Spidey Super Stories #2 (Story 1)

Background

Here we first meet Jennifer of the Jungle, who is one of those 'white person in tune with the jungle ways' kind of character. Kinda like Ka-Zar, only even WAY more lame than even him. (Now that's lame) Instead of a cool sabretooth tiger, she has Paul the not-really-intelligent-at-all Gorilla. Plus, she's like 16 and speaks like she just stepped out of a Sweet Valley High novel.

So, as you will soon discover, no story starts well with Jennifer of the freakin' Jungle and Paul the Gorilla on the cover. Kraven (way before his cool Last Hunt days) does not help to lessen the absurdity content of this story. Ludicrious speed, GO!

Story 'In the Hands of the Hunter! (6 pages)'

  Spidey Super Stories #2 (Story 1)
Summary: Jennifer of the Jungle, Kraven, Mr. Measles, Dr. Octopus
Editor: Roy Thomas
Writer: Jean Thomas
Pencils: Don Heck, Winslow Mortimer
Inker: Mike Esposito
Add. Plot: John Boni

Ch.2: (7 pages)

As the story opens, Spidey is filming some kind of B movie in an alley with Jennifer of the Jungle and Paul the Gorilla. Really. What kind of movie, I won't speculate on in polite company. The director, whats-er-name from the Electric Company, yells "CUT!" as Spidey runs out of webs. She then screams, "Sign! Please!" at her assisstant, who is standing right next to her. He then holds up the "MORE WEBS" sign. Like this happens so often with all the other people in her crappy movies she needs a cue card to remind them to refill their web-shooters. And it's not like she couldn't just say "MORE WEBS" out loud, since Spidey is also standing right next to her. You, know, there's this new-fangled thing called talking TO people, it's like shouting at other random people to get them to hold up signs to show to the person you're trying to communicate with, but it goes a lot faster.

Anyway, Spidey goes to his "dressing room" to refill his web-shooters, and then Kraven the Hunter busts through the glass window. (He's really, really good at this. Don't try this one at home.) A fight ensues, he's "the greatest hunter in the world and Spider-Man is the greatest catch, etc." Usual Kraven speak. Spidey then realizes he's out of webs (apparently the giant block-letter sign a moment ago didn't help) as Kraven throws a steel net over him that he "can't break out of". Kraven then leaps out the window with Spider-Man thrown over his shoulder, caught like a Wookie in a midget teddy bear trap. Spidey somehow seems to think that having his webshooters would have allowed him to bust free of the steel net thrown over his head, whatever. Maybe it's a self-esteem thing. Maybe Spidey just can't face the fact that Kraven schooled him in 5 panels.

The whats-er-mug director (Rita, if anyone cares) sends Jennifer to look for the absent Spidey. She finds a big mess in Spidey's dressing room, and Paul the Gorilla. Who was waiting in the dressing room behind Spidey's changing curtain. Why exactly, uh, I will let you decide, because I don't think I could possibly say anything remotely tasteful. He heard and saw the fight, and does a ridiculous gorilla charade game to tell Jennifer what happened.

*Paul grabs his wrist*

Jennifer: You say Spidey was fixing his web-shooters?

*Paul jumps out the window and then back in like any spastic ape*

Jennifer: Then someone else jumped through the window! Who?

*Paul scratches the top of his head*

Jennifer: Someone with a long mane. I know - it was Kraven the Hunter! But what did Kraven do with Spidey?

*Paul does a mid-air cannonball, swinging his arms around frantically*

Jennifer: Oh, a fight! How did the fight end?

*Paul puts a foot on the broken glass of the window pane and leans out the window*

Jennifer: Kraven carried Spidey away! Paul, we must save Spider-man. Lead the way, Paul!

Alright. I don't care if you're Dian freakin' Fossey and have lived your entire life communing with the lowland gorilla, learning their customs and language, and teaching them bits and pieces of sign language over a period of years. You do not take the time to teach your gorilla the sign for 'long flowing mane of hair'. Or 'fixing web-shooters'. Especially if you're Valley Girl become Jungle Girl Jennifer, who couldn't teach her way out of a soggy grocery bag.

