Caught in Spidey's Web: Who is Kraven the Hunter?
Short on time? Here are some quick facts about the Spidey Super-Villain!
What is it like to be hunted? Well, not ideal if you should happen to end up the target of Sergei Kravinoff, aka Kraven the Hunter, one of Spider-Man's most dastardly villains.
What makes Kraven so deadly? Let's dive into some quick facts about the brutal game hunter below!
Kraven the Hunter, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, made his debut back in 1964 in the pages of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15.
The son of Russian aristocrats, Sergei Kravinoff was orphaned following his parents' deaths. He was haunted by images of the squalid, spider-infested asylum his mother was remanded in. Sergei survived thanks to his wits and cunning, and discovered his hunting prowess in Africa.
During his stay in Africa, he stole an herbal potion that enhanced his physical abilities, such as strength, speed, and agility. and decelerated his aging process. Bored with hunting large game, and arriving in New York City after an invitation from Chameleon, Kraven set his sights on the the web-slinging Spider-Man, in order to restore honor to the Kravinoff family name.
It's with these mystical herbal potions that Kraven periodically ingests that he is able to maintain his super-human prowess. But make no mistake, he is a worthy adversary even without these enhancements.
He's able to lift 2 tons, sprint short distances at 60 mph, and can perform a standing broad jump of 20 feet. While he is masterful at a range of hunting weapons such as blowguns, darts, axes, spears, whips, war clubs, and traps, he prefers to fight with his bare hands.
He has also wielded a leopard claw glove with a 'jungle scent' spray that's able to numb Spider-Man's spider-senses, and his nerve punch attack has been known to paralyze Spidey and Tigra.
Kraven the Spider
During "Kraven's Last Hunt," Kraven the Hunter plots the ultimate act to best his long-time foe, Spider-Man. He shoots, and unknown to him, buries Spidey alive.
Donning the costume himself, Kraven adopts the alias 'The Spider,' patrols the city, and sets out to prove himself the better hero. As the Spider, Kraven defeats Vermin, who began ingesting people in the city, without the aid of Captain America. Previously, Peter was only able to beat Vermin the first time they faced off with Cap's help. After some time in the coffin, the real Spider-Man awakens and is determined to hunt Kraven after learning about his exploits while masquerading as the Spider.
While facing Spidey, Kraven does not fight back. In his eyes, he had already succeeded in besting Spidey and becoming the better Spider. He has proven himself Superior, and with his code of honor, he states this was his 'last hunt,' and then takes his own life as there was nothing left to prove.
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A Family Affair
Kraven soon began hunting Spidey as a pack. We already met Chameleon, Kraven's half-brother Dmitri Smerdyakov, in Sergei's debut issue, who has long been an original Spidey foe.
There is his wife Sasha, sons Vladimir (Grim Hunter), Nedrocci, and Alyosha (his son with a mutant, and who would become the second Kraven the Hunter following his father's demise), and daughter Ana, who also adopted her father's name Kraven at one point. Unable to accept Sergei's death, Sasha and Ana vowed revenge on Spider-Man, who they blame for this death. They became obsessed with killing Spidey, but were fortunately never successful.
It was during "The Grim Hunt" that the Kravinoffs decided to hunt the Spiders, using them as part of her blood sacrifice necessary to resurrect her late son Vladimir and late husband Sergei. Sasha kidnapped Madame Web (Cassandra Webb) and murdered Spider-Woman (Mattie Franklin). Spidey needed the help of Arachne (Julia Carpenter), Araña (Anya Corazon), Ezekiel (who turned out to be Chameleon in disguise), and even Kaine to keep the family at bay. However, the ritual corrupted because the blood ritual sacrificed Kaine, who was masquerading as Spidey, resulted in Kraven's 'unlife.' He asks Spidey to end his life honorably; however, Julia as the new Madame Web promises that killing Kraven will lead to a grim future.
Defeated and spared by Spidey, the Kravinoff escape to the Savage Land where Sergei demands his family to prove themselves worthy of the Kravinoff family name. He kills Sasha and euthanizes Vladimir out of respect for the dead. Alyosha leaves, and Ana tells her father that he has to train her if she manages to kill her brother.
Assembling the Sinister Six
Frustrated with the consistent defeat at the hands of Spidey, Doc Ock teams up with every Super Villain who has crossed paths with the wall-crawler. Along with Sandman, Vulture, Electro, Mysterio, and Kraven the Hunter, they formed the Sinister Six. On their venture, Kraven boldly exclaimed, "Each of us almost beat him, all alone! Working together, how can we fail?"
With the ego-driven need of personal glory, each of the contentious Six could only agree to attack the web-slinger individually, which ultimately lead to their defeat and imprisonment, despite Peter Parker not in possession of his powers during that time.
Kraven the Avenger
The past comes crashing into the present as the secret history of Nick Fury and the Avenger Initiative has come to haunt the New Avengers in the modern day.
In 1959, Nick Fury spent his time hunting down Nazi war criminals when the President asked him to put together a new team, known as the Avengers Initiative, for a special secret mission. Who did he and his partner Dum Dum Dugan assemble? Well, they corralled Sabretooth (Victor Creed), Namora the Atlantean princess, her boyfriend Kraven the Hunter, monster hunter Ulysses Bloodstone, Dominic Fortune, and Silver Sable (Ernst Sablinova) to track down Red Skull, who was assembling ex-Nazis.
Turns out, it was a Red Skull imposter, and this Skull managed to create his own twisted version of Captain America. Following their mission, Fury disbanded the group and soon discovered the Skull's briefcase, which contained the Super Soldier Serum and the Infinity Formula, which the Red Skull imposter used to create their twisted Cap, with plans of creating a powerful super army.
Kraven, bestie to Squirrel Girl
If you can't imagine Kraven being besties with Squirrel Girl, then you don't know a thing about Miss Doreen Green. Having crossed paths several times before, they developed a mutual respect for one another. In fact, Doreen believes deep down there is good within Kraven.
Instead of kicking his butt, Squirrel Girl tries to get at the root of Kraven's problem — Spidey. She proposes that he can't beat Spidey, but that he can't lose to him either. If he has to continue through life unable to die or earn the death he thinks he deserves, it's time he seeks out more dangerous prey. Because Spidey ain't it, mate. New mission: hunt underwater monsters. Giganto, Kraken, giant squids. It's time to take to the sea.
Later on, Squirrel Girl has Kraven join her and her friends in a couple of hangs, including partaking in an escape room. To cement their friendship, Doreen reveals her civilian identity to Kraven (but he already knew).
Ruining the mood, the local authorities ended up arresting Squirrel Girl, Kraven, and their friends for resisting arrest. While on trial, Squirrel Girl and her friends were able to prove their innocence, whereas Kraven could not prove himself a not-guilty person. Doreen tried to convince Kraven to become her crime-fighting partner to show his goodness, but he declined in order to work on himself on his own terms. All's not lost though, because he told her he'll take her up on her offer at another time.
Kraven's Latest Adventure
Kraven returns with this month's release of THE MIGHTY VALKYRIES #2, and he has his sights on Jane Foster, who he believes can help him track down the Asgardian god Managarmr, the child of Fenris the wolf and grandchild of the God of Mischief Loki, who is also chasing the god on Midgard.
As Kraven continues to stalk Jane Foster on Midgard, who will Jane decide to trust — Managarmr or his grandfather Loki? What are Kraven's plans for Managarmr? Find out in THE MIGHTY VALKYRIES #3, in stores on June 16!
Now what are you waiting for, head over to Marvel Unlimited and start diving into the many Kraven the Hunter adventures on there!
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