Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #251

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This story is part of an Arc: "Son of The Hunter"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

His father was Kraven the Hunter. Now he's in New York to, in his own words, "see if the old adage proves true: like father, like son." And his path is finally about to cross with Spider-Man's....

In Detail...

Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #251
Nov 1997 : SM Title
Summary: Kraven & Calypso
Arc: Part 1 of "Son of The Hunter"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils:  Luke Ross
Inker:  Al Milgrom
Cover Art:  Luke Ross
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Articles: Watson, Anna, Betty Brant, Flash Thompson, Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Jameson, J. Jonah, Alyosha Kravinoff, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Robertson, Joe "Robbie"

Norman Osborn has followed through on his threat to release the tapes of Spider-Man beating him to the media, and this issue opens with Peter, Mary Jane, and Aunt Anna watching the brutal beating on the news. Everyone from Mayor Guiliani to the police commissioner is after Spider-Man's head, a sentiment approved by Aunt Anna, who "used to think he was a hero."

At the Daily Bugle, Norman and Jonah have offered at one million dollar reward for Spider-Man's capture, although Jonah is a little apprehensive about the whole affair. Norman feigns support for whatever Jonah wants, but one hard stare later and Jonah immediately shows a lot more enthusiasm. After Norman leaves, Robbie berates him for folding so easily, but Jonah doesn't respond until Robbie asks if Osborn has something on him, to which he responds by repeating his anti-Spider-Man tirade, though it is obvious that he doesn't believe it.

Meanwhile, a trio of small-time yet violent hoods have just knocked over Chase Manhattan Bank, but there escape is blocked by a shadowy figure that yanks the car's driver through the windshield. The stranger turns out to be Kraven, his whip coiled around the unconscious thug's neck. With the help of his pet lion, Kraven subdues the remaining two criminals without serious effort, and makes one more quick appearance after the police and the media have arrived.

The scene switches to the Daily Bugle, where Betty's work is interrupted by Flash Thompson. Betty tries to blow him off, but Flash insists, and soon the two are talking outside. Flash asks her why she ignored him after he asked her for help with his drinking problem back in issue #245. Betty admits that, despite her feelings for Flash, she couldn't bring herself to help because she failed everyone else she had tried to help. Flash tells her that she doesn't have to rescue him, he's finally realized that it's up to him to change his life, and that he's entering a treatment program. The two part after exchanging "I love you's."

As this is happening, Peter and Mary Jane are having lunch with Jill Stacy (who also thinks Spider-Man is a psychotic madman) when the news bulletin comes in about Kraven the Hunter's little act of vigilante justice. Peter makes a hasty excuse to leave and races out into the rain, trying to make sense of Kraven's seeming resurrection and lamenting the fact that only the villains ever come back while the good people stay dead.

All of a sudden, his Spider Sense goes off and Spidey catches a dart that had been shot at him. He lands on a rooftop, noticing SOMETHING coming through the rain towards him. That something turns out to be Kraven riding an elephant, who plows through Spider-Man and knocks all three of them through the roof of a nearby warehouse. However, Kraven has been playing dirty; the dart he fired was coated with a potion strong enough to affect him through his gloves. Spider-Man fights it off as long as he can, nearly beating Kraven into unconsciousness before pulling up, sickened by his loss of control (again). Unfortunately, this gives Kraven time to recover and the poison more time to work. Spider-Man falls to his knees, unable to move while Kraven pulls out a rifle, and introduces himself as Alyosha Kravinov, son of Sergei. With one final line, "unlike my hapless father, I USE REAL BULLETS," Kraven pulls the trigger...

In General...

Once again, J.M. DeMatteis is single-handledly creating the most rich and engrossing Spidey story material you could hope for.

Overall Rating...

For webs for a brand new story line with a ton of promise.