to keep track of and as I mentioned earlier, something that will most likely be better enjoyed as a whole story rather than reading it as it comes out. There’s a lot of moving pieces here after all.

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    1. Thank you for the reply. I appreciate the added explanation, especially to the last hunt. If the only way Kraven can die is if Spider-Man kills him AND knowing Spider-Man isn’t willing to kill, it makes more sense with the Lizard scene with the inhibitor AND why he spared his life after the Vermin attack. Again, that helps and connects pieces that were missing. Now, I didn’t get that vibe of Kraven wanting to die in issue 16 and 17… that said… I haven’t read those issues in months and I haven’t reread any issues within the run. Normally, I reread that current issue 3-4 time before reviewing it and for the most part… I don’t go back and reread unless I loved it. In this case, I’m sorry to say I haven’t been digging the run so far. But again, the info is very helpful. So, if you’re right, and he wants to die, that makes sense as well. My only wish is that Spencer could revisit these ideas more frequently. It could really help to read in trade as well. Great point!

      I understand the connection with the beast within idea however, when did Connors take his son to Strange? And, it didn’t seem to flow with the story in my opinion. Instead, those pages could have been used to clue readers in on what you were saying and help refresh our minds, gain a better purpose, and perspective. It just seemed out of place and didn’t jive to me.

      Thanks again for the reply and reading the review. I appreciate it!

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  2. No problem! I’ve got Issue 17 right here. It pretty much started with Kraven trying to channel the energy he once had back in his prime, but he just doesn’t feel it anymore. He compares himself to a ghost and talks about how he hates the modern world and that the old honorable ways were lost. All that stuff from Last Hunt. How he “chose his own end.” How “it was glorious.” Then he talks about his curse. I’ll quote the actual issue: “Now, everything is compromised. I have been returned to a world I do not belong in, cursed to roam endlessly in it’s decaying paths. I hate everything I see. There is no dignity anywhere. The old ways have been lost. I yearn for death. A death that this time cannot be undone. Only the Spider can kill me, the curse said. So I will find a way. There will be peace. (Stares at his own open coffin prepared for him) But not yet (starts tearing up).

    The scene with Strange I guess was to raise the stakes and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it WAS Billy in essence. Not a total copy in every sense. Did feel a little weird that it was put here, I agree. I know this story won’t be to everyone’s liking but I’m hoping the final part will really put all the pieces together in a satisfying way. Guess we’ll find out in two weeks.

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    1. I agree. Overall, I love comics and hope every issue is phenomenal. I hope every arc gets wrapped up well. And I hope Spencer can piece this together.

      Now that you mention that stuff from issue 17 I do recall that happening. The “only the spider can kill me” is pretty straight forward… but forgotten. How are readers supposed to remember if it’s not revisited… especially the Last Hunt items. Everything else Kraven was saying seems vague and cryptic other than the Spider part. It makes sense now putting the pieces together. Thanks for the assist. I appreciate it.

      I’m assuming a fight between Peter and Kraven… honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that Older Kraven dies but younger kraven survives so we still get “kraven”

      The dome stuff just seems and the hunter things just seem more like fluff now after yo helping me connect the dots and make those parts as well as the extra issues seem wasted and less important. I’d rather those issue have been spent more on Kraven and this relationship with Spider-Man. If this is the main point, which it seems like it is, or the main theme, then this should have been more of a focus than the extra fluff, the Vulture stuff, the tie ins, Arcade, the dome… I don’t know.

      Either way, I too hope the ending sticks the landing and I hope it makes sense and is an amazing issue. Thanks for the comments, the chat, and the help. Excited for the reveal of the bandage man in issue 25 too!!!

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      1. No problem. Always love a good discussion. Creepy bandaged centipede man is definitely the most exciting thing about this run. Can’t wait to see what’s going to come of that.

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      2. That definitely is! I can’t wait! And as for comic discussions, I love them! Hit me up on Twitter ANYTIME to talk comics. @dispatchdcu. I’ll definitely follow you back so we can talk! I read a ton. The Weird Science crew loves them to as well as discussing them. We got a pod, Weird Science Marvel Podcast, a DC site and pod as well as Weird Science DC Comics… that pod and site have been going on for YEARS!! We are all in and very welcoming. Thanks for the talk!

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