SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #178-185 (1991-1992): Kraven’s Last Hunt 2

Billed as a sequel to the brilliant “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” this story, titled, “The Child Within,” uses many of the same characters, same writer (different artist), but lacks the power of the first story. But it’s better in that it is all in one title, Spectacular Spider-Man, instead of spread across multiple Spider-Comics, which made it easier to find in real time.

Here’s the high-level summary: Vermin comes back.  Spider-Man tussles with him.  The fight triggers Peter’s latent PTSD from being buried alive by, and then killing, Kraven.

He also has some “Uncle Ben/Daddy” stuff to work through.

Simultaneously, Reed Richards sends Vermin to a shrink because he believes that Vermin’s desires to kill everyone are psychological and treatable.  (But isn’t that true of all villains?  Or at least most?  I mean, there’s no biological compulsion towards evil.) This leads to Vermin going home and trying to work out his daddy issues.  Seriously.

Harry Osborn forms the third part of the parallel “dealing with the past” stories in this arc. He has a son now, so he works through both his issues of having a daddy and being one. He also becomes Green Goblin again, and attacks Spider-Man.

And Harry of course in the end feels bad about goblining-out again.  Spidey uses that to his advantage in the closing battle.

So: Bad comic.  But it still warranted a post-script, with an “aftermath” issue of #184.

Isn’t that touching? They all get redeemed. Even Vermin! And Spider-Man swings off, free as well.

The art is okay, but not Sal’s best.  The story is pretty far-fetched.  But the pacing is decent and there’s some acceptable action sequences.

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