THE MASTER raves about GRIM HUNT!!!! Read on, True Believers!!!!

SPIDEY’s WEEKLY WEB-UP

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #634: GRIM HUNT Part 1

STORY: Joe Kelly

ART: Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudino

REVIEW: Master Filmmaker Mark Mackner

Hola, arachno-philes! ‘Tis I, your favorite Spidey enthusiast and Philly horror icon MASTER FILMMAKER MARK MACKNER with another installment of the WEEKLY WEB-UP!!!!! Last week saw not only the end of THE GAUNTLET, but also the beginning of the long-awaited GRIM HUNT, the climax to the Gauntlet. For months now, Spidey has been worn down, battling ELECTRO, SANDMAN, MYSTERIO, NEW VULTURE, RHINO, and LIZARD. He’s seen innocents die, landmarks destroyed, and faced his own personal hardships. He might’ve just been thinking that it’s just more of the old “Parker luck”, but as you and I both know, dear reader, something far more sinister has been going on.

SASHA KRAVINOFF, widow of KRAVEN THE HUNTER has been orchestrating an evil campaign of revenge against the wall-crawler, as he is seen as being responsible for Kraven taking his life so many years ago in the ASM classic storyline KRAVEN’S LAST HUNT. Sasha has been training her daughter ANA for years, molding her into a weapon of vengeance to wield against Spider-Man when the time was right. Then Kraven’s son ALYOSHA was approached by Sasha and Ana, with an offer to participate in the new hunt they were planning.

The basic premise of GRIM HUNT is simple… Hunters vs. Spiders. Sasha, Ana, and Alyosha Kravinoff vs. Spider-Man and anyone else in the Marvel U who’s got “Spider” in their name, or anyone who has any connection to spiders whatsoever. MADAM WEB was abducted by the Kravens before the Gauntlet began. They tortured her to reveal the whereabouts of other “Spiders”. They then targeted MATTIE FRANKLIN (aka the Spider-Woman who ISN’T an Avenger), abducting her, as well. The Kravens seek not only vengeance, but to restore honor to their family name. The honor of the Hunters. And now that Spider-Man’s been softened up by the events of The Gauntlet, The Kravens are hitting him hard, and zeroing in on Spider-Clone KAINE, as well as ARACHNE (The red-haired hottie who wears a variation of Spidey’s black costume).

The GRIM HUNT begins with Kaine showing up a bloodied mess at Peter’s apartment. Ana and Alyosha have just gotten through with him, tearing him apart psychologically (“Do you believe that you have a right to this? To breathe and eat and drink of the Earth like a real boy? You aren’t real.”) before skewering him with a knife, only to decide that he gets to live after all (“Don’t look so bad”, Ana tells him. “When this is over, you’ll finally be someone. You’ll be the only Spider left, even if you are an ugly one.”) Kaine rushes to Peter’s apartment to warn him. Peter suits up as quickly as he can, only to find that the Kravens have already found Arachne. Spider-Man jumps into the fray, and we get a terrific two-on-two battle that runs quite a few pages.

Even Spidey gets a little nasty here. He monkey-flips Alyosha off a rooftop, and onto a broken pipe, impaling him through the shoulder. Alyosha screams, prompting Spidey’s response, “Now THAT sounds like the Kraven Junior I know. A whining, screaming FAILURE.” Oh, SNAP!!!!!! But a shotgun blast from Alyosha’s rifle has Spidey hearing loud, pounding drums, making it hard for him to concentrate on the fight. With Ana and Alyosha briefly subdued, Spidey and Arachne retreat to the now-vacant apartment of Mattie Franklin, who’s been missing for weeks. As they try to recuperate and make sense of what’s going on, EZEKIEL enters, informing our hero that he’s been under attack for months, and this is a war between Spiders and The Hunters, “A war we are already losing”, he states ominously.

I know that ARANA shows up in the next ish, and you really gotta think that JESSICA DREW and BEN REILLY are on the Kraven’s hit list. I wouldn’t be surprised if EDDIE BROCK showed up, either. I’d forgotten about Ezekiel, as he was created by JMS during his painfully long stranglehold on the title. But JMS isn’t writing this (Thankfully), the brilliant JOE KELLY is, so I’m sure he’ll make me like this character yet. All these heroes, and only 3 villains? Doesn’t seem fair, does it? But, don’t forget. The Kravens still have ELECTRO, DIABLO, and CHAMELEON under their employ, and MYSTERIO, RHINO, and LIZARD are likely to turn up again before all this is through.
And speaking of the villains, GRIM HUNT Part 1 ends with Sasha, Diablo, and Electro participating in a bizarre ritual that I really shouldn’t say much more about. It’s fucking crazy, believe me. Some dark, brutal shit going down in ASM lately, but that’s fine. The Web-Heads (Spidey’s current team of writers) deftly balance light and darkness, humor and tragedy in a way that JMS never achieved, in my own humble opinion. Here, we’re getting classic villains, even not-so-classic villains like Diablo (Who looks like he got his costume at BATROC THE LEAPER’s rummage sale), along with wonderful Spidey quips, and heart-wrenching drama (The death of Billy Connors). These guys are getting in RIGHT, through multiple storylines, and on a 3-times monthly schedule, no less.

As a life-long Spider-fan, I’m thrilled to be living in a time of Spidey event stories that actually deliver. I really WANTED to like THE OTHER. I really did. But, MAN, did that story fucking suck balls. Ditto, ONE MORE DAY, of course. Absolute SHITE. Even BACK IN BLACK was disappointing. Woulda been fine if he’d killed the Kingpin, but the fact that he let him live just made the entire thing a waste of time to me.

But, Spider-Fans… and I’m talking to the REAL Spider-Fans out there. Take it from me. GRIM HUNT is off to an explosive beginning, and if you’ve read any of Joe Kelly’s Spidey work thus far, you KNOW this is gonna be the kind of Spidey story that’s talked about for years to come. And I mean that in a POSITIVE way, for a change. Usually, when a Spidey story is referenced years later, it’s usually followed by, “That’s what made me drop Spider-Man from my pull list forever.” GRIM HUNT is the story that makes you giddy to have ASM on your pull list. You’ve got a crackerjack creative team, some of the best villains in all of Comicdom, our favorite hero, and the return of some interesting supporting heroes.

STORY: A++ (Only gripe is a minor one. The title GRIM HUNT is a pretty obvious one. But I didn’t think it was necessary for the Kravens themselves to dub this “The Grim Hunt”. Twice in this issue, they shout “The Grim Hunt is here!” I dunno. During “The Revenge of The Sinister Six” did the villains run around the whole time screaming “The Revenge of The Sinister Six is here!”? Maybe they did, I haven’t read it in a while, honestly, but it just comes off as a little forced, that’s all.)

ART: A++ (REALLY dug the art on this one!!!)

Don’t wait for the trade on this one. Read it as it happens! You’ll be glad you did!!!!

And THAT is the WORD, so sayeth The Master!!!!!

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2 Comments to “THE MASTER raves about GRIM HUNT!!!! Read on, True Believers!!!!”

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  1. Awesome post Mark. I love how I remember Kraven from the cartoon, which is where I get all my knowledge of comics. Just so you know I bought my first comic today and if it bodes well I may have to enjoy some ASM to keep up with you.

  2. Mark Mackner says:

    That’s great, man! I’m always happy when someone discovers the awesomeness of comics for the first time. What did you pick up? And yeah, you should definitely consider making ASM a regular thing in your life.

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