AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #635

“The Grim Hunt, Chapter 2”

Writer: Joe Kelly

Penciler: Michael Lark

Inker: Stefano Gaudiano

Art Assist: Matt Southworth

Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth

“Hunting the Hunter, Part Two: A Prophecy”

Writer: J.M. DeMatteis

Penciler: Max Fiumara

Inker: Max Fiumara

Colorist: Fabio D’Auria

“Spidey Sunday Story Part Two”

Writer: Stan Lee

Penciler: Marcos Martin

Inker: Marcos Martin

Colorist: Muntsa Vicente

Cover Art: Gabrielle Dell’Otto

Variant Cover Art: Mike Fyles

Be warned – there are SPOILERS ahead!

For those that actually care: apologies for the lateness.  I know that my concept of lateness is different than everyone else’s (I’m looking at you, Spideydude), but when I took the gig I promised to do everything humanly possible to get these up the day the comic hits the stores.  Sometimes, though, life just gets in the way.

This issue has a main story and two backups, including a brief two-pager.  I’ll focus primarily on the main feature and pepper in the backups as I go.

The Plot

After a few pages of exposition explaining the situation, the spiders go into action to save Araña from the Kravinoffs.  Arachne and Araña are incapacitated and captured, leaving only Peter and the freshly-shorn Kaine.  Ezekiel shows up to lead Spider-Man to Venom and Anti-Venom.  Unfortunately, Ezekiel turns out to be the Chameleon in disguise, and Spidey has been led into a trap.  After a short battle, Spider-Man is killed and sacrificed, resurrecting Kraven.

The Good

Once again, the art makes this issue.  Lark, Gaudiano, and Hollingsworth – with unspecified help from Matt Southworth (likely backgrounds) – turn in a virtuoso performance in another dark chapter.  There’s always been a gloominess to Lark’s work, and the inking and coloring only highlight this.  The entire book has a dark, almost washed-out palette to it, like looking out a window in a thunderstorm, and it’s a perfect match for the dreary hopelessness of this story.

As expected, Kaine plays a big part in this issue.  We get an interesting conversation between Spider-Man and his imperfect clone about family, selfishness, and heroism.  Kaine hasn’t gotten this much attention or development in a long time, and I appreciate that they’re really trying to crack his head open to find out what’s inside.  Of course, I have to mention the death of Spider-Man here – because it’s almost too obvious that it was Kaine in that Spider-Man costume (uniform?).  If that’s the case, and Kaine goes out a hero, it is an oddly fitting end for the character.  On the other hand … well, you’ll have to read the next section.

The script, though heavy-handed at times, conveys the sense of pending doom consistently and with a singularity of vision.  Madame Web’s depressing narration really sets the tone for the entire arc.  And really, the last few stories by Joe Kelly have shown a stark departure from his usual approach.  He could really find a good niche for himself between the bouncy fun and the grim darkness if he can balance them out, similar to J.M. DeMatteis in the late 90s.

Speaking of J.M. DeMatteis, the backups in this issue are excellent.  The DeMatteis/Fiumara backup is top-notch, showing off some classic Kaine and Kraven moments.  I tend to be hot and cold on the idea of retconning in stories like this, but this Kaine story works well alongside the main feature.  I also need to commend Fiumara’s artwork – although I wasn’t a fan of his work on the Rhino stories, his artwork here is really growing on me.

The other backup, the short Stan Lee bit with Marcos Martin on art, is an amusing little interlude.  In other words, it does what it’s supposed to do, and it does it well.  I cracked up at the three panels of dialogue between Spidey and Mr. Fantastic, with some roughhousing happening in the background.  It’s cute and funny, and it works on every level.

Oh yeah, and the wolfman Grim Hunter uses a caveman-style axe.  You know, a thing with a wooden handle and a triangular stone “blade.”  It probably wasn’t the intention, but I found that stupidly funny.

The Bad

This issue is like a Roland Emmerich movie – it’s full of exciting moments and twists, but they fall apart once you start thinking about them.  Let’s address each one …

(1) Ezekiel is really the Chameleon in disguise (with some help from Mysterio).  I have no problem admitting that they got me with this one – I really thought that Ezekiel was back from the dead.  Kudos to Kelly and Co. for selling this one, because once he pulled off that mask I was pretty surprised.  Then I started to think about it.  How did he evade Peter’s spider-sense the whole time?  How does the Chameleon know about the entire totem history and how it relates to Spider-Man?  I guess you could say “Madame Web,” but that’s a lame cop-out.  (Then again, it makes you wonder how Ezekiel even fits into this continuity.  His character completely hinges on his knowledge of Spider-Man’s secret identity …)

(2) Spider-Man is killed, but it’s probably Kaine in Spider-Man’s costume.  Why else would Kaine get a shave and a haircut?  But seriously, this falls apart very quickly once you realize that Kaine is supposed to be about six inches taller and significantly more muscular than Peter.  I could get into this more, but I’d probably elicit cries of whining anger from Certain Bitchy Responders.  We’ll talk more about this next time!

