The Amazing Spider-Man #18
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorists: Edgar Delgado & Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado
Variant Cover Artists: Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho; Ivan Shavrin
The Amazing Spider-Man is written by Nick Spencer, with art from Humberto Ramos, and follows the continuing adventures of everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Peter and MJ are both trapped in completely different, yet similar ways. While Peter’s stuck in a cage in Central Park being hunted down with a bunch of animal-themed villains, MJ’s confined to her apartment, with nothing to do except listen to music to drown out her fears. One thing’s for certain, however: they’re both in danger, and neither of them might be able to save the other. As Kraven’s army of hunters closes in on their prey, can Peter rally up his foes to work together? And what exactly is MJ in danger of?
While I thought the first part of the Hunted event was good, albeit somewhat alluding to just be a remake of Kraven’s Last Hunt, this issue definitely kicked things up a few notches, and brought in a solid amount of personal stakes beyond Black Cat and Billy Connors.
Once again, Humberto Ramos knocks it out of the park, and to give credit where it’s absolutely due, the art is only enhanced and perfected by Victor Olazaba’s inking and the coloring talents of Edgar Delgado and Erick Arciniega. The splash page of all the characters being hunted near the beginning, as well as the last haunting page, are all beautifully done by these four artists and I can’t wait to see what else they do in the coming issues.
I absolutely loved the parallels between Peter and MJ in this issue, and I think the writing of their characters has been Spencer’s biggest strength of his run since last year. They’re both very, very different people with two different worlds of their own, and yet always find a way to make it work because they love each other. They may have completely different struggles, but nothing can keep them apart forever.
Seeing the development of the story itself was great, too, especially seeing some of the villains do whatever it takes to survive. The hunters themselves, on the other hand, just come across as very weak archetypes. What started as an attempt at commentary on big game hunters feels like it’s become a cheap and lazy attempt at…something. Whether it’s comedy or disgust, I can’t really tell due to the dialogue, and more and more it feels like a missed opportunity to have all of Kraven’s sons be the hunters instead. I’ll reserve my full judgment until the story concludes, of course, but at the moment it feels like a waste.
Overall, Hunted is shaping up to be a much better story than I initially thought it would be, especially since I was worried about the delays of Spencer’s own original story he had mapped out. There’s lots of exciting action, great character moments, and brilliant story development. All you gotta do is get past the walking cliches playing the villains and you’re good to go. And especially after this issue’s cliffhanger, I’m willing to bet the rest of the story shouldn’t be missed at all.