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Writer: Nick Spencer / Artist: Humberto Ramos / Marvel Comics

The Amazing Spider-Man, this week, winds down “Hunted”. Kraven’s grand plan and motivations are finally revealed in a dramatic exploration of Spider-Man’s ethics. Spider-Man cut out Dr. Connor’s (a.k.a the Lizard) implant that prevented his violent actions. Now Lizard can save his son, Billy, and Black Cat. This is despite the risk that the Lizard may die or go berserk and could (as he’s done before) kill his own son. Spider-Man’s fears are realized as he is inexplicably released from his restraints to see a pile of slashed up, dead guards. Spider-Man is unable to chase Lizard to rectify his mistake as he’s confronted by Kraven. It is here that we discover Kraven’s thesis. He resents the blasphemy of Spider-Man denying the spider’s nature as a deadly hunter with his refusal to kill even as the spirit of the Spider has imbued him with its power. Now, if Spider-Man wants to save anyone he’ll have to kill Kraven.

It’s a story that’s been done time and time again with characters that have a “no kill” policy but this comic is just well done and there is something special about Spider-Man’s type of character. Characters like Daredevil and Batman avoid killing from a place of fear that they will lose control and not be able to maintain an acceptable line of who deserves death. The Spider-Men of the superhero genre avoid killing simply because they believe killing is wrong. They strive to let mercy and redemption drive their actions. That makes Kraven’s argument from utilitarianism so compelling. How many people would’ve been saved if Spider-Man had killed the Green Goblin the first chance he got? This debate really gets to the heart of the traditional superhero because most people are philosophically utilitarian in this respect. My own denunciation of the death penalty is almost solely because of the inability of any criminal justice system to avoid executing innocent people. If I could be sure the accused was a murderer or a rapist, I would lose no sleep over their death. That’s why Spider-Man is Spider-Man and I’m not.

Humberto Ramos continues the theme of murder by just killing this art. This book’s theme-appropriate darkness accentuates the villains’ menace and also Spider-Man’s in his black suit when he starts to beat Kraven’s ass. There’s a small panel that spoke to me for some reason that was solid white with Kraven punching Spidey in the face with “KRAK”. I can’t wait for the (presumably) last issue of this arc. I’m either going to be devastated or relieved but there will probably be tears.

9 “Sneaky Lizards” out of 10

Reading title of comic? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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