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Amazing Spider-Man #15: Review

Aug 1964
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

Kraven the Hunter

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #15 Review by (January 3, 2024)

Review: The time has come for the Spider to be hunted! This issue marks the debut of Kraven the Hunter, yet another classic Spidey villain! I found this to be one of the better villain intro stories, as Kraven has a more unique motivation than the standard bank robbers that comprise most of Spidey’s rogue’s gallery at the moment. This is a pretty textbook Kraven story, with him hunting Spider-Man through cunning and careful planning. Kraven doesn’t have the most impactful showing of his career, being pretty handily outmatched by Spider-Man throughout most of the issue. However, he brought enough tricks and traps for the issue to still feel exciting and suspenseful. This issue also establishes Chameleon and Kraven’s connection, though it would not be clarified for quite a number of years.

Possibly the biggest “first” of this issue though, with the most long reaching impact, is the first mention of Aunt May’s friend, Mrs. Watson’s, niece, a certain redhead who won’t make her official debut for quite a while! A moment I found amusing, right at the beginning, Chameleon jumps out of the window right next to Spider-Man, causing me to wonder about Spider-Man’s peripheral vision. The way it’s drawn is hilarious. Overall though, another great issue from the Ditko era, as Spider-Man and his colorful cast of characters continue to come more into focus!

Comments: First appearance of Kraven the Hunter and first battle with Spider-Man. Kraven and Chameleon’s relationship is not defined here, though they would much later be revealed to be half-brothers. First mention of a certain Mrs. Watson’s niece, who won’t make her official first appearance for quite some time! First time the spider tracer is called as such. Liz Allan is mistakenly written as “Liz Allen” in one panel.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #15 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Our story starts with action right away, as Spider-Man discovers a group planning a bank heist. He webs up three of the goons but the fourth jumps out of the window before Spidey can see him, landing on an awning. He activates a special chemical gas which changes the color of his clothes, and switches hats, fooling Spider-Man into thinking he’s just a random old man. We, however, learn it was the Chameleon in disguise, who ponders how wo get rid of Spider-Man for good, back at his base. He then thinks of calling an old friend of his, who would be perfect for the job, called Kraven the Hunter.

A week later, J. Jonah Jameson rushes to the docks, with Betty Brant in tow, as he has learned that Kraven the Hunter is arriving from Africa. Betty contacted Peter to arrive as well, where they find that Liz Allan and Flash Thompson have come to see Kraven’s arrival as well. Betty gets extremely jealous of how Liz acts around Peter. Jameson tries to get an exclusive interview with Kraven, who is only interested in tracking his prey. Just then, some of the loading cranes snap, allowing many of the wild animals that arrived with Kraven to get loose. Peter changes into Spider-Man in order to round up the creatures but finds that Kraven is already on the job, wrangling some snakes and wrestling two full-sized gorillas. Feeling like he’s not needed, Spidey switches back to Peter, but realizes he forgot to get any photos of the event, much to Jameson’s chagrin.

Jameson asks Kraven what possessed him to come here, and Kraven responds that after hunting all the animal kingdom has to offer, he’s here to hunt Spider-Man himself. As Jameson and Betty head back to the Bugle, Betty gives Peter the cold shoulder, leaving Peter to sulk in his rotten luck. Back at the Chameleon’s lair, Chameleon provides Kraven with all of the information he could gather on Spider-Man, so that Kraven can prepare for his hunt. Not long later, Spider-Man hears a shot while out swinging and happens upon some crooks, which he deftly takes out, with style. Unbeknownst to him, the goons were set up by Chameleon, giving Kraven the chance to watch his prey from afar, in order to study his movements.

As Spider-Man leaves, he swings upon Kraven who swiftly attacks him. Kraven strikes Spider-Man, causing his shoulder to go numb. Spider-Man, however, continues to fight back and Kraven is surprised at his strength, quickly realizing that he cannot defeat Spider-Man in a fair fight. Kraven then manages to scratch Spider-Man with a special potion, causing Spider-Man to get all shaky and disoriented. Kraven escapes, so as to prolong his hunt, choosing to pick off Spider-Man when he is fully weakened. Spidey heads home to try and sleep off the effects of the potion. The next day, Peter is feeling generally better, but his hands are still shaking uncontrollably. Downstairs, Aunt May tells Peter that she’s set up a date for him, with the niece of their neighbor, Mrs. Watson! Peter is unenthused and heads off to the Daily Bugle.

Peter arrives at the Bugle to find that Betty is still acting prickly towards him, when he hears Jameson discussing something with Kraven. Jameson says that he wants anything Kraven does towards Spider-Man to be strictly legal, as Peter worries about his next battle with Kraven. At school, Peter’s hands are still shaking so bad that he drops and shatters some test tubes, earning him a rare scolding from his teacher, and causing him to fret the rest of the day. Peter then gets the idea to tag Kraven with his spider tracer, so that he can turn the tables and sets out to find him.

Spidey’s shaking hands cause him to be unable to shoot his webs accurately, forcing him to leap from building to building. Back at their lair, Chameleon and Kraven plan their next move. Spidey swings around until he gets a tingle from Kraven’s presence and spots him heading into a park. Spider-Man follows Kraven, not knowing that he’s being followed by seemingly a second Kraven! Kraven manages to drop a net onto Spidey, but Spidey finds the weak spot and barrels his way out of it. One of the Kravens distracts Spider-Man with a jungle drumbeat, allowing the other Kraven to attach a magnetic bracelet to Spidey’s wrist and ankle. The two bracelets attract towards each other, trying to pull Spidey’s wrist and ankle together, and are outfitted with a bell, allowing Kraven to track Spidey’s movements.

Spider-Man avoids Kraven and his nets, before plunging the park into darkness by messing with a circuit box in one of the lamp posts. He then webs the bracelets so as to negate their function, before hearing rustling in the bushes. He pounces and discovers that the first Kraven was Chameleon the entire time, who declares that Kraven will still hunt him down. Spider-Man then turns the tide on Kraven, finding him and shining his spider signal on him, no matter how Kraven tries to hide and maneuver. Kraven tries surprising Spider-Man with an attack, but Spidey is ready for that too. Out of options, Kraven tries to escape to recuperate and plan anew, but he runs right into a giant web net that Spider-Man had prepared.

The police take both the Chameleon and Kraven into custody as Peter takes his photos to the Bugle. Jameson is ecstatic at the photos of the Chameleon, as it wasn’t even known that he was back in the country. Betty apologizes for her behavior, but Peter realizes he can’t go out with her because of the date Aunt May arranged for him. He heads home, dreading the date, but finds out that his arranged date couldn’t make it after all. Elated, Peter tries calling Betty, who gives him the cold shoulder once more, then Liz, who’s already out with Flash. The issue ends with Chameleon and Kraven being deported but still vowing to return to hunt down Spider-Man one day.

Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko
Stan Goldberg
Steve Ditko (Cover Penciler)
Steve Ditko (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)

(Kraven the Hunter)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Anna Watson, Betty Brant, Liz Allan (Liz Osborn).

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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