Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artwork: Ken Lashley
Colours: Erick Arciniega
Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: 3rd April 2020 (available on ComiXology)
Guaranteed to take all but the most hard-hearted of Web-head fans on an incredibly emotional journey, few long-time fans of The Amazing Spider-Man could arguably have foreseen Nick Spencer’s soul-searching ‘spotlight’ on the hapless Gibbon providing this comic with such a traumatizing reading experience. Indeed, considering how tongue-in-cheek the villain’s ludicrous first appearance was way back in 1972, this nineteen-page periodical’s tear-jerker of a conclusion proves a real kick to the gut, and undoubtedly provides Martin Blank with just the sort of impactful finale a low-level criminal comic book character could usually only dream about.
For starters, the mutant’s depressingly unhappy life is wonderfully interwoven throughout the wannabe hero’s desperate attempt to escape a literal army of Kraven’s deadly Hunter-Bots in Central Park. Repeatedly shot, stabbed and bludgeoned in the modern day, the rapidly deteriorating ‘Ape-Venger’ demonstrates an endearing desire to simply be left alone following a childhood haunted by name-calling and brutal bullying. Yet this publication’s entire 52,075 strong audience already know that the pitiable pleas of the harmless villain will fall upon all-too deaf ears; “What I want is you mounted and stuffed in my den.”
Of course, both Spencer and artist Ken Lashley still grant the Gibbon, and in turn any semi-compassionate bibliophile, a modicum of hope that the brutally beaten former member of the Legion Of Losers won’t end up being fatally scalped, by having the rampaging Rhino run straight through Marty’s numerous pursuers just as his demise seems certain. The mutilated man’s seemingly successful last gasp flight for freedom, coupled with the memories of his happy partnership alongside Grizzly and marriage to Princess Python, even indicates that a happy ending to this comic might possibly be on the cards.
However, this hope soon comes crashing down around Blank’s head, when his ailing strength finally fails him whilst hiding in a tree and he is subsequently shot by a Hunter-Bot who supposedly does it as an act of kindness. Mortally wounded, and unable to even talk because of his physical trauma, the Gibbon’s sad passing in the lap of Spider-Man is unbelievably moving, and undoubtedly must have made his new-found admirers yearn for a far more agreeably happy outcome to this special edition of Spencer’s ‘Hunted’ story-arc.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]