Writer: Cody Ziglar
Artist: Michael Dowling
Color Artist: Jesus Aburtov
Cover Artists: Arthur Adams & Alejandro Sánchez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Peter Parker is in the hospital, and Ben Reilly is Spider-Man. He’s got the backing of the Beyond Corporation behind him, and he’s already made strides by taking down the U-Foes who hospitalized Peter. After an encounter with Morbius The Living Vampire, Ben has been trying to be more careful. But in Amazing Spider-Man #79, Ben comes face-to-face against another major Spidey foe – Kraven The Hunter.
The comic starts off fine enough with a “quirky” opening that leads into a mystery that really goes nowhere in this comic. However, the comic does focus its efforts into developing the relationship between Ben Reilly and Beyond Corporation with his handler Marcus. Their dynamic is something to keep an eye on as Marcus has regularly been portrayed in shadow, almost like he’s not to be trusted or he’s working an angle Ben doesn’t know about.
The comic also does a neat job showing the almost brotherly relationship Ben has with Peter, despite being his clone. The story shows the emotional weight that Ben has on being Spider-Man while Peter is in a coma. It expresses all of this and more with a particular scene that shows the more empathetic side of Ben and shows what the emotional stakes for him are in this Beyond storyline.
Now, the part people have been waiting for – Kraven. The comic doesn’t immediately get to him, and has Ben doing some good old fashioned super-heroics with good art by Michael Dowling and colors by Jesus Aburtov, all of which will get readers into the mood for a straightforward super-hero story. So by the time Kraven shows up, he’s the cherry on top.
Kraven’s plot feels very much like a traditional Kraven story where he’s hunting Spider-Man, in this case Ben Reilly. The man’s done his homework and lays a trap that certainly catches Ben off-guard and from there the fun begins. The look of Kraven is illustrated well by the art team, and the action is less bombastic and focused on the personal blows and banter between the two characters. However, the battle’s far from over as Kraven’s newest hunt has a different purpose to it, and the hunter is taking Ben in a more surreal direction that will be continued in the next issue.
The Kraven portion of the comic doesn’t have anything to do with the prior Morbius fight in the previous issues, but it holds up well enough on its own. I believe that this is meant to be its own thing, a traditional Spidey element that works on its own for Ben Reilly. However, the Beyond storyline is only coming through in bits and pieces, all of which will likely build up to a bigger plot later down the line. For now, readers will be able to have fun as Ben takes on Kraven for a couple of issues. And judging by the final page and the cover for the next issue, it’s going to be a trip.
Amazing Spider-Man #79 continues the Beyond storyline with Kraven The Hunter as the lead villain. The story explores more of Ben Reilly’s emotional stakes not just for this comic but for the Beyond storyline as a whole. Readers will also get some cool, good-old-fashioned Spidey super-heroics. When it finally transitions to Kraven’s part in the comic, the art is well done, the characters look good, and the action is clear, dynamic, and easy to follow.