The hunt begins, as Kraven the Hunter arrives on the show.
When Season Two of Spectacular Spider-Man was announced, Mysterio and Kraven the Hunter where the first two confirmed new villains of this season. Just like that, right after Mysterio's full introduction in the previous episode we get Kraven's. Unlike Mysterio, we're only given a fragment of what we know about Kraven (voiced perfectly by Eric Vesbit). Honestly, comic book past aside, that's all we need to know about him. That Kraven hunts big prey, the one he thinks will be good game is Spider-Man, and he'll have his lover is Calypso to tag along for the ride.
And that's pretty much the main plot for this episode, Kraven's obsessive hunt for Spider-Man and doing whatever it take's to ensnare him. As for the B and C plot mix in well together as Peter Parker (voiced by Josh Keaton) is back being an intern with Curt and Martha Connors, while also having to deal with the love triangle of Gwen Stacey and Liz Allen. A simple episode that out of nowhere continues the somewhat larger arc it's in (i.e. the Master Planner).
First the positives. As always the fight scenes in the episode where nothing short of spectacular. Both fights with Kraven are highly memorable and the climaxes are equally satisfying. In both attempts, Spidey's more-pro like approach to both fights secure his wins against Kraven's rookie mistakes in not studying his prey further before fighting him. Also the love triangle take's a great turn with it more in shambles now with the added presence of Flash injured and Liz going back to support him.
The last great thing about the episode is the weaseling Miles Warren does in the episode. It's a nice contrast to the good-natured Dr. Connors and cowardly Otto Octavius. Miles is clearly out to make a name and a good buck for himself. Plus unlike Curt and Otto before him, is much more diabolical in expanding on what they did with creating super powers and ruthless (the gun behind his back when Kraven's lion started coming toward him or negotiating the deal of getting powers for Kraven).
Then there is the negatives and they’re more numerous ones this time around alas. The first one is how this ties to the greater saga aka the Master Planner arc. The Master Planner being revealed to be Kraven's American anonymous friend felt tacted on. Honestly, I seriously doubt the Planner planned Kraven getting powers from Warren when he could had done it himself. Also, the story could have just as easily progressed with the Planner forcing Kraven to join in his next plan, instead of this tiny revelation. Oh well, it does still get us the possiblity of a new Sinister Six on the horizon.
Another problem I had in the episode was Kraven himself. When he uses his pet lion to hunt Spider-Man with his scent was a nice hilarious chuckle. But it could had easily led to some even more awkward moments of Pete ducking Kraven without his Spidey getup adding some tension. Not to mention Kraven or Miles piecing together the origins of Spider-Man and his possible identity (though I can forgive the later given the overall arc he might have in the future).
The last thing to nitpick is Calypso herself. For new fans going into this episode with the character will no doubt scratch their heads as Spidey did with how she pulled off freeing Kraven from the webbing. Sure, it isn't like the previous episode, where it left the viewer to scratch his head wondering what just happened? Not to mention she was pretty keen to all the hijinks in the episode, even more with going with the Planner's next plan. It's a pity we didn't learn anymore backstory with that. Still, I digress this is still a good episode. Though unlike past episodes of this series, the plot holes where a little more numerous than before. Hopefully this is the last time one is distracted by them.
3.0 out of 5 Spectacular Trivia
-Kraven's lover, Calypso also is an infamous Spider-Man villain. Her biggest story was the Todd McFarlane drawn and written story in Spider-Man Vol. 1 called Torment (#1-5). Her talents are voodoo and black magic as briefly hinted at in this very episode. She first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #209.
-This Kraven shares the very same origin as his Ultimate counterpart as he originally tried to best Spider-Man as a human before being defeated embarrassingly. However, Spectacular's Kraven got off much better than Ultimate Kraven whose brief fight with Spidey happened on live TV. Both then went the superpower route in their next encounter with the Wall Crawler sporting very much the same results (looking more were-like in appearance) and then deciding to join a Sinister Six as well.
-Debra Whitman, the lab aide of Curt and Miles introduced in the episode, in the comics was a female love interest for Peter in the early half of the 1980s. She first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #196.