The Grim Hunt, Part 3 by: Joe Kelly with Zeb Wells (writers), Marco Checchetto, Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano (art), Matt Hollingsworth (colors) & Joe Caramanga (letters)

Hunting the Hunter by: J.M. Dematteis (writer), Emma Rios with Max Fiumara (art), Fabio D’Auria (colors) & Joe Caramanga (letters)

Spidey Sundays by: Stan Lee & Marcos Martin

The Story: Surprise!  Peter Parker isn’t really dead, but that doesn’t mean that someone didn’t die as part of the sacrifice to bring back Kraven the Hunter.  However, if the Kravinoff’s didn’t sacrifice the real Spider-Man, isn’t the reincarnation going to be kinda screwed up?

What’s Good: I’ve never been a big fan of all the clone garbage polluting the Spider-Man universe, so I was genuinely surprised to see that the death of Kaine touched an emotional chord in me.  It really wasn’t that big of a surprise that he was dead.  I didn’t see it immediately when I read/reviewed ASM #635 (blame reading it and immediately reviewing it), but in hindsight it was pretty obvious that it was going to be Kaine who died in the Kravinoff’s sacrifice.  But, seeing the poor guy looking really quite dead hit me (and there is NO doubt that dude is dead).  It was kind of like seeing and ignoring a panhandler on the same street corner every day.  You know the poor dude has it rough, but he’s annoying, smelly and in your way.  Then one day you learn that he died and you feel like crap because you were never nice to him.  That’s who Kaine was for me: the smelly bum who I just wanted to leave me alone.

The rest of this issue unfolded in pretty average super-hero fashion: Peter Parker wakes up, shakes off the cobwebs (pun intended) and has to go off chasing the Kravinoffs.  That’s a nice bit of role reversal and I like how the creative team handled it.

What’s Not So Good: Is there a more worn out motif than the faulty clone (or in this case, the faulty reincarnated man)?  “I don’t know what’s wrong!  I followed the spell perfectly!”  Yawn…so Kraven isn’t quite who his family though he would be.  I do like that Chameleon points out that the original Kraven wasn’t so sane either (shooting himself in the head).

I also didn’t love the explanation of Kaine switching with Peter.  Did he just decide to get a haircut before this scene?  And why would Kaine smell different than Peter if they’re clones?  Is that… ahem… the “smell of the street”?  Did Kaine eat curry before swapping into the Spidey costume?  Oh… yes… I forgot!  He is an imperfect clone of Peter, so the smell is one of the things they couldn’t quite get correct.

The art also wasn’t doing this issue many favors.  I know, I know…..ASM ships 3X per month, so some of this artistic team-up stuff is going to happen, but although the work by Checchetto and Lark/Gaudiano were individually well done, I didn’t feel like they gelled to well. This issue had (including back-ups) six artists.  Let that soak in….

One final quibble (again) with the Stan Lee backup.  It isn’t that it’s so bad, but it really doesn’t fit with this dark and trying-to-be-epic Grim Hunt tale.  Just save this stuff up and print is separately.  Where is Marvel going to trade this material?

Conclusion: Not terrible, but a bit of a let-down from the last few issues.

Grade: C+

– Dean Stell