Comics – Spiderman: Kraven’s Last Hunt HC

16 10 2006


Spiderman: Kraven’s Last Hunt Hardcover

Originally uploaded by swftoys.

“Hey, this Spider-Man story seems familiar…” I said to myself when I first saw the shrink wrapped Kraven’s Last Hunt HC TPB on the shelves of a local bookstore. The image of Spider-Man getting up from the ground with a tombstone overlooking him came back to me like a page from the past brought back from the archives of my memories.

Our favourite webslinger dons the black costume throughout this 1987 storyline. I remembered seeing the cover of The Amazing Spiderman #294 frequently back then at those second hand bookshops. Browsing through comics I found there was a frequent pastime as well. Till today, I find the art on the ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’ series to be one of the best in Spider-Man’s history.

I love the way Spidey’s black head is drawn from various angles. I mean, his face with that mask on was just black and white. The white part came from the two big patches which was supposedly his eyes. And it was drawn such that it could convey the emotions of the man behind that mask with various skillful contortions of that simply detailed spandex! Speaking of this, check out the cover of one this series’ issues with Spider-Man trapped in Kraven’s net with rifle pointed at him.

Anyway, the story has it that Kraven the Hunter was so obsessed about defeating the webslinger that he devised a plan to defeat Spider-Man completely. By complete, I mean sending a crystal clear message to Kraven himself and his enemy that he could win if he really set his mind to it. It’s kind of weird that Spider-Man got careless and came real close to getting his brain blown out by Kraven’s rifle. It turned out that Kraven’s obession saved him.

Kraven wanted Spider-Man to know within him that Kraven had him at his mercy. That he was able to do whatever he wished while Spider-Man was drugged to dreamland. He wanted Spidey to know and remember. That was ultimate victory to him.

With Spider-Man knocked out, Kraven donned his enemy’s costume and sought to beat the former at his own game. He went about as Spider-Man fighting crime with the difference in MO being he swung around with ropes instead of webs. And probably only those close to Peter could tell the finer differences in the way the imposter operated.

A villain included in this story was Vermin – a creature that was a cross between a man and a rat. This fella’s pretty vicious and I was a little grossed out that he ate the flesh off pretty comic ladies. I guess it brings out the depravity of this creature. His role in the story seems to be a test of overcoming fear for both Spider-Man and Kraven. Something better than fist fodder.

I will not reveal the end of the story but as a kid it did mark my notice of comics’ mature themes. Characters do die permanent deaths. Suicide. Pretty ladies do get killed and eaten. Reading on my bed, I enjoyed it for its beautiful 1987 art. I particularly enjoyed the take on Spider-Man’s and Kraven’s nightmares. The panels were drawn very well.

It was a dark story. And the rain depicted that somber mood very capably!

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