Spider-Man's Showdown with Kraven the Hunter Has a Secret Empire Connection

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #15 by Nick Spencer, Chris Bachalo, Livesay, Vey, Faucher, Olazaba, Townsend, Jim Campbell and VC's Joe Caramagna, on sale now.

Peter Parker has been keeping pretty busy ever since writer Nick Spencer launched a new volume of The Amazing Spider-Man. The web-slinger has been split in half (one half representing Peter Parker, and the other representing Spider-Man, but without a sense of responsibility), fought his way out of the Bar With No Name alongside his new roommate, Boomerang, and made up (but didn't make out) with Black Cat.

However, lurking on the fringes of these events has been Kraven the Hunter. Sergei Kravinoff has recruited the mercenaries Taskmaster and Black Ant to acquire certain enemies of Spider-Man. We've seen them capture Vulture, Scorpion, Tarantula and Rhino so far. If you notice, they are all animal-themed characters, of which Spider-Man has plenty of in his rogues gallery. And with Kraven being an accomplished hunter, it would seem he is outsourcing the hunting of his prey, which is unlike him.

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Kraven usually relishes the hunt, treating it like a sport to test himself against the very best prey he can find, be they animal, beast or man. We know the next story arc in Amazing Spider-Man will be the Kraven-centric "Hunted," which will serve as a "bookend" to J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck's iconic 1987 arc "Kraven's Last Hunt."

However, what Kraven has in mind for "Hunted" will separate it from his previous attempts to torment Spider-Man, in large part due to the help of the master of the death traps, Arcade, and a callback to the Marvel event Secret Empire.

Someone Get This Man A Shield

Amazing Spider-Man #15 concludes with Taskmaster and Black Ant handing a captured Rhino over to Kraven and Arcade. While Arcade can appreciate an elaborate death trap, he wonders if Kraven is biting off more than he can chew with his plan. The reason for Arcade's skepticism is Kraven plans on utilizing the planetary defense shield Hydra used to trap Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight in the Earth's atmosphere in the opening salvo of Secret Empire.

Captain America, who was a Hydra plant in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the time, put the planetary shield in play once a Chitauri fleet was spotted heading straight towards Earth. Captain Marvel, Alpha Flight and other heroes were out in space as the first line of defense against an attack, but Hydra-Cap showed his true colors and activated the shield, thereby preventing some of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel Universe from interfering with his plans for world domination.

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So you may be asking what Kraven could want with a piece of technology like that? As Arcade said, "It stood up to a Thor, a Nova, a Hyperion -- unless you got a pair of Quantum Bands laying around, it'll get you some privacy." Arcade also notes the shield's scale can be adjusted, meaning Kraven doesn't intend to have it wrap around the globe. Kraven plans to trap Spider-Man and all of the residents of New York inside the planetary shield for the greatest hunt of all time.

It's clear Kraven is going to trap everyone inside New York and let the villains he's captured loose to create chaos for Spider-Man to clean up. Of course, Kraven will be there to get his hunt on while all of this is going on. We hate to admit it, but it is a pretty clever evil plan. Once the shield goes down, all hell will break loose.

Spider-Man has faced tougher odds than this, sure, but with so many wild cards in play, it will be interesting to see what the fallout of "Hunted is when it kicks off in Amazing Spider-Man #17, on sale March 13.

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