Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #34. Kraven again

Amazing Spider-Man #34, Kraven returns, descends from above on our hero, Steve Ditko cover(Cover from March 1966.)

"The Thrill Of The Hunt!"

Scripted by Stan Lee.
Plotted, Drawn and Inked by Steve Ditko.
Lettered by Sam Rosen.

Poor old Kraven the Hunter. He just doesn't seem able to grasp that, when it comes to fighting Spider-Man with his bare hands, he's completely out of his depth. And so it is that, still smarting from his last defeat, the rain-forest wrong-doer comes up with yet another scheme.

It's not much of one. It involves dressing up as Spider-Man and annoying Daily Bugle publisher J Jonah Jameson till Spider-Man comes looking for him, before spraying Spider-Man with perfume for no noticeable reason then having a punch-up with him.

Needless to say, as always with Kraven, Spider-Man wins the punch-up and that's the end of that, another Steve Ditko plotted tale ending with our hero winning purely by beating up his opponent. Oh for the days when Stan Lee was in charge of plotting, and our hero won his fights by showing wit and invention.

When I say Kraven has no reason for spraying Spider-Man with perfume, Stan Lee tries to rationalise the pictures he's been given, by saying it's designed to switch off Web-Head's spider-sense. Sadly for this explanation, Ditko shows that self-same spider-sense working perfectly normally throughout the entire rest of the tale. I suspect Ditko's intention was the perfume'd make Kraven able to follow Spider-Man wherever he goes, meaning he can neither hide nor escape. Either Stan Lee was having difficulty understanding the infamously uncommunicative Ditko's pictures or he decided such a use for perfume wasn't suitably dramatic. Either way, the perfume does indeed serve no purpose whatsoever.

On the domestic front, we see the last of Betty Brant for a while as, following a nightmare that Peter Parker's Spider-Man, she quits the Bugle and flees town.

Not that Peter Parker should be that worried because like an Exocet of desire, Gwen Stacy's becoming obsessed with the only boy in college who never pays her attention.

Actually this subplot is the real interest in this tale, and the panel where she slams her foot down hard on her dropped book, in order to prevent Peter Parker picking it up is, however unlikely as it might seem, the highlight of an otherwise workmanlike issue. You do have to worry when Gwen Stacy's foot is a highlight.

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