Web of Life Part Three - The Hunting
Credits: Todd Dezago (writer), Phil Gosier (breakdowns), Sam De La Rosa & Randy Emberlin (finishes), Steve Dutro (letterer), Kevin Tinsley (colorist)
The Plot: Kaine encounters a gang of thugs who are terrorizing a homeless woman and murders them. Meanwhile, Ben Reilly races to Peter Parker’s home, hoping to catch the Grim Hunter. He’s soon confronted by Kaine, who knocks him unconscious. When the Grim Hunter arrives, Kaine faces him.
The Subplots: Gregor, a friend of the late Kraven the Hunter, fears for his son’s sanity. Elsewhere, Detective Jacob Raven has tracked Kaine’s fingerprints to New York.
*See _________ For Details: The Grim Hunter ended his pursuit of Ben Reilly in Spider-Man #54 after discovering that Ben wasn’t the same Spider-Man he faced earlier. The conclusion to this story arc occurs in Spider-Man #55.
Creative Differences: Portions of Gregor’s monologue are lettering corrections, and an added thought balloon emphasizes that Grim Hunter escaped from Ben in the previous chapter.
Review: Terry Kavanagh isn’t officially gone at this point, but apparently some behind-the-scenes disagreements will soon lead to his departure. Todd Dezago will show up during the early days of the clone saga as a fill-in writer before taking over Sensational Spider-Man after Dan Jurgens’ brief stint. Just based on this issue, I would say he has a better ear for dialogue than Kavanagh, but there’s no noticeable improvement in the plotting. Since Web is released during the first week of the month, it’s placed in an odd position during the crossovers. It always starts the storylines, but never finishes them, leaving every other issue as the third chapter in a four-part storyline. In other words, every other issue is largely “Middle.”
It’s obvious that this issue has a lot of time to kill. Kaine’s opening scene just reiterates the character’s brutal nature (even towards the person he's allegedly saving), while Ben’s introductory action piece is just an elaborate setup for a Miracle on 34th Street reference. A few more pages are eaten up with a monologue by Gregor, a character who’s never appeared in this book before, but apparently has a connection with the Kraven-spawn that’s about to be killed off. Exciting. We’re halfway through the issue by now. A Kaine subplot establishes that the police are on his trail, so that’s at least one plot advancement. Ben and Kaine then trade off monologues for a couple of pages before having a fight scene that drops a few vague hints about their shared past. Of course, we’re still several months away before any true revelations are made, so this is more stalling, really. Finally, Kaine and Grim Hunter face off on the final page, leading us directly into a different comic that will actually resolve this story. Would even a hardcore completist want to keep buying a comic with stories like this? At the very least, a competent artist could’ve redeemed the action scenes, but the rushed, faux-McFarlane style art just drags the material down even deeper.