I cannot believe… I am being made to read… YET ANOTHER… comic about Spider-Man having a hallucinating nightmare… with a Kraven… by JM DeMatteis. The universe is cruel. We’re back in late 1997. Back to this endless TAC storyline. I don’t even remember how many issues in a row with no real place to break and allow the other titles to happen But it’s finally headed for a stopping point. This issue features guest pencils from Mike Deodato, Jr., who will haunt this blog in the future, inks by Al Milgrom and colors by John Kalisz. I’m gonna be forced to talk about Deodato a lot in the future, so I’ll just say: Not a fan! Extra not a fan this issue, because it is FULL of swipes. Too many to bother pointing them all out, multiples on almost every page. McFarlane, Larsen, Buscema, Saviuk, Ron Lim, Luke Ross (The Swiper has become the swipee), Joe Bennett, I seriously couldn’t go into detail, it’s outrageous. The most prosperous time of Deodato’s career will be achieved by just tracing 3D models, and before that, he was constantly tracing celebrity faces into the books, but way back here, he’s just stealing, straight up. Anyway. Page one rewinds the last page of TAC 251, with Baby Kraven once again telling Spider-Man he’s the son of the original and that he “uses real bullets” as he fires a shotgun at Spider-Man from point blank range. Only now, Spider-Man dodges clear, only being clipped in the arm, which is just ludicrous. But he’s still doped up on Unspecified Jungle Drugs and this storyline has 2 more issues, so he’d not gonna fare too well, one assumes.
It’s been a long time since last issue on this blog, but it’s worth re-establishing that Kraven was riding an elephant on a roof of a building in Manhattan. Awful.
I am so put out. How many times do I have to read about Spider-Man fighting through hallucinations? How many of them must have Kraven in them? It’s so tired!! And look, Norman’s hanging out with Lex Luthor. Deodato is at Marvel fresh from establishing his name at DC, so he brought Lex with him.
Feels like Deodato is trying his best to draw vaguely like Luke Ross. There was a time when doing a fill-in encouraged that sort of thing. Panel 2 looks like a zoom on Ross’s corner box, which is, of course, a McFarlane swipe. Wheels within wheels. Well, Spidey wakes up in Kraven’s old mansion, from Last Hunt, and New Kraven gives him an antidote to the poison. He explains that he grew up in “the African jungle,” and “never knew life in so-called civilization.” Someone should do a comic where the various Kravens are taken to task and made to look like colossal, creepy weirdos for the ignorance and festishization of “primitive” Africa their writers have imbued them with. Anyway, Dopey here says he only knew the reality of the beast, leaps up on a table, howls for a bit, them sits down in a chair. I am right back to being utterly fed up with this even though I had a year off. He wants Spider-Man to understand who he is, and begins his exposition saying his dad was rarely around.
Ah, the primitive tribesmen. All this and casual racism, too! You could easily get away with that kinda crap in the 60s, but come on, man. Come oooon! It’s 1997!!! Uuuuugh, well, Spider-Man recaps Kraven’s Last Hunt, helpfully pointing out that Kraven used to be a joke and then “something changed,” aka he was wildly out of character. As he finishes the recap… sigh… African tribesmen attack the building. They set off a big explosion that kills most of the animals Lil Kraven thinks of as his friends and then rush in, saying that now they serve..
Calypso hits Baby Kraven with some dust, does some offensive voodoo whatever, then hits Spider-Man with the dust, also. Meanwhile, a totally different kind of terrible story is happening…
DeMatteis’ penchants for grim-dark misery and unfunny comedy collide in a single issue. Grizzly drives them into the ocean because he assumes the car can turn into a submarine, but it can’t. WHATEVER. Elsewhere, Aunt Anna is really hounding MJ about Peter not coming home for dinner, and MJ is getting fed up.
I sincerely doubt Anna has figured it out. They really have just turned her into Aunt May in this period. Sure makes killing May seem pointless! Well, Calypso’s dust has turned Kraven and Spider-Ma into big ol’ scaredy cats, and after some generic monologuing, she announced her intent to kill Spider-Man, then does a 2-page spread of Calypso doing her stupid dancing and hitting them with new dust, which makes them raging mad and out for blood instead of scared, and then she has them set loose.
Straight up Joe Bennett swipe on the last page. Yawn. Same ol’, same ol’. What’s not the same ol’ is a guy in the letter pages who, well… I mean, look…
Good grief! They say every character is somebody’s favorite, but how a Spider-Man supporting character very briefly headlining a 3rd rate John Carter knockoff as a werewolf n the 70s (Two issues!) could become your favorite is BEYOND me. I wonder if he saw the Cap-Wolf story in Captain America. His guy got to be a werewolf again for a second there. What a lunatic. Speaking of lunatics, I must be one, because I’m back for more of this garbage next post.