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May 29, 2014 / Jett

Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt Review

As an peripheral fan of Spider-Man, I never thought much of Kraven. Watching him on the 90s Spider-Man cartoon, I always saw Kraven as a second-rate villain meant to fill in the gaps between Green Goblin and Venom stories. Released as a six-issue event spanning three different Spider-Man comic lines, Kraven’s Last Hunt is meant to represent the Russian hunter’s finest hour. I haven’t read enough Spider-Man to say otherwise, but this might also be one of Peter Parker’s best as well.

Kraven takes great pride in taking down prey of all sorts. However, there’s one opponent he’s never been able to defeat: Spider-Man. This time, he pulls out all the stops in his attempt to one-up his longtime adversary, which includes shooting him with a rifle and burying him in a casket. If you think that’s nuts, wait till you read the rest of the book!

Peter Parker may get top billing, but this is really a story about Kraven the Hunter. Through internal monoluges, we get a glimpse into his past and understand why this mission is so important to him. Better yet, the ways in which he proves his point are highly entertaining while giving him the respect he deserves.

Not to say that Spider-Man is chopped liver in his own series. Here, we catch Peter in a very vulnerable state. In light of recent deaths around him, along with his recent marriage to Mary Jane Watson, Kraven catches him during a time when he’s very cognizant of his mortality. Light on his signature swagger and wisecracks, we get to see a more fearful and angry side of the webslinger. Kraven may steal the show, but Spider-Man shines bright as he’s forced out of his comfort zone by a worthy adversary.

Beyond the iconic cover of Spider-Man rising up from the grave, the art in this book is stellar. Yes, the art is clearly of the 80s, but it holds up extremely well and I think looks fantastic throughout. All of the details in the action and drama come through each panel, especially the fight scenes.

Coming into this book with a bit of skepticism due to its featured antagonist, Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt genuinely caught me off guard. It’s deeper and more clever than a straight-up action story while showcasing both parties at their best. I’m still very early into my adventure with the Spider-Man series, but this sets a very high bar for everything else to come.

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Leave a Comment
  1. Alastair Savage / May 30 2014 5:10 AM

    I read this when it first came out and I still have two of the original copies. It is far and away the best Spider-Man story of all time. Mike Zeck was for me the finest comics artist of the 1990s, even if he did produce so little work.
    My favourite cover from the series is actually the one where Kraven is grinning with the elephants and stuffed animals cast in shadow behind him.
    Kraven’s Last Hunt is terrific stuff and should really have been made into a Spider movie long before now.

    • Jett / May 30 2014 7:26 AM

      That’s a great cover too!

      I’d love to see a Kraven’s Last Hunt movie. However, knowing that Hollywood would have to make it mainstream, I think they’d rewrite the ending to make it palatable for that crowd. I know it’s old, but I won’t spoil it here, but neutering the Spider-Man vs. Kraven outcome would really hurt it overall. Here’s to hoping someday they do it and do it right!

      • Jett / May 30 2014 7:27 AM

        While I have your attention, what other Spider-Man stories would you recommend?

      • Alastair Savage / May 30 2014 8:18 AM

        They also probably wouldn’t allow Kraven to stride around his house in the altogether, wrestling with his stuffed animal collection.

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