Book Club: Let’s Swing Into Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt

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Book Club Kraven's Last Hunt.

Throughout the month of June I’ve been asking people to read Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt so we could discuss it as part of the How to Love Comics Book Club!

For those who haven’t been paying attention or have just joined us this is essentially how it works:

  • I set a book at the end of the previous month.
  • We all go out out and read it.
  • And then come back and discuss it.

We’re now up to the discussion phase of the process. The part where you get to have your say and what you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about it in the comments below.

Before we get to the actual discussion I’ll lay down some ground rules, mostly for the sake of keeping the discussion friendly.

Book Club Rules

  1. Keep conversation friendly. You’re allowed to disagree with people, but do so in a way that is neither aggressive or belittling the person with different views or opinions.
  2. No trolling.
  3. Keep on topic.
  4. I have the right to delete any comments which break rules 1-3.
  5. Finally, have fun with discussion!

Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt TPB cover by Mike Zeck.

You can discuss Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt anyway you want but if you are looking for some talking points here are a few questions to help get you started.

  • What caused Kraven to act the way he did? Was it the drugs he was taking, pride, mental illness or a crisis of identity?
  • It’s insinuated that Peter Parker is buried for multiple weeks. Do you think that would be possible, even for Spidey?
  • Were you a fan of Mike Zeck’s art? Was there a page or panel that stood out for you?
  • The idea for this story originally was devised as a Wonder Man story and was even pitched a Batman/Joker story before it became Kraven’s Last Hunt. Do you think it could’ve been the same story if it was done with one of those characters?
  • Do you feel sorry for Kraven or Vermin at anytime throughout the story?
  • There is a heavy use of repetition throughout. Did it add impact to scenes or was it a waste of space?
  • Who was more savage – Kraven or Vermin?
  • Along with be a very dark comic there’s also some very surreal moments. Do these fit in with the story or do you think they felt out of place?
  • Kraven’s Last Hunt is a story about identity. Do you agree?
  • Why do you think Kraven to killed himself?
  • Who was the superior Spider-Man?

Over to you, jump down into the comments and let’s talk about Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt!

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Trevor Van As

Trevor Van As is the founder of How to Love Comics and has loved comics all his life. When he's not reading or talking about comics he can be found eating frozen yogurt and dancing like no one is watching.

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Comments (7)

    • Yeah, it was really creepy. If you were on the receiving end of that you would be terrified! It’s also scene that makes you want to sympathise with him as you remember he was human once.

  • This one of my favourite Spider-Man stories of all time. It’s so rich in metaphor and and a really solid story.

    Every time I read this my reasoning for why Kraven acted the way he did changes. Pride has a lot to do with it. Potentially, this created a level of delusion which justified these actions until he had a crisis of identity. I feel if he was able to get the help he needed he wouldn’t have killed himself. But, with the pride he had I doubt he would’ve ever seeked it.

    The only thing I find a bit of a stretch is for Spider-Man to be buried down in that coffin for 2 weeks. I guess it’s possible for him to survive that long if he was in a zombie state, but I don’t think he’d have enough energy to dig out of the grave. That being said, it’s a minor gripe.

    The way repetition is used in that scenario and then used again when he is crawling through the sewer pipe is fantastic. It builds tension and gives greater impact on an event which would be traumatic to anyone.

    Repetition was also great in showing the passing of time. Giving showing how long Spidey had been buried.

  • Sup guys. I was pretty excited for this, so before I start “talking” I feel it’s necessary to mention that I’ve always struggled to put my thoughts into words and express my opinion on something. Plus: English is not my native language. So please keep that in mind and don’t be too hard on me. 😉

    First and foremost: I found this book to be incredibly good. It was actually the first Spidey book I’ve ever read (at least the first book where he was the main character) and I’m not really a huge fan of him. Though I don’t dislike him either. Because of this I wasn’t biased when reading through this book.

    The first pointer you give in the article is a tough one for me to answer… I feel like the reason for him to act this way was because of a combination of pride and crisis of identity. His past must’ve played a huge role in his behaviour, too. Mental illness though? I’m not quite sure about that, to be honest. But I’m pretty sure that taking drugs was a means for him to be able to pull the things off and the reason for him doing these drugs was the combination of pride, crisis identity and process his past. If that makes any sense…

    To be able to answer your second pointer I’d be required to know a lot more about Spidey than I do. Therefore I’d just be able to guess.

    I liked the art pretty much. Very detailed and beautiful. I don’t remember any outstanding panels though to be honest.

    I don’t know Wonder Man, but I could imagine this happening between Batman and the Joker. That would be really awesome… Joker posing as Batman and killing off tons of bad guys. Oh boy I’d like to see that!

    Huh… I felt pretty bad for Vermin. First time being confronted with this character, didn’t know about him. But his back-/origin story was pretty sad, don’t you think?

    I think the surreal moments do fit in perfectly. After all you delve deep into the mind and psychology of both Peter and Kraven. Experiencing this must’ve been the most outstanding thing for me in this book which left me kinda breathless at times. So essentially seeing how parts of their brains work (don’t know how to describe this more accurately) stands in unison with witnessing surreal things. The repetitiveness further emphasizes how their thoughts circle around certain things over and over again before finally having a moment of clarity from which their further actions develop and thus the story coming to a conclusion.
    (Holy crap I don’t even know if this paragraph makes any sense :D)

    So who was the superior Spider-Man? This is based on how you’d define superiority when it comes to heroism I guess. Of course Kraven was way more ruthless than Spider-Man has ever been (a guess on my part since I – as already mentioned – don’t know very much about him) and would (maybe) be more successful in defeating evil in the end. The problem with his approach on doing