My more realistic interpretation of Paul's actions:

*Paul grabs his wrist*

Me: Your wrist hurts? And you've been hiding in Spidey's closet? Bad monkey! Bad! Bad!

*Paul jumps out the window and then back in like any spastic ape*

Me: Yeah, it's a window. If it's open things can pass through it. I get it.

*Paul scratches the top of his head*

Me: No way, I am absolutely NOT doing the picking-individual-ticks-and-mites-out-of-your-greasy-unwashed-hair-thing again, no matter how cute the ladies at the park think it is. I gave my last girlfriend frickin' hair chiggers, for crying out loud.

*Paul does a mid-air cannonball, swinging his arms around frantically*

Me: Jesus, somebody get the tranq gun. HURRY! The big one!

*Paul puts a foot on the broken glass of the window pane and leans out the window*

Me: *push* Whew...

Anyway, back to the story, such as it is. Somehow Paul, using his amazing ape nose, has tracked Kraven and Spider-Man to the City Zoo. I always thought that apes sense of smell was just as bad as our sense of smell, whatever.

Now comes a really odd scene. Jennifer swings over the zoo wall, and lands in front of some 10 year old brats, who immeadiately recognize her (probably via milk cartons) and want her autograph. They also ask to "pet Paul." (Bet semi-intelligent Paul loves that.) She doesn't want the children following her to the other part of the zoo where, "Kraven may hurt them." So she runs away, saying, "Sorry! Paul needs his afternoon walk!" (what, and you can't stop for half a second to let them pet the freakin' monkey? See if they buy your action figure now.)

Two odd things here. First off, Spidey never ever has any problem about sending kids into dangerous situations. In fact, Spidey thrives on sending kids with poor impulse control and brains like week-old casserole against the likes of Kang, Thanos, and Dr. Doom. So what's your problem with signing some autographs? They may be so overcome with hero worship that they have to follow you? Uh-huh. Get a life, Jennifer.

Secondly, Kraven may hurt them? He just whipped Spider-Man, and you've got a few months of jungle training, an ape, and a nifty canvas hat? You ever think that Kraven may kick your butt too? *Sigh* Sometimes I really hate that heroes-always-win-in-the-end thing, otherwise, man, she'd be python food, and it'd be majestic lowland gorilla burgers for the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, at Kraven's hide-out (a grass hut in the middle of the lion exhibit, duh) he's making a bamboo cage to hold Spider-Man. I mean, alright Kraven, sure your steel net worked, but let's not get too cocky here. Spidey wakes up, refills his web-shooters with an extra cartridge Kraven nicely left him, and uses a very convenient spear to cut the extra-thin ropes binding his hands. He then throws off the steel net like he was hand-tossing a pizza. Kraven apparently never bothered to tie down the steel net, or even close it. No, he just bound Spidey's hands with some string, and threw the net over him like a soft downy quilt. Self-confidence is a great thing, but if I managed to capture Spider-freakin'-Man, I sure wouldn't use Silky Sheer pantyhose and scotch tape to hold him. And I definitely wouldn't leave any convenient sharp objects lying on the ground next to him. Man, I SO should be a super-villain.

So Spidey has freed himself, all without the help of wonder-dork Jennifer. So Kraven comes over to the now completely free and standing up ready-to-kick-his-butt Spider-Man and orders, "Now, Spider-Man, into the (bamboo) cage!" You know Kraven, last time I checked mind-control was not on your list of powers. (rippling mustache, possibly average agility, and a high tolerance for the smell of elephant dung) Better luck next time. Spider-Man throws the steel net at him (which he easily avoids, unlike Spidey. Ha, take that Spider-Man, ya hoser!) Then Paul and Jennifer choose this moment to crash in directly through the grass-hut wall behind Kraven, and Paul tackles him.

Kraven then uses the move I wish he would use a little more. He grabs Spidey by the ankles, swings him around like an Olympic Hammer Thrower, and tries to hit Jennifer and the monkey. With Spider-Man. Who he is holding by the ankles. Hahahahahahahaha. *giggle* *snort* Hahahaha...

