“Hunted” is in full swing, and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 continues to ramp up the stakes. With all the animal-themed villains and Spidey trapped in Central Park, it’s only a matter of time until Kraven’s true intentions come to light. For now, though, the false hunters are allowed to have some fun. Hopefully, amidst the chaos, the hunted characters may learn a thing or two.

Writer Nick Spencer finds a distinct blend of gripping drama and tense action in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19. He works with a handful of interesting angles here, in ways that help propel the story forward. And though the more dramatic aspects definitely overtake the action in this case, it ultimately works to the issue’s advantage.

Apparently, artist Humberto Ramos decided to sit this one out. Instead, Gerardo Sandoval lends his incredibly talented hand to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19. I have no problems with this; Sandoval’s chaotic style perfectly captures all the “Hunted” antics. His pages, combined with Edgar Delgado’s colors, make this one of the sharper issues of the arc, so far.

Spidey is Outnumbered in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 picks up with brief glimpses at Black Cat and Kraven. Felicia finds herself stuck with Billy Connors in the Central Park Zoo, though she quickly formulates a plan to bust their way out. Kraven’s son still seems unsure of his father’s intentions, but I’ve no reason to doubt Kraven; he knows exactly what he’s doing, even though we still don’t.

Meanwhile, Spidey is having the time of his life out in the Park. Between the villains and the Kraven bots, there’s lots for Pete to worry about. After tangling with a few of the hunters, Spidey stumbles upon the large group of villains. Vulture seemingly brought them all together. Toomes spins a false tale involving the Gibbon (who’s very dead now, by the way), and how he managed to find out more about the hunter drones.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 page 4. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Of course, Spidey calls bullshit on Vulture. But, although the villain certainly embellished his story, he does now have new information about the bots. Still, Spidey doesn’t trust him. Rhino isn’t very trusting, either. He’s still pretty pissed with Spidey after AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 (when Pete let him get captured). The villains spare Spider-Man, though, and go on their merry way.

Eventually, Black Cat manages to free herself and Billy. Also, Taskmaster shows back up, now having captured the Lizard, which may seem bad now, but will hopefully be a good thing later down the line (another ally for Spidey, perhaps). And finally, Black Ant, now trapped with the rest of the gang, finds Spidey, and promises to fill him (and, by proxy, us) in on what the hell is going on here.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 Brings Questions to Mind

There’s so much going on, and so much we still don’t know, so it’s somewhat difficult to pinpoint exactly what Spencer’s point is here. But I think, slowly but surely, that idea is coming to light. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 feels like an issue intended to make you question characters’ intentions and loyalties. In fact, that idea pervades “Hunted” so far.

Spencer has crafted a fairly complex story out of something that could very much have been played off as a simple Kraven throwback. There’s an incredible depth to this story I find hard to ignore. Case in point, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19, again, leaves me questioning a lot of things.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 page 14. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Of course, I’m still curious as to what Kraven’s goal really is. You also have to question exactly what the villains may be willing to do to survive this. Where do their individual loyalties lie? Putting stock in Vulture’s words seems like a fairly weak crutch to me. I’m also still scratching my head trying to figure out what the hell is going on with this bandaged villain watching over MJ. Spidey’s visions are a horrific omen, which we’re reminded of briefly here in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19.

With the villains learning some new information, and with Black Ant now in the mix, maybe Spidey and the baddies will finally be able to get a leg up on Kraven. It’s a big maybe, but it’s sort of all the characters have at this point.

Sharp Art for a Sharp Story

Though Humberto Ramos has done a fantastic job thus far bring “Hunted” to life, Gerardo Sandoval steps in for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 with equally impressive results. Sandoval’s sharp, expressive pages work perfectly in tandem with the gripping story Spencer is telling.

My favorite part of Sandoval’s pages are his drawings of Spidey. Sandoval has a great knack for drawing Venom, so the same rules sort of apply to black suit Spidey. His eyes look crazy, and his expressions are always on point. His physicality comes across very well, too.

Sandoval does a great job capturing individual characters, really. Even in big groups, you can distinctly tell who’s who amongst the large cadre of villains. His well-crafted pages work even better when you add in Delgado’s colors, which bring even the darkest of pages to life. The splash page featuring Taskmaster and the Lizard is particularly insane!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 page 20. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Though I love Humberto Ramos’ style, I’m very pleased with Sandoval’s work in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19. As I understand, he’s returning for #21 in a few weeks, so we’ll have more of his unique style to look forward to.

Putting the Pieces Together

Though there’s still so much left to learn about “Hunted,” Spencer is leaving more and more breadcrumbs for us to pick up and piece together. Not that this story doesn’t make sense, but we’re slowly figuring out more of the intricacies behind “Hunted.” The villains have their way of doing things, and Spidey has his. It all leads back to Kraven, though, and that part kind of scares me.

Nick Spencer is building to something big. I can feel it in my bones. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 stands as yet another dramatic piece to his harrowing tale. The nuances behind this issue help it stand on its own, but in the context of the larger story, it’s probably one of the weaker ones. Still, Spencer leaves us guessing in all the right ways, and makes us question much of what we think we know. And with Gerardo Sandoval and Edgar Delgado’s artwork, there’s more than enough for everyone to enjoy.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 changes up the playing field quite a bit, with the villains having formed a large group, and introducing Black Ant and the Lizard as new players. Sooner or later, Kraven will have to show his hand. I’m eagerly awaiting that very moment.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 by Nick Spencer, Gerardo Sandoval, Edgar Delgado, and Erick Arciniega
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19 appears to have a simple visage, but the opposite is true. This is easily one of the more intricate issues of the "Hunted" arc. Nick Spencer has great skill when it comes to crafting a gripping plot like this. And when you couple his work with the pages from Sandoval, Delgado, and Arciniega, there's lots to love.
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