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Review: Amazing Spider-Man #637

A worthy follow-up to Kraven's Last Hunt.

Back as an avenging "Spyder," Spider-Man's hellbent on saving Arachne and Arana and giving all five members of the newly-resurrected Kravinoff family the packback they've got coming. 

The Good

Forgoing anything else, it was good to read a Spider-Man who's actually funny for a change. Or, if not always laugh-out-loud funny, one who's always a smart ass. I've always been a huge fan of Joe Kelly, going all the way back to his classic run on Deadpool and the man knows how to balance humor with really dark subject matter. I also think think that this whole concept was a brilliant way to both address how Spider-Man's accumulated his own "bat family" (and to streamline it) and also finally bring back Kraven and his various successors. And, tonally, this was one of the best meldings of an "American gothic" aesthetic with a superhero storyline I've seen - - there was a palpable sense of dread dripping from every panel. I especially liked how each Kravinoff had his or her own specific variation on Kraven's fear/obsession when it comes to Spider-Man. And I loved the much-needed new direction that Kaine gets in this epilogue!

The Bad

There's, like, four or five artists working on this issue and their work's something of a mixed bag. Most times it's very evocative, but sometimes it looks ill-suited for superheroics. That is, the art's great for gothic mood and normal figures, but not dynamic action. I wasn't really feeling the back-up stories, either. The Kaine feature, in particular, reminded me of the issues I had with the original "Kraven's Last Hunt" - - how there were so many panels of a hideous monster digging, along with some broken-up literary quotes, that ended up making more for ponderous digressions than impressive storytelling techniques. 

The Verdict - 4/5

Having read "Kraven's Last Hunt" back in the day, I can say that this storyline's proven to be a worthy successor to DeMatteis/Zeck classic. In fact, it actually surpasses it in many ways. This is one of those rare "house-cleaing" stories that's manages to make the task of getting a bunch of characters in line genuinely engaging and even quite thrilling. I recommned this arc.