Heh heh... *whew*... alright, I'm better now. Kraven then orders his trained lion to attack Paul. It pounces on Paul and knocks him on the ground, about to shred him in true king of the jungle fashion. Jennifer then demonstrates her awesome jungle knowledge by pulling on the lion's tail. Yup, her plan is to annoy it, until hopefully it eats her first. Oh wait, but Spidey (showing his ever-present concern for the welfare of moronic children) throws her about four feet of that wimpy string Kraven tied him up with, and then ignores her. Meanwhile, the lion has turned to glower at Jennifer, and looks like he's about knock her head off with one swipe. Then Spidey has his fight, and the next time we see the lion, Jennifer has managed to tie all four paws of the snarling beast together with that itty bitty string, and is carrying it under one arm while swinging from a tree. I don't know what the hell is going on. Maybe Kraven went to the discount pet store, and accidental! ly got the pacifist Ghandi lion. Who, uh, apparently only weighs about 60 pounds instead of a ton or two. Maybe it's a inflatable lion. I just don't know.

Spidey is meanwhile having his exciting climactic showdown with Kraven. Kraven jumps Spidey from behind, shouting "Now I shall strike again!" To which Spider-Man replies, "But I'd say that was a strikeout!" Kraven has broken Stupid Villian rule #16, never shout anything as you sneak up on a hero who may not know you're there. Not only will he notice you're right behind him and then proceed to beat you up, he'll without fail turn what you said into a lame pun. A horrible, awful pun that will echo in your head, all those cold lonely dark nights in prison, until you basically go insane and kill yourself. Oh, wait, Kraven already did that...

So Spider-Man grabs one of Kraven's arms and slams him face first into the ground (*WHAM* "That's for the swinging-me-by-the-ankles thing. *WHAM* And that's for trying to hit the monkey with me." *SLAM*). Kraven then wisely runs away, and Spider-Man runs ahead of him and sets a trap by stretching some webs between two trees. Kraven, using his fearsome jungle instincts to their fullest, runs directly into the giant spiderweb. Spidey finally looks around to see whether the lion has actually digested Jennifer and the monkey yet, and instead finds her hefting the trussed-up lion under one arm. Yeah, I was surprised too.

They all then head back to the B-movie set. The director says, "Spidey, let's try that again. Okay, more webs!" For no apparent reason, she then tries to hit her assisstant with her little director stick, but he wisely covers his chest with the MORE WEBS sign. But Spidey is out of webs again, and we then get a close-up of the director's lunatic eyes. "NO MORE WEBS! NO MORE WEBS!" she chants as she runs off into the night, her fragile mind having snapped or something. I don't know, I stopped trying to make sense of this as soon as Jennifer beat the lion. The Merciful End.

General Comments

Here's my post-fight interview with Kraven the Hunter.

Me: Kraven you pretty much did better against Spidey than you ever have before or since.

Kraven: That's true.

Me: You beat your archnemesis Spider-Man in five panels with nothing but your body odor and a steel net.

Kraven: I know, it felt great. I was really in the zone. Man, that was funny, I have to tell Mysterio about that one. *snort*

Me: But then you didn't tie up his net? You bound his hands with string? You left a spear right next to him?

Kraven: *sob* I don't know, it all just fell apart. I got so excited, I just assumed I'd finally beaten him and that he'd just give up or something. I hadn't really thought about it much past the capturing part...

Me: And you then ordered the now freed Spider-Man into a bamboo cage? Did you really think that would work?

Kraven: Uh... Um... I don't seem to recall doing that... No, that must be some other super-villain you're thinking of.

Me: And what was with the lion? Was it made of Play-Doh? What happened there?

Kraven: I'm going to have a long talk with my wild man-eating jungle animal supplier about that one. Faulty equipment really hampered my game here.

Me: But then you recovered brilliantly. You grabbed Spider-Man by the ankles, swung him at the dumb ape.

Kraven: Hehe. Yeah, wasn't that great. Man, I almost dropped him I was laughing so hard. Jesus, that was cool.

Me: But at the end there, you ran straight into a giant spiderweb. In broad daylight. How could you not see it? Even the Gorilla managed to avoid it.

Kraven: (tiny voice) I don't want to talk about it.

Overall Rating

4 webs. C'Mon, Kraven almost kicked Spidey's butt here. And the monkey charades scene was way fun.