Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #253

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Wildman (E-Mail)


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....

Story Details

Spider-Man has been enchanted by Calypso's voodoo powder to the point where he is filled with an uncontrolled rage. Urged on by the "natives" and their jungle drums, he attacks Kraven, going so far as to clobber him with a rock. Kraven, however, is only to happy to fight back, and the battle begins to rage. Back home, Aunt Anna is telling Mary Jane that she's figured out the truth about Peter, but she's come to the conclusion that he's having an affair. MJ tries to laugh it off, but Anna sticks to her guns, exclaiming as she storms off that "you'll learn the hard way, young lady, just the way I did!"

Meanwhile, the Grizzly and the Gibbon are getting their soggy Bearmobile hauled out of the water, after the Grizzly's little driving snafu last issue. Sadly, they lack the financial capital to pay the tow truck driver, who drives off with their car until they can pay the bill. However, a loud explosion grabs their attention, and the two costumed adventurers race off to a nearby bank, where they confront the White Rabbit and her gang.

At the same time, the battle at the Kravinov estate is still raging. Spider-Man is seemingly too overmatched by Calypso's enchantment to keep from fighting Kraven, despite their common ground. After nailing him with a two-fisted backhand, Spidey webs up Kraven, grabs a spear from one of the natives, and moves in for the kill. At the last minute, though, he turns and sinks the spear into Calypso's arm. The resulting shock causes the drummers to stop and Calypso to shut up, giving both Spider-Man and Kraven the chance to clear their heads.

As they turn to attack the natives, Calypso tries to flee and is cornered by Kraven's lion. He's a bit upset, and almost devours her alive before Kraven pulls him back. Helping Calypso up from where she'd fallen, he asks her forgiveness for his actions, claiming he'd considered her worthless because his father had shared everything with her and had ignored him all his life. The two leave together, Kraven and Spider-Man sharing a brief handshake, leaving Spidey alone to ponder whether the madness inherent in the Kravinov family was finally gone.

The scene then switches to Ravencroft, where Dr. Mueller is making another appearance. He is escorted to a cell where he meets with a shadowy figure who was apparently a former patient. He promises the man the power that he's always wanted, "but first... I have an insect that I need you to exterminate." By this time, Spider-Man has arrived back home, giving MJ a quick kiss before heading downstairs to grab some food. His meal is spoiled by a VERY pissed off Aunt Anna, who knocks his dish to the floor and accuses him of having an affair. Nothing that he or Mary Jane can say convinces her to back off, and MJ, tired of all the lies and excuses, finally blurts out that Peter is Spider-Man. The scene switches one last time to Kravinov Manor, the site of a bloodbath. Several panels show the "natives" lying in pools of their own blood before cutting to a final page with Alyosha Kravinov standing triumphant over Calypso's apparently dead body...

General Comments

Well, Alyosha Kravinov seems more kinds of crazy than even his mad old dad ever was. It's a crying shame that just a few years later, Ron Zimmerman was to spit on J.M.'s creation with the much-despised Spider-Man: Get Kraven which was to make Alyosha a laughing-stock among Spider-Fans. Oh well, that's the nature of the business I guess.

But meanwhile, is Calypso really dead again? If so, let's keep her that way. Also, it looks like Flash is serious about turning his life around, even though he only appears in one issue. There was some nice interplay between him and Betty, and I wonder what they're going to do with this relationship. There's some good potential here, I think.

I was surprised that MJ blurted out Peter's secret identity to Aunt Anna, although I did predict she'd think he was sleeping around. Quite frankly, I thought they were going to keep having Anna almost discover his identity until the Parkers moved somewhere else. (And didn't MJ want to move way back in #241, right after "Revelations?" I hope this hasn't been forgotten.) Should be interesting to see how she reacts to this little revelation after that little Osborn beating incident. And could we be on the verge of an explanation behind the mystery husband of Anna "Watkins?" (ASM #18, page 13)

Great comic relief with the Grizzly and Gibbon, who've managed to find a villain laughable enough to take on. J.M. DeMatteis has proven before that he's good with the fun stuff, and that hasn't changed. I like the story overall, there were a few minor quibbles, but nothing serious (how DO you get an elephant onto the roof of a skyscraper??) The art was decent in Ross' issues, but paled in comparison with Deodato's work on #252. I loved every panel, especially his renditions of Calypso. Ooh baby!! Ross' work just doesn't match up, especially in his attempts to draw that lion, ESPECIALLY on the last page of #253.

Overall Rating

There's a new Hunter in town and he makes the first one look like Dr. Joyce Brothers. Four webs.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Wildman (E-Mail)