The Amazing Spider-Man #16
Writer: Nick Spencer
Pencilers: Ryan Ottley and Alberto Alburquerque
Inkers: Cliff Rathburn and Albert Alburquerque
Colorists: Laura Martin, Brian Reber, and Carlos Lopez
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Cully Hamner and Justin Ponsor
Variant Cover Artists: Mike Hawthorne and Nathan Fairbairn
The Amazing Spider-Man is written by Nick Spencer, with art from Ryan Ottley, and follows the continuing adventures of everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
On two different sides of the world, two very different men are heading towards a crossroads. One is looking to rebuild his kingdom, while the other is looking to protect the ones he loves, and those paths are about to intersect one another. As the build up to Hunted reaches its peak, Kraven’s plans are set into motion, and the hunt is about to begin. What does he want with all of the animal-themed rogues? And what do his plans mean for Spider-Man and his loved ones?
While the last two issues felt a bit diluted in terms of story and set-up, this one definitely does its job, and does it incredibly well. Everything from the writing, to the characters, to the art is a major step up from the previous two, and once again I’m invested in the story and the Hunted event later this month.
In terms of art, we once again have two very different art styles clashing, but the difference here is that they’re both incredible and used to separate two stories. Ottley handles Kraven’s story while Alburquerque handles Peter’s, and both are absolutely beautiful to look at. I definitely wouldn’t mind Alburquerque and the colorists for this book taking over future issues at some point, as their pages were absolutely gorgeous in my opinion.
As for the story’s development, we finally get insight as to where Kraven’s coming from, and what his plans are exactly. It is pretty much an exposition dump, but one that is enjoyable, and builds up anticipation for the event. On Peter’s end, too, we get an interesting development where he himself is incredibly sick, without knowing how or why. It’s not only intriguing for what his story will be in Hunted, but for what his story will be beyond that in the future.
Kraven, to me, is a hard one to nail down in this issue as a character. His plan makes sense, as well as what he’s been up to, but it feels like there’s two different writers behind the character playing a game of tug-of-war in order to figure out what his motivations are. We get commentary on rich trophy hunters desecrating wildlife (which by the way, is done very well) which indicates that he hates them, but then we get narration about how he hates animal-themed villains for disrespecting nature, and suddenly there’s conflicting. Perhaps it’ll be explained what his true goals are as the event goes on, but for now, it feels like there’s two different ideas for his story that are clashing.
Overall, this issue was a vast improvement from the last two, on every front possible. Character, story, art, writing, all of it is absolutely on point. The only real flaws of this issue is Kraven’s characterization and motivations, as they both feel somewhat muddled. However, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt, as I’m now greatly looking forward to seeing what Spencer and Ramos have in store for Hunted later this month.