"Hunted" moves into its fourth character-focused interlude, this time focusing on the Vulture! Within the confines of Kraven's Central Park trap, Adrian Toomes has maneuvered himself into a position of power among the hunted criminals. He's always craved admiration and respect, and is at last in a position to do something about it - even if it is a shaky prospect at best.
But an unforeseen alliance is formed, when Arcade - Kraven's hired techmaster for his safari romp - summons Vulture for an impromptu, clandestine meeting!
Arcade maintains that, in order to keep on-brand, he has to offer his "participants" a slim chance of survival. To that end, he supplies Vulture with a knick-knack that might just turn the tide in favor of the hunted...
It's an opportunity too good for Vulture to pass up, and it could easily change the tide of the hunt! But in his haste, Vulture doesn't realize Arcade's offer might be a little too good to be true...
And in the back-up story, we see how the monstrous Vermin was used to add an x-factor to the hunt that could turn the tables on both hunters and prey alike (first witnessed at the end of last issue)!
It’s Vulture time! The final .HU interlude of “Hunted” is less focused on its protagonist’s inner life and more on taking a moment to better define Vulture’s exact role in the tale. So far he’s become something of a working class hero for the huddled masses of villains, but his own ambitions outside of raw power haven’t really been explored. He’s one of Spider-Man’s oldest foes, but how much do we really know about Adrian Toomes, flying AARP ad? To perhaps no one’s surprise, Vulture is a man who sees himself as being above everyone else (literally and figuratively) but has always been in other’s shadows.
This issue, unfortunately, doesn’t really shed much new light on the Vulture as a three-dimensional character with inner life, which sets it apart from the previous three .HU installments. They all took pains – by design – to highlight their protagonists’ personalities, motives, fears, and so on. This issue does less of that and acts more like a regular issue of the story that has even less Spider-Man than usual, which is fine in and of itself – but relatively speaking, is something of a letdown after the previous .HUs have been such strong character studies.
Cory Smith’s pencils have strong echoes of Mark Bagley, and that’s no small thing – especially in Spider-Man’s corner of the world! Although he isn’t a marquee artist (yet!), I suspect this artist has big things in his future. As for the back-up story’s extremely indie art by Tyler Crook, I found myself pleasantly surprised by how effective it was. This isn’t the type of art that is usually given a chance at either of the Big 2, but Crook did a great job focusing in on the animalistic fearfulness that is so strongly identified with Vermin (without whom it simply couldn’t be a Kraven story, apparently). Kudos to the editor who gave this budding talent a chance at the big time.
Though not quite as remarkable as the previous character-focused .HU installments of "Hunted," this issue of Amazing Spider-Man feels stronger and more coherent than the main chapters of the story. It's a strong centerpiece for the Vulture, to boot, who rarely gets solo screen time when he's not being punched by Spidey!
Amazing Spider-Man #20.HU: The Worm Turns
Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
Storyline - 6.5/106.5/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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