“Hunted” continues in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20. With the villains having finally united against Kraven, and Spidey hoping to get some answers from Black Ant, what comes next in this gruesome tale? Quite a bit, actually. We get a small handful of important answers, while tensions remain high and exciting. Yet, at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if this story is lingering a little too long.

Writer Nick Spencer does a great job pressing forward with “Hunted.” The action remains fun, and the twists keep you entertained. But I’m beginning to doubt some of Spencer’s storytelling choices. Again, this is starting to feel more and more like a story that could’ve been concluded a lot quicker.

Thankfully, artist Humberto Ramos is back in the drawing seat for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20. Ramos blends calm and exciting moments with ease, and his fun sketches are amplified greatly thanks to colorists Edgar Delgado and Erick Arciniega.

What is Kraven Playing At?

Since “Hunted” began, we’ve been sort of scratching our heads trying to figure out what Kraven’s ultimate goal is. In reality, his goal may have been staring us straight in the face. While Spidey consults with an emotionally wounded Black Ant, the villain laments over his times as a hero. Unfortunately for him, Spidey has very little sympathy to spare for him.

Meanwhile, the Lizard begins his prowl through the park, hoping to find his son. Speaking of which, Black Cat and Billy Connors are doing their best to sneak their way out of the zoo. As if on cue, though, one of the hunters stumbles upon them, aiming to score another kill. However, upon realizing how young Billy is, the hunter backs off, noting how he certainly didn’t sign up to kill children. Good to know some of these fakers have some common decency.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20 page 3. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

It’s after this point that things get fairly grim. Kraven’s son finds the Lizard and nearly kills him. He doesn’t, however, and instead promises to make Curt watch his son die first. As the hunter who spared Billy tries to sign off from the hunt for a bit, he finds himself unable to remove his visor. At the same time, the unified band of villains finds his hunter robot. As the costumed thugs start ripping into the bot, all of the wounds inflicted upon it pass over to the operator.

So, yes, this just became a, “if you die in the game, you die in real life,” scenario.

As Black Ant reveals all of this to Spidey, Pete finally goes on the offensive. Hoping to find Kraven at Belvedere Castle, Spidey instead finds a horde of Vermin. And we’re left wanting more.

Things Just Keep Getting Worse for Spidey

I’m a big fan of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20 because it gives us some answers. We finally have an inkling of what Kraven’s up to. At the same time, I feel like this may have been fairly obvious. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #16 deliberately pointed out Kraven’s disdain towards false hunters. It stands to reason that his whole scheme would be designed with their downfall in mind. Yet, much of what else was going on sort of distracted me from what may have very well been staring right at me.

This is either thanks to Spencer’s ingenious writing or a slight dose of my own stupidity. Either way, I dig the blatant violence tied to this revelation. As simple as this goal may seem, it’s also fitting. It makes sense in the confines of this story. I still suspect there’s something more to Kraven’s game, but until that comes to light, what we’re told in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20 will have to suffice.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20 page 9. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

However, as tense and dramatic as “Hunted” has been, it’s starting to feel a little drawn out. I’m beginning to wonder if this story could cut out one or two issues, so we could get to the heavy-hitting story beats a bit quicker. I’ve enjoyed everything so far, but it’s taken a little too long to give us even a few answers we need to start piecing the story together properly.

Ultimately, though, I’m expecting this to wind up like most of Spencer’s other Spidey stories: slow buildup with an epic payoff. Though “Hunted” might feel a little drawn out, the tension hasn’t faded, and I’m very much still enjoying the story. I’m still expecting big things from Spencer at the ending of this arc.

A Brilliant Blend of Art in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20

I’m thrilled to see Humberto Ramos’ pages in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20. That’s not to say Gerardo Sandoval did a poor job last time (far from it, he was awesome), but I’ve grown surprisingly attached to seeing Ramos’ style in conjunction with this grim story.

Ramos explores a blend of tonally calm moments and excitingly gruesome action sequences. The initial pages are somber, given Black Ant’s lamenting exposition. But when Kraven’s son pummels the Lizard, or the unified villains essentially slaughter the hunters, things are cranked up to 11. Ramos really gets to show off his flair in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20 page 16. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

This mixture of artistic storytelling improves tenfold when you throw Edgar Delgado and Erick Arciniega’s colors into the mix. The fight between Kraven’s son and the Lizard features brilliantly shaded panels in blood-red tones. Kraven always appeared in a shadowed position throughout AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20. There’s a panel where he lightly cuts his own hand, and we see a slight trickle of blood roll down his knuckles, implying he’s itching to start hunting, and yet he can’t (for whatever reason). The art tells the story when it comes to Kraven himself this time around.

The rest of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20 is essentially standard procedure. Fun character drawings, perfectly toned visages, and gripping action sequences are all drawn to perfection, given what we can expect from these artists. This is another success for Ramos, Delgado, and Arciniega.

What Comes Next?

Knowing what we do now, there’s still a handful of unanswered questions remaining. I doubt Kraven is simply out to kill all the pretenders he so fragrantly despises. But now, throwing his ill-tempered son into the mix shakes things up a bit. Spidey also has to deal with a horde of Vermin, as well. There’s lots to look forward to.

Nick Spencer is working hard to keep us invested in this story. Though I think he could probably have wrapped this one up a bit quicker, I’m still happy to stick along for this thrilling ride a few issues longer.

Ramos, Delgado, and Arciniega once again deliver outstanding pages, front to back. There’s not much to hate in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20, other than the occasional facial hiccup. But things like that hardly detract from the overall beauty of the issue.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20 answers some questions and leaves us with a few more. Guess we’ll have to wait a little while longer for all to be revealed.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20 by Nick Spencer, Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado, and Erick Arciniega
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Though AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20 gives us some answers, it also leaves us with a few more questions. There's enough drama and tension to keep you hooked, for sure. If that's not enough, then the art should definitely seal the deal.
90 %
Keeping Us Guessing

Show ComicsVerse some Love! Leave a Reply!