(3) Kraven the Hunter is resurrected.  Sure, but if he was raised with the blood of Kaine, who is a damaged clone, there’s probably something wrong with Sergei.  They jury is still out on this one.

There were several minor annoyances throughout the issue.  For one thing, Kelly managed to find a way to make Ana even more annoying than she’s ever been up to this point.  She keeps spouting this obnoxious poem or song or whatever the hell it is.  Oh yeah, and stop spelling “spider” as “spyder.”  It was good for one or two uses, since it ties into the poem, but it got obnoxious very quickly.

The fight scene in the park was irritating.  Not only do Spider-Man, Arachne, Araña, and Kaine lose to two knockoff Kravens and a wolfman, but they lose in spectacular fashion, with both Arachne and Araña captured.  Arachne doesn’t even get the dignity of being taken down on-panel.  Give me a friggin’ break already!

By the way – there’s more rape and possible kid-eating in this issue.  At least it’s “only” attempted rape this time.  In the backup story, Kaine forces himself on some chick he met at a bar.  Nice.  And at the start of the main feature, Vladimir appears to be eating a large, human-like bone.  Makes you wonder what they did with Mattie Franklin’s body …

The Ugly

Sasha Kravinoff shoots “Spider-Man” with a rifle, claiming it’s the same gun Kraven used to kill himself.  First of all, the gun that Kraven killed himself with didn’t have a scope on it, so she either lied or defiled the gun by making an addition to it.  (Well, either that or it was simply a mistake by Lark that could have been prevented with five minutes of research.)

She also says that “It carries his regret.”  Regret?  He killed himself as an expression of his honor in the completion of his life’s purpose.  He seemed pretty okay with it to me.

Then again, this story blatantly ignores Soul of the Hunter anyway, so I shouldn’t even waste my time arguing about continuity.

The Bottom Line

The main feature was a big step down from the first issue.  It still is relatively well-executed, however, and if you can ignore the logical flaws it’s a pretty entertaining story.  The backups also step it up this time.  All in all, I think this easily earns a good-but-not-great 3 out of 5 webheads.

27 Responses to “AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #635 Review”

  1. #1 Venomaniac says:

    Spider is spelled as Spyder

    Because KLH has a famous poem where the word is spelled spyder:

    “Spyder spyder burning bright
    In the shadows of the night
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry”

    It’s a knockoff of the poem, but spyder replaces tyger

  2. #2 Gerard Delatour II says:

    @Venomaniac: Yes, I’m aware of that. I even mentioned it in the review: “It was good for one or two uses, since it ties into the poem, but it got obnoxious very quickly.” I figured a website full of Spider-Man fans were savvy enough to get the reference without it being explained …

  3. #3 Venomaniac says:

    Woops

    I guess I didnt read that part of the review then!

  4. #4 Spider-Mont says:

    nice review! i have to admit, im not sure if this arc is just plain better than what weve seen so far over the past year, or if it seems good because shed was so bad! but i do want to point out that the kravinoffs are using magic to veil themselves from peter’s spider-sense. i think they mention it in madam webs exposition in part one. other than that, i agree with everthing you said keep up the good work!

  5. #5 Jake says:

    Actually, Madame Web’s involvement is in no way a ‘lame cop-out.’ She’s been prominently involved both in the build-up and the story itself, and if you think about it for a second, the Chameleon’s involvement as Ezekiel is pretty clearly brought about by her doing. He knows who Ezekiel is because Web read Peter’s mind and told him. Peter’s spider-sense didn’t pick up on the Chameleon because Madame Web turned it off last issue. I think it’s funny that you call your critics ‘bitchy,’ and then you make nit-picky complaints about the way the damn rifle looks. Also, your reviews of ‘Shed,’ a really excellent, dark spidey story, were just ludicrously over the top. Well done.

  6. #6 Bertone says:

    “And at the start of the main feature, Vladimir appears to be eating a large, human-like bone. Makes you wonder what they did with Mattie Franklin’s body …”

    Can’t wait to see how this one gets spinned.

  7. #7 H4M says:

    You mentioned that the Chameleon didn’t set off Pete’s Spider-Sense but his spider-sense hasn’t been working in this (re-read part one when Alyosha attacks Peter comments that his sense isn’t working and he can only hear drums).

  8. #8 Bertone says:

    Forgot about that…

  9. #9 Gerard Delatour II says:

    @Jake: Just because she’s been featured prominently doesn’t make her any less of a Deux Ex Machina. In fact, you then go on to describe two “Madame Web did it” moments, which just support my point.

    @H4M: Again, “Madame Web did it!” That’s weak.

  10. #10 H4M says:

    @Gerard- But they didn’t reveal why his sense isn’t working, I’m pretty sure they haven’t revealed it as Madame Web.

  11. #11 Spidey Fan says:

    I’d say 3 out of 5 is right on target. I am sure they will claim magic or something for the total absence of Peter’s spider sense. Not sure how they are going to explain away everyone not noticing it was actually Kaine in the Spidey costume that was killed. And how did Madame Web not see it coming, or did she?

  12. #12 Jonny says:

    Firstly Gerard, thanks for showing it is possible to enjoy something while finding fault with it, something a lot of pro-asm folk seem like their not bothered about doing

    Hasn’t the flu always had a history of messing with Peter’s powers anyway, remember the infamous reveal in front of captain stacy and gwen. Madam Web is definately be used as a complete plot device in this I’ll agree, and while I’m happy how Kaine died (dying for peter) I’m still furious about the why (to bring back kraven)

  13. #13 George McMillan says:

    i so wanna see stuff with venom and anti venom later, also DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN, they brought back kraven, he better die or I WILL KILL HIM MY SELF

  14. #14 DK says:

    Notice when Spidey falls on thhat grave. the scene cuts to the Kravinoffs, and when Spidey appears again after that, his costume is intact, while the right shoulder has been proeminently figured as shredded up until then, plus Spidey talking about killing loud-mouthed hunters and saying to Madam Web both that he doesn’t deserve to be saved AND that it was nice to see how it was for one night (that is, being spider-man) pretty much guarantees that kaine followed Peter and switched places when he fell on the grave, methinks.

  15. #15 Heartburn says:

    Yeah I wasn’t that too happy when I saw Kraven crawl out of the ground. I mean we ALL (or well most of us) didn’t want to see him return.

    As for Kaine in this… I’m not sure what to make of it. I hope he didn’t/ doesn’t die in the Grim Hunt. But between Kaine’s and Spidey’s discussion with one another I thought that was pretty cool.

  16. #16 Heartburn says:

    Just looked back at my issue… and yeah it does seem like Kaine was the one who was “sacrificed”. If it was then I wonder if they’ll remember to degenerate his body into dust like what happend with Ben.

    If it’s Kaine’s time to bite the dust then he went out in a sorta heroic way.

  17. #17 DK says:

    Makes even more sense when you look up the solicit covers for #638, what with the zombified Kraven and whatnot. Kaine is gone, IMO.

  18. #18 Two-Bit Specialist (formerly SuperChencho) says:

    From ASM #634: this easter egg might just be confirmation about Kaine’s demise.

    http://www.comicboards.com/php/image.php?msg=smb-2010062320032884&att=TASM%20634003.jpg&fullsize=yes

  19. #19 Heartburn says:

    -Sees link- NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

  20. #20 Wheatcakes says:

    So, if Kraven has come back, something will likely go wrong because a) obviously Peter wasn’t be killed though it makes for a good cliffhanger, and because it wasn’t him (possibly Kaine), you know something will go wrong, and b) Soul of the Hunter showed Kraven’s spirit wanted to rest in peace, not come back alive. So I think we can reserve judgment on the story as a whole until it’s completed.

  21. #21 Two-Bit Specialist (formerly SuperChencho) says:

    By the way, I really doubt Venom and Anti-Venom will show up at all, but I’m still kinda hopeful.

  22. #22 Jesse Garrett says:

    I would dig anti-venom appearing. I’m getting the vibe Spidey’s going to need some back up on this one, I just don’t know by whom. If that was Kaine I like the way he went out…..but i’m gonna miss him. He had a lot of potential as a character.

  23. #23 LUNI_TUNZ says:

    “this falls apart very quickly once you realize that Kaine is supposed to be about six inches taller and significantly more muscular than Peter.”

    Well, it WAS at night. I doubt they thought to break out the measuring stick.

  24. #24 Enigma_2099 says:

    First he gets his @** handed to him by Skittles the Penny Hooker, now he’s killed to resurrect Kraven?

    What did they do to Kaine?!?!?

  25. #25 TimmyG says:

    I’m a little skeptical about it being Kaine. Besides his body not being the right size (did anyone notice he was the same size as spidey during the whole book), in the end M. Webb tells him he is the center of the web that hold it all together. As a Psychic I think she knows who she is talking too. I think the Kaine switch is about 50%, soem other rewrite 45%, and 5% we get a death of Bruce Wayne kinda dealy (*Shudders)

  26. #26 persian-spider says:

    i gotta admit that I enjoyed this issue much too much. it was so very entertaining. about the nitpicking by the reviewer, i gotta say that that the Ezekiel bit came to mind as i was reading the story. i wondered how Chameleon would know about the link between Spidey and Ezekiel. but i guess as people said above we have to wait until the story is over and then pass judgement on it.

  27. #27 Extreme Spider says:

    But Chamileon Could Have Gotten His Hands On That Spray Norman Used To Turn-Off Peter’s Spider-Sense To Follow Him Home And Know His Secret ID.