Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #252

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Wildman (E-Mail)


His father was Kraven the Hunter. Now he's in New York to, in his own words, "see if the old adage proves true: like father, like son." Unfortunately for Spider-Man, Kraven seems every bit as good as his old dad. The K-ster has Spidey in his sights, and he's just pulled the trigger...

Story Details

...just as Spider-Man, barely conscious from the poison, leaps out of the way, the bullet piercing his left arm. Before he can counterattack, he's hogtied by Kraven's elephant and finally passes out. Meanwhile, Norman Osborn is meeting with a Dr. Mueller, whose specialty is "investigations into the nature of human suffering." After building him up for a few panels, Norman asks to fund an experiment to test the Doctor's theories about surviving by bringing hell to other people. Gee, I wonder who he has in mind? Anyway, by this time Spider-Man has awakened in Kraven's old brownstone, the place where he killed himself. Alyosha has taken the opportunity to bandage Spidey's arm wound and mix up a "jungle concoction" to restore him to full health, which he drinks after a moment's hesitation.

Spider-Man asks him what he is trying to do, and Kraven responds by acting like a wild animal, hopping onto the wet bar and howling like a wolf. (He never knew civilization.) This only lasts a moment, and afterwards he sinks into a chair and confides that he never really knew Sergei, his father. He swears that he didn't want to kill Spider-Man earlier, only that he needed to see his father "through your eyes." He begs Spider-Man to tell him what he knows of Sergei, and Spidey does so, admitting that Kraven had quickly become a joke to him until the events in "Kraven's Last Hunt," when Kraven buried him alive for two weeks in an attempt to prove he was the better man.

Suddenly, his Spider Sense goes off, and he and Kraven are unable to escape before a bomb detonates, killing all of Kraven's animals except the lion. Spider-Man and Kraven survive, of course, but are soon set upon by several native-looking men led by Calypso, who's more than a little upset over Kraven's treatment of her in issue #250. Enraged, Kraven tries to kill her but ends up with a snoot-full of voodoo dust, which completely immobilizes him. Calypso then forces Spider-Man to surrender by threatening Kraven's life, and then dusts him, too.

On a lighter note, the Grizzly and the Gibbon are making their first attempt at crime-fighting, driving through the city in... the Bearmobile! Unfortunately, the Bearmobile is short on the aqua gear that the Grizzly is expecting, which he discovers AFTER he's driven it off of a pier. Back at the Parker homestead, Aunt Anna is questioning Mary Jane a little too forcefully as to Peter's whereabouts that evening. MJ snaps, then tries to cover with a quick excuse that Anna doesn't buy. Instead, she thinks she's finally figured out the truth about Peter, "and it's time we got it out in the open!"

Peter, meanwhile, has been transported to the cemetery on the Kravinov estate with Alyosha, while Calypso takes a few moments to sentence them both to death before throwing more dust into their faces. As she dances over a gorgeous two-page spread, the dust enrages both Spidey and Kraven beyond reason, and she sets them loose, each wanting nothing more than to tear the other apart with their bare hands...

General Comments

Can you say "unstable," boys and girls? Wow. Well, I have to admit that this was not what I was expecting. Kraven, Jr. certainly appears to be a lot more psychotic than both his father and the rather boring Grim Hunter. His entire personality can change at the flip of a switch, and while this makes for some good surprises, it keeps me from getting a read on who this man really is and what he wants. It sure held my attention, though. Nicely done.

Overall Rating

This new Kraven is kick-ass mean. Four webs.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Wildman (E-Mail)