Spider-Man may have escaped the physical dangers of Kraven’s master plan in “Hunted” but the mental ones are still lingering. He had a horrifying vision of Mary Jane in danger from a mysterious new villain that’s been lurking in the shadows since this series began. Now he stares right into this monster’s eyes as we finally learn the being’s name.
One of the key elements of this volume of Amazing Spider-Man has been Peter’s relationship to Mary Jane. Writer Nick Spencer brought that back in a big way, making it a major part of the wall-crawler’s life. I’ve been loving every minute of this as I was a fan of J. Michael Straczynski’s run which also reinforced this relationship…up until One More Day, but we don’t talk about that arc.
Peter’s connection to MJ grounds him. In many ways, Spider-Man is the people’s hero. Sure, he has spider-like agility and all sorts of crazy powers, but at the end of the day, he’s a regular guy, thrust into the role of a hero. MJ represents this strong foundation for his life in and out of the costume. She’s one of the few people that knows his secret identity and keeps him sane even when he faces all sorts of insanity.
This is why the potential threat against MJ is so serious. If that connection is suddenly taken away, especially after he just got it back, it would shake Peter to his core. It’s no wonder he’s having nightmares about it.
While this relationship is the entry point for Amazing Spider-Man #24, the bulk of the issue is spent with Mysterio, now serving time in Ravencroft. He had a run in awhile back with the disturbing new villain and hasn’t been the same since. We get a peek into his therapy sessions, which are held in costume for some reason.
I like how artist Ryan Ottley gives us the faintest glimpse of Quentin Beck’s face within the fishbowl mask. This is incredibly important in these scenes as we realize just how emotionally shaken he is. He can’t even tell us the villain’s name. It’s like Voldemort on steroids.
The villain, revealed in this issue to be named Kindred, is probably the creepiest additions to Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. He’s surrounded by centipedes of various sizes, crawling all over his body and the nearby area. His body is covered in bandages, hiding his true identity. Kindred’s power set is not yet defined, but it looks like he has a lot of tricks up his sleeve, appearing out of nowhere to unleash his attack. Inkers Mark Morales and Cliff Rathburn highlight each of the bandages on the villain’s face, giving him a corpse-like appearance.
Amazing Spider-Man #24 takes a dark turn towards the end of the issue as Kindred stands revealed. He’s been pulling strings in the background for a bit and this time around he really gets his hands dirty. Colorist Nathan Fairbairn plays up the shadows around the character which makes the carnage he unleashes look all the more deadly. The entire tone of the scene shifts when Kindred shows up, going from a quiet, if confrontational therapy session, to an all out bloodbath.
Kindred appears to speak directly towards Peter, cutting into the hero’s dreams. Since Spider-Man isn’t in the room, he’s looking right at us which adds to the chilling nature of the character and the scene as a whole. Letterer Joe Caramagna adds another monstrous element to Kindred with scratchy word balloons, bringing to mind a gravely voice that cuts to the bone.
With “Hunted” out of the way, I’m eager to see where Amazing Spider-Man goes next. If this issue is any indication, the web-head is up against a pretty fierce and frightening adversary. It’s one thing to rob a bank or some other scheme, but it’s quite another to attack Peter Parker’s heart. That instantly makes Kindred a diabolical villain. It also opens up a slew of questions, like how he knows Spider-Man’s secret identity and why he’s doing all this. I can’t wait to find out.