Writer: Nick Spencer
Art: Gerardo Sandoval, Victor Nava, Edgar Delgado, Erick Arciniega, and VC’s Joe Caramagna
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!!!!
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…
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?
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.