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Kraven's Last Hunt - Book Review

As with all reviews on this website, our goal is not to provide a complete overview of the book; rather, it is to examine how the book relates to the meaning of life.

Kraven's Last Hunt is a marvel comic book collection which features a final battle between Kraven and Spider-Man. The series was written by J. M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck and published in 1987.

Some sources place this book in the top five all-time greatest Spider-Man collections, and it is easy to see why. Love, marriage, death, revenge, psychedelics, and even suicide. Although we won't give a complete overview of the story in this blog, we will take a look at the parts where the characters touch upon what gives their lives meaning.

First up we have Iron Man, but not this is not Tony Stark, it is his brother Arno Stark. Before everything goes a bit wonky and his inventions are about to destroy the world, he states that investing his father's fortune in Stark's designs gives his life meaning. After all, he has quite a few threats from which to save humanity ... or destory it if he's not careful.

Later in the series we meet Alistair Alphonso Smythe, the inventor of the infamous line of robot Spider Slayers. His father dies as a result of trying to eliminate Spider-Man, so Alistair follows in his father's footsteps, follows in his cause, and believes that his Spider Slayers will provide true meaning to his life. This isn't the first time we've seen villains with tainted or #evil purposes.

Finally, we have Kraven the Hunter, who inspired the upcoming film of the same title. In this work, we see Kraven hell bent not on killing Spider-Man, but proving that he is superior to Spider-Man in every way. He imbues sketchy roots and potions—psychedelics, which allows him to see into the soul of the spider, or lack thereof. The essence of the spider, real or not, strikes fear into both our conscious and subconscious.

Spider-Man is buried alive by Kraven, and “Peter Parker” can either claw his way back to life, back to what he loves, what he finds meaningful, or succumb to the eternal darkness we call death. Peter fights his way back to life (of course), back to M.J., his wife, his love. But after briefly reuniting with her, he is off to confront Kraven, to get his revenge.

Kraven refuses to fight, declaring that he has already proved that he was superior to Spider-Man in every way. He even beat Vermin, another villain in which Spider-Man couldn't beat alone. Having beat Spider-Man, having beat Vermin, having found meaning only in the hunt, but having nothing left to hunt, nothing left to live for, Kraven commits suicide after believing he has accomplished all there is to accomplish, having not spirit left to live.

Kraven’s suicide did cause controversy, as some viewed it as glorifying something that should not be glorified. Yet, it misses the point, misses the deeper meaning of the story—and in some respect, gives the story a perfect ending—a true ending. Not every story can have a happy Hollywood ending, and this is why the series is one of the best in the Spiderverse.

If you read the series, what did you think? What did we miss? Comment below and let us know. It is interesting to see four very different characters, touch upon four very different views on what gave their life meaning.

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