Little Tidbit That You May Not Care About But It’s Still Here Anyway: Jeff Parker, the current writer of the Thunderbolts, announced some time ago that besides the current roster of the T-Bolts he would be also introducing a “Beta” team. He also left the choice of one of these Beta members up to a vote over at Marvel.com. There were some interesting choices, including Madame Masque (last seen in the Avengers), Batroc the Leaper (currently featuring in Heroes for Hire against Spidey, review forthcoming), Shocker (who ended up winning), and Ana Kraven. I really thought that this last one would make it into the team, considering what happens in this issue.
After a long delay, we’re picking right back up where we left off in our Spider-Girl reviews, as we take a look at the conclusion of the two-parter “Kraven’s Next Hunt” (yeah, I know; just go with it).
“Her Father’s Daughter”
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artists: Matthew Southworth w/Sergio Cariello
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterist: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Jelena Djurdjevic
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
The Plot: After setting a trap for Ana Kraven, Anya fights her and initially catches her off-guard, getting the upper hand. Ana reveals she was merely testing her and proceeds to chase Anya across NYC, going from apartment buildings to office buildings to the Baxter Building and finally to ground level. Anya fights back using unconventional methods that she could only pull off in New York and finally manages to defeat Ana by tying her to a moving truck, severely beating her up and leading to her arrest. Meanwhile, Rocky and her friends watch the fight online as it is unfolding live thanks to amazing footage provided by none other than Phil Urich, using his Hobgoblin tech.
The Good: This was a fun issue. Whereas the third issue was purely character work and last issue had a nice balance between action and characterization, this issue was for the most part a straight-up brawl between Anya and Ana Kraven. As always, the reader is provided insight into the mind of Anya through her Twitter feed, which basically serves as a narration box of sorts.
Through her conversation with Ana, we learn that Spider-Girl wants not only payback for the littlest Kraven’s involvement in the deaths of Mattie Franklin and Madame Web (which, oddly enough, I haven’t seen being dealt with since The Grim Hunt ended) but also a punching bag as she continues to grieve her father’s death. While her sorrow continues to get in the way of making good decisions, Anya continues to display remarkable skill and is able to think on her feet.
I enjoyed the fact that Anya at first tried to fight Kraven mano-a-mano but is easily overpowered by her, so instead she uses her turf to her advantage. If you’ve ever participated in a Fight Club match (more shameless plugs!), you know that the battlefield plays a HUGE part of any fight, and it is true in this story as well. Anya uses NYC to her advantage, baiting Ana into triggering the Baxter Building defense mechanisms and then taking the battle smack-dab into New York traffic. Even though Ana was the better fighter, she was out of element; combine that with Anya’s wits, and you got a great fight sequence. The action maintains momentum throughout the whole struggle, never really slowing down and giving off a sense of intensity, especially at the end when Anya ties Ana to the speeding truck, a brutal scene that is aided by good art.
As always, Jelena Djurdjevic’s cover art is gorgeous. It’s always the last thing I remember but the most consistent in the series in quality.
The Bad: Southworth and Cariello team up to provide the art for this issue. Cariello provides the art for the scenes involving Rocky and Kurt Godwin (the creepy neighbor who here is revealed to be part of the Raven organization who killed Gil Corazon) while Southworth does the main story. Sotomayor is back to do the coloring. For the most part, Southworth’s art is an improvement over last issue’s. However, there’s just something that is off about the whole thing. Maybe it’s the choice of colors for the night scenes, or maybe is Southworth’s use of lines. I don’t know. I’m not able to explain it in technical terms for you artistic types, but just know that something is off, in my opinion.
We finally learn who Mr. Godwin is and how he ties with everything that’s been going on from the first issue. It kinda came out of nowhere, but it’s there, and I suppose that’s okay.
The Ugly: Yes, I know that Kaine ran scared from Ana back during the Gauntlet, so seeing powerless Anya take down Ana might be a little jarring. Rather than dismiss this story, I think that Kaine’s characterization back in the Gauntlet was all kinds of messed up. Seriously, how could he not have taken her on easily? Maybe I’m missing something.
Verdict: Action was fun. Art was okay. Two teen girls fight. I really don’t have a whole lot of say besides that. 3.5 Webheads out of 5.
~My Two Cents