And so with that in mind, continuing our running trend of advancement at HomeWorld, today we’re test driving a new column: “A.S.S.”, or “Aces! Substandard! Squick!” I think you can figure out how this works, so our first victim today is the recently concluded Amazing Spider-Man storyarc Grim Hunt.
- The Revived Kraven. I know that’s a weird one for me to say, considering how against this I’ve been the entire time, but bringing back Kraven “wrong”, and his instability manifesting in a desire to strengthen the name Kravinoff, was damn fascinating. He’s in the Savage Land now trying to strengthen his family, and hopefully he’ll return soon…with his creepy and delusional daughter in tow.
- The Spider Ladies. These characters are fairly sorely underused, so it’s nice to see Mattie Franklin, Julia Carpenter and Anya Corazon put to good use, even if all but one of these characters is rendered useless or drastically changed by the end. Julia Carpenter becoming the new Madame Web isn’t something I’m sure I like, but we’ll see how it plays out.
- Chameleon’s Tactics And Usage. Impersonating the long dead Ezekiel to the point that he even smelled like an authentically rotting corpse is a damn genius move, and one of the cooler twists in the story. Plus, it’s great the the creative team didn’t forget he’s Kraven’s half-brother. However….
- Chameleon’s Personality. Several years ago, a flashback tale revealed that Chameleon was more than a little unstable, but he was motivated not by greed, but that he actually had fallen in love with Peter Parker and was jealous of his life. A really cool touch on a character who’s been clashing with Spidey since his creation. Unfortunately, he’s now been rebooted into a clichéd serial killer type. In Grim Hunt, after his clever gambit to lure in Spider-Man, he’s reduced to a cowardly deserter and thrown out a window.
- Spider-Man Has The Flu, But Only For An Issue. I mean, maybe it’s a nitpick, but Spidey spends the entire first issue getting his ass handed to him because he has the flu, and then suddenly it’s dropped. It seems this was just a one-off plot point to justify Spidey not beating the living hell out of the Kravinoff’s in the first issue, but considering their numbers were considerably greater than he expected, shouldn’t they have had the upper hand anyways?
- Spider-Man Attempts To Kill. Seriously. All of Brand New Day has been about Spidey, a character historically associated with accepting the burden of responsibility, denying all responsibility in his life. Spidey’s a hero against all odds, so when he’s prepared to stab Kraven with his own spear, dead or living dead, I frown big time. You can’t chalk this one up to the heat of battle or a moment of anger; Spidey didn’t kill the guy who shot Aunt May, he didn’t kill Kraven when he had the chance during Kraven’s Last Hunt, he’s shouldn’t be trying to kill him here either.
- The Spider-Totem Thing. John Romita Jr. tried to add mythology to Spider-Man with the addition of a Spider-Totem concept, it which Spidey’s powers are tied to a mystical source. Bullshit. He was bitten by a radioactive spider. The fact that this concept not only still exists, but is force fed to us in stories like this isn’t just annoying, it’s insulting. The Kravinoff’s don’t need a reason to want to kill Spider-Man that’s tied to mysticism, he’s considered their ultimate prey and could be considered responsible for Kraven’s death. Spidey doesn’t need a reason to want to stop them, he’s a super hero. The Spider Totem concept was an interesting one-off idea, but trying to cram it into the mythos adds an unnecessary level of faux-complexity.
- Kaine’s Resurrection. The story ends with Kaine, who sacrificed his life so Spider-Man could live, reviving as a mutated human dubbed Tarantula. It’s more of the Spider-Totem bullshit, and I mean come on. Kaine’s not exactly been in the limelight for a few years now, usually associated with the less than stellar received Clone Saga, and when he does appear his motives are ambiguous at best. He died doing something noble. At least let the dirt settle before you dig him up.
And there you have it! Your first A.S.S. article. Leave us a comment, let us know what you think, and let me know what you’d like to see A.S.S. cover in the future.