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on 1 April 2017
As expected and reasonable delivery
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VINE VOICEon 27 September 2014
One of the aspects of Spider-Man that made him so appealing was always his rogues' gallery. Like Batman and Doctor Who, Spidey has such a colourful and prestigious cast of enemies that have expanded on his world and made for so many classic stories.

At the top of the chain, you have the likes of the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Venom, followed by such inspired super-villains like the Vulture, Sandman, the Lizard, Electro, Mysterio, Carnage, Rhino, the Hobgoblin, Morlun, the Kingpin, Chameleon...then you'd come to worthy additions like Tombstone, Hammerhead, the Shocker, the Beetle...then before finally arriving at the ATROCIOUS ones like the Jackal, Spidercide, Silvermane, the Kangaroo(!), the Looter, Boomerang...oh, dear...

So where exactly do I rank Kraven the Hunter in this context? To be honest, I always found him something of a dull, unappealing villain, bordering on goofy. For a creation of Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, I felt he was one of the mainstays of Spidey's rogues gallery that was undeserving of his status. He may have been a proud member of the Sinister Six, but really, he stuck out like a sore thumb. The only time I actually liked Kraven was his depiction in the 1994 Spider-Man Animated Series, which successfully portrayed him in a more heroic (and plausible) light.

However, it's stories like Kraven's Last Hunt that justify why the character has become so revered, and why he's ultimately entitled to his place in Spider-Man's rogues' gallery. Legendary writer J.M. DeMatteis saw the character's potential, and realized it into not just the single-greatest Kraven story, but one of the greatest Spider-Man classics of all time.

At this point in time, Kraven (though still somewhat formidable) is past his prime. His health is failing, he's older and slower, and he has nothing to show for his life and career, regarded by many as a failure. Determined to go out in a blaze of glory, he embarks on one final crusade to cement his legacy. To prove himself the superior of Spider-Man.

DeMatteis has written some of the most deeply psychological & emotional tales in comics (such as the classic Spectacular Spider-Man #200 which saw the death of Harry Osborn), so the man's creative genius goes without question. What DeMatteis did with Kraven the Hunter, though...may well be the crowning achievement of his entire career.

One of the reasons why I never really cared for Kraven before was because no real insight into his history had been provided. DeMatteis here took time to give readers a look into his family life, his mindset, his ill-health, all his failures and how little he has to show for his life now he's at death's door. By showcasing this, and emphasizing his obsession for personal honour and validation, the reader immediately develops sympathy and understanding for Kraven.

Yes, Kraven is insane, but there's definitely method to his madness, and the way he goes about wanting to be remembered as the man who truly defeated Spider-Man is not just horrific and shocking, it's powerful genius. As fellow reviewers have said, there's no such thing as `heroes & villains' here, only extraordinary individuals with their own inner demons to conquer.

Of course, Spidey gets just as much focus as Kraven here, and what he suffers here is absolutely horrific and unbelievable! We see a side to the wall-crawler we're very rarely subjected to, and the highly-emotional strain placed upon him, Mary Jane and their marriage make the tale all-the-more of a heart-filled rollercoaster. Even the character of Vermin (one of the most obscure villains ever-created) is used prominently, evoking such pity from the reader towards the poor, unfortunate creature. The sheer humanity and emotional-focus that the writer delivers here is boundless!

Mike Zeck's artwork contributes perfectly to the tale being such a classic. It reflects the dark, emotional writing; everything from the mood to character expressions, with the high-points being the dramatic fight-sequences between Kraven, Spidey and Vermin. Nothing has been wasted at all, and the pacing is as perfect as everything else!

Of course, Kraven's Last Hunt is tarnished somewhat by the recent resurrection of the character (which was as unnecessary as retconning the Peter/MJ marriage), but the tale itself remains Kraven's finest hour and one of the greatest story-arcs ever for not just Spider-Man, but comics as whole. Historians and fans alike will not be disappointed.
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on 25 January 2013
The last time I read `Kraven's Last Hunt', I was probably still a teenager, and it immediately became one of my favourite comic book stories ever. At that time, I'd never read a superhero comic quite so harrowing or, indeed, literary. I was already a big J.M. DeMatteis fan from his `Amazing Spider-Man' run, and the `Justice League International' run he co-wrote with Keith Griffin, but this particular story was enough to make Mr. DeMatteis my first serious "favourite comic book writer ever". However, that was many years ago, back in the innocent old days when I thought that `Maximum Carnage' was a great story and that Todd McFarlane was a genius writer. Since then, I've discovered Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Grant Morrison, et al, so I re-read this book with some trepidation in that I might be ruining something which I once looked up to so highly. However, while it certainly isn't `Watchmen' level stuff (not that it was ever trying to be), and it's definitely a lot weirder than I remember it being, I'm happy to say that it's still a bloody good read.

`Kraven's Last Hunt' originally began publication during the tail-end of the lifespan of `Watchmen' which, along with `Batman: The Dark Knight Returns', came along out of nowhere and revolutionised superheroes by being all "adult" and "realistic". However, they didn't really "come out of nowhere" like many people suggest. Rather they were, along with `Kraven's Last Hunt' and many other titles, part of a long list of bold new superhero stories which didn't have to worry about the infamous Comics Code Authority. `Kraven's Last Hunt' takes our newly-married (at the time) Spider-Man and, for the first time ever, has him seriously question his own mortality and his human vulnerability. Kraven, whom up to that point was a third-rate villain nobody cared about, is explored to his fullest and shown to be a truly mad, but hopelessly tragic, figure.

This story definitely isn't perfect. Sometimes, when DeMatteis really pokes into Spider-Man's mind, things can get quite overblown and jarring. The morbidity of the whole thing really takes some getting used to, even in this day and age when "grim and gritty" superheroes are the norm. But it isn't all doom and gloom. This is very much a story about hope in the face of unrelenting adversity, and despite its weirdness at times, it's one of the most "human" superhero comics I've ever read. But, as much as my teenage self would have loved it to, I'm afraid that it doesn't quite make it onto that small list of "essential" superhero graphic novels that you absolutely must read before you die, like `Watchmen', `The Dark Knight Returns' and Frank Miller's `Daredevil'. It is undoubtedly, however, one of the best Spider-Man stories in that character's history, and definitely worth a look.
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on 21 May 2001
This book (Which sees Spider-Man square off against Kraven one last time, with the Vermin getting caught up in the fight) is not just a good comic, it's one of the greatest pieces of literature of modern times. There are none of the two dimensional characters we have grown to expect from comics. From the first few frames, where we see the nobleman Kravenov destroying stuffed animals in his lair, we get a feeling that there's something deeper going on here.
To say that this is a good-guy versus bad-guy story is woefully inaccurate. The real "bad-guys" are the inner demons that torture each of the three main characters. The real hero of the story is Kraven. He is a man who spent his life in serch of the honour he feels is his birthright. That life is coming to an end and he has one chance left to claim his honour, he must destroy Spider-Man. The way he chooses to do this will leave you speechless.
J.M. DeMatteis' story of fallen honuor is flawless. I have never before seen such quality in a mainsteam comic. However, the best comic-book stories in the world can be reduced to blandness by bad artwork. Fortunately the artwork in Kraven's Last Hunt (By Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod) is every bit as powerful as the story. At times it feels like you're watching a movie rather than reading a book.
In short i'll just say that it's impossible to reveiw this book and do it justice. There is something in it for everyone to enjoy, even those who hate comics. If you only read one comic-book in you life, make sure it's this one.
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on 9 March 2012
I am an avid DC fan so I'm not that familiar with marvel, this was my first spiderman book I've ever read. It was amazing, the art was great, I love the era and the story was fantastic. So I would recommend this to anybody.
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on 5 December 2015
Not a bad read at all. Quite dark at times and a bit werid but should be read by any spiderman fan.

It is one of the greatest spidey stories told that's what got me intrested to read it.
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on 4 January 2013
Kraven, a long-time Spidey villain, decides that he will hunt Spider-man as apparently Spider-man is the last creature he's been looking to defeat. But he also wants to prove that he's a better Spider-man than Spider-man - for some reason.

That's pretty much the set-up but with a title like "Kraven's Last Hunt", something decisive is likely to happen like a death of sorts and seeing as the cover has Spidey climbing out of a grave, I'm guessing it's not him who pops it.

So here follows a review with some 25 year old spoilers:

How familiar are you with Kraven? If the answer is "who?" chances are you won't be exactly impressed by his introduction in this book as J. M. DeMatteis doesn't spend much time on his character except for a brief backstory at the start where we find out he's a Russian nobleman exiled from his homeland who likes hunting a lot. Because there's very little of Spider-man in the book, this is the character we're left with who we're supposed to relate to, empathise with, etc. Except Kraven's a loony who eats spiders "to gain their strength!", is obsessed with "honour" for his family and sees him accomplishing this honour by killing a guy who dresses in a black Spider-man outfit (in this book Spidey's outfit is trés emo-black!). We're supposed to care about this guy? It's a very shallow character portrait.

After "killing" Spidey, Kraven becomes Spider-man for a while(!) by killing criminals instead of stringing them up with web fluid which in his mind makes him a better man because...? Also he doesn't have web shooters or can climb on walls so I don't see how he's Spider-man at all, he just has the outfit.

Then there's the third main character, Vermin, who's an obscure villain that's a rat/human experiment gone wrong who murders/eats women at night. In a previous story arc Spidey and Cap spent an entire book taking down this character; his inclusion in this book is simply for Kraven to defeat him as easily as he did Spidey thus making him "better" than Spider-man (what a dumb character!). But really Kraven defeats both characters far too easily to convincingly claim that he's a "better" anything, it's just plotted in this contrived fashion to give the character some validation before getting rid of him.

Spider-man's barely in this book so be prepared for a lot of boring Kraven and Vermin stuff before getting to Spidey's appearances. But when he does appear, it doesn't seem to be the real Spider-man. For instance, the first issue where Kraven defeats him? No way would Spider-man be defeated by a D-list villain so easily! And when he punches Kraven in the face? Kraven's head should've come off. How many times have we seen Spidey do incredible things because of his super-strength? Punching Kraven, an ordinary human with no powers, full force in the face like he does should've killed him.

In the end it didn't feel like a very substantial story and everything that lead Kraven to book his place on the bullet train felt very contrived. It's like wish-fulfilment for the villain before rubbing him out of the Marvel U. I was even hoping for a "and it was all a dream" kind of ending. We did see Kraven doing a load of hallucinatory drugs at the start, and it would explain how he was able to defeat Spidey and Vermin so easily. "Kraven's Last Hunt" isn't nearly as brilliant as others would suggest. It's not a very good Spider-man book and feels more like a bonkers acid trip. Definitely not something I would single out as a "classic".
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on 5 March 2013
Excelent, bought this item for my son. He loved it and has recommended it to his friends.
Well worth buying. Five Stars *****
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on 23 February 2015
A fascinating look at a villain driven over the edge of sanity. Seeing a villain finally snap is always interesting.
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on 30 December 2016
A great spider-man story, and a good end to Kraven's tale.
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