“Hunted” has begun. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #17 finally set off the powder keg writer Nick Spencer had been futzing with for months. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 takes things a step further, with Spidey and the large cadre of villains trapped in Central Park tackling the threat of the robo-Kraven army.

Rather than spend more time inside Kraven’s mind, Spencer instead uses AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 to get across just how hectic this whole situation is. Even the tougher villains involved in this event are sent running thanks to Kraven’s new army. And you’ll be holding back swear words when you realize who else is in play in this already bloody story.

Artist Humberto Ramos and colorist Edgar Delgado are back on the scene for this issue. They display an excellent balance this time around, moving between fast-paced action sequences and calmer, more dramatic moments with ease.

You Can’t Trust Anyone in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 (Except Spidey)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 drops you right into the thick of things. Spidey and the dozens of villains Kraven captured are on the run from his robot army. Whereas I initially thought it was all his new fans in armor, however, it turns out it’s something not too far off.

All of Kraven’s new rich “friends” are controlling these robots through enhanced VR technology. It’s rather hysterical to see Arcade selling all these people on the prospect of upgrading and outfitting their robots, too. One of these “hunters,” Bob, gets his first taste as a robotic hunter, and completely decimates the villain called Iguana. I hope there aren’t any Iguana fans in the audience, because he’s pretty dead now.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 page 12. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

While Spidey does his best to avoid the hunters, some of the other villains, like Rhino and a few Serpent Society members, are all getting their asses handed to them. Spidey tries to help out Gibbon, but Vulture wins him over — only to betray him down the line. Speaking of betrayal, Taskmaster completely backstabs Black Ant, leaving him at the mercy of the hunt. Clearly, no one is safe.

To top it all off, MJ is also starting to play a small part in this story. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #17 already teased something coming her way, and now things are becoming a bit clearer. We see her sitting at home, worrying to herself about whatever trouble Peter could be in. A news story fills her in on exactly what’s going down in Central Park. But with all her worrying, she’s completely unaware of a certain new villain who’s keeping a disgustingly close eye on her.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 Establishes Battle Lines

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 doesn’t delve much further into Kraven’s mentality (he’s not in this issue at all). But, even with that, we still get a good idea of what’s at stake here, at least on the surface. This is a live or die situation Spidey and the villains find themselves in. We’re still left guessing what Kraven’s endgame is, but I’m okay to wait for those answers a little while longer.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 acts more as a means to highlight just how chaotic everything is. It drives homes the fact that all the Marvel villains, even though they might be on the “same side,” really don’t like each other. They’re all fairly scummy people. But even still, you can’t help but feel (sort of) bad for them trapped in this scenario. Although, I really have to question why Gibbon would trust Vulture over Spidey. Like, come on, man.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 page 18. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

More importantly, Spencer uses AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 to tease something that perhaps goes beyond the confines of the “Hunted” arc. The things he’s teasing with MJ are starting to worry me. I don’t know how pleased I am to see a certain other villain has found his way into this arc, but it does make sense. Spencer has established some incredible suspense, and I applaud him for that.

Also, call me crazy for inserting symbolism where there may very well be none, but I’m pretty sure AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 is satirizing video game micro-transactions. Just going to leave you with that thought.

No Need to Hunt for Good Art

Ramos and Delgado have no trouble keeping up their good work in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18. Page one had me immediately hooked with some clever insect imagery. The initial pages beyond that don’t disappoint, either. There aren’t really any outwardly disappointing pages in this issue.

However, this is far from Ramos’ best. At the start, some anatomy hiccups are easy to spot, especially with Spidey. The Kraven robots look a little clunky in a few places, too. However, even though the bots look fairly silly, Ramos still manages to make them look remarkably intimidating for the most part. It sort of depends on the scene the bots are in. If it’s a more light-hearted moment when the people operating the bots are interacting, they seem silly. If you’ve got one bludgeoning Iguana to death, they look pretty fearsome.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18

It’s worth noting the great consistency in character animation and expressions. Not once did I feel there were any unwarranted facial designs, which can sometimes slip into Ramos’ pages. Although, I should also note the slight lazy eye MJ appears to have on one page. I hate when those pop up. This one’s not bad, but you’ll definitely know when you see it.

Overall, Ramos’ pages are highly consistent. Coupled with Delgado’s pinpoint colors, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 certainly has more to enjoy than get upset over, artistically speaking.

Everyone’s in Trouble Now

Spidey has every right to be afraid for himself, for the villains, and for MJ. Fear seems abundantly appropriate at this time. Pete might think his problems end once he somehow finds his way out of Central Park and beats Kraven, but that is far from the truth. The ending of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 just might leave you screaming. I had to suppress some outcries of my own, for sure.

In the end, though, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 is a sharply-made continuation of the tense “Hunted” arc. Spencer continues delivering more pulse-pounding moments, and Ramos and Delgado have no problem capturing every bit of the action in beautiful detail.

There’s no telling what might happen next. Between Spidey being trapped with no idea of how to handle the situation, and MJ now certainly in danger, something’s got to give sooner rather than later.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 by Nick Spencer, Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado, and Victor Olazaba
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 brings even more tension and suspense into a story already filled with the stuff. Spencer knows exactly how to keep you on your toes. And Ramos and Delgado deliver the quality pages you should expect from them.
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