That's So Kraven: Foe bewilders Spider-Crew in "Marvel Action #6"

Written by Erik Burnham, Art by Christopher Jones, Colors by Zac Atkinson, Letters by Shawn Lee.

Marvel Action Spider-Man #6 swings in with zest and super-powered zeal, as it introduces one of Spider-Man's all-time great villains, Kraven.

This IDW published book throws Spidey and the two hottest SMU (Spider-Man Universe) characters, Miles Morales: Spider-Man, and Spider-Gwen (aka Ghost Spider) into a kid-friendly adventure reminiscent of '80s/'90s early Saturday morning cartoons. Playful, yet grounded, MASM hits all the right notes, any Spidey reader age 8 to 80 will feel right at home.

While classic villain, Mysterio has been grabbing all the headlines due to his recent appearance in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Burnham introduces our wide-eyed trio to a far more grounded character, Kraven, the Hunter.

Kraven operates exactly like his Marvel proper counterpart, wanting to best Spidey in one-on-one combat. To make sure this happens he enlists the help of his children, a brother-sister duo, who tangle with Miles and Gwen. The action and antics are in high supply here; quips, flips, and kicks are handed out in heap-fulls. Burnham seems to have taken a page out of the 1990s Spider-Man Fox cartoon, as there is a lightness and fun that isn't always found in the Marvel publication.

Burnham pays homage to the classic, Lee/Ditko/Romita era with a Spidey/Kraven fight that could easily have taken place in the 1960s. It's a testament to the characters that it doesn't feel out of place, and Burnham's writing that it zips along fluidly.

"Marvel Action Spider-Man #6" cover art by Christopher Jones

Jones doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, nor should he. Everyone from Peter, Gwen, Miles, Kraven, and even old Brush-Head, J. Jonah Jameson look the part. Though Jones does lend a little bit of Saturday morning spectacle to his panels. Action is springy, with all three spider characters bending, flipping, and tumbling around. If Disney ever decides to adapt this to animation, Jones has laid down the blueprint.

Atkinson delivers bright hues and vibrant, bold backgrounds that perfectly accompany Jones's lines. The two work hand-in-hand to deliver a dose of modern nostalgia, pulling from the 1960s to the mid-1990s cartoon adaptations. This is perfect for a publication aimed at children. It's nice to see newer characters like Spider-Gwen and Miles in this iteration.

An easy trap for children-aimed media is to dumb down and pander, luckily Marvel Action Spider-Man never does this. Instead, it delicately balances fun, quippy dialogue and fast-paced, arachnid action, bringing together many elements familiar to any Spider-Man fan. The self-contained issue features a day in the life hi-jinks, with high-stakes adventure, and well, plenty of Marvel Action Spider-Man.

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