Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artwork: Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba
Colours: Edgar Delgado
Lettering: Joe Caramagna
Release Date: 27th March 2019 (available on ComiXology)
Chock-full of the headlong flights for freedom a reader might well expect when you throw together some of Spider-Man’s worst enemies and “an army of Kraven-lookalike robots that suddenly stormed into Central Park, firing at everyone and everything in sight”, Nick Spencer’s scintillating storyline for issue eighteen of The Amazing Spider-Man must most assuredly have had many of this ongoing series’ 74,466 fans on the very edge of their seats. True, there isn’t any likelihood at all that this comic’s titular character was going to become one of this publication’s unfortunate fatalities, but Spencer soon makes it abundantly clear that the same cannot be said for some of this publication’s other notable supporting cast members.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine a more gripping dash through New York City’s fifth-largest park than the one presented with this second instalment of “Hunted”, as the likes of the Iguana, White Rabbit, Puma, Frogman, Beetle, Vulture, Gibbon and the Rhino all face the very real possibility of being shot, stabbed, slashed, speared or bloodily battered by one of Arcade’s automatons. Such a sense of mortality really is positively palpable within this twenty-one page periodical, and shockingly only increases when a Bill Mantlo co-creation from way back in the late Seventies suddenly meets a grisly end at the hands of the portly, tuxedo-wearing Bob; “This is for always passing me up for that promotion! I — I killed that thing. I — I killed it!”
Just as sensational is Spencer’s excellent portrayal of this comic’s lead antagonists, with both Arcade and the Taskmaster coming across as a pair of seriously cold-hearted killers-for-hire. Indeed, the two-time Cincinnati City Council candidate’s depiction of Tony Masters treacherously betraying his long-time partner-in-crime, the Black Ant, for double the bounty so he “can get to pay for that beach house in Belize” is extremely well-penned, and arguably comes completely out of the blue despite the fact that “ants are animals too.”
Rounding off a truly memorable book are Humerto Ramos’ terrific-looking pencilled panels and Victor Olazaba’s dynamic inking. Spider-Man has debatably never looked better in his black suit than during his fleeting brush with Adrian Toomes, and the sheer terror etched upon the faces of so many hardened criminals as they are literally mowed down by the merciless hunter-bots proves an extremely disconcerting sight to behold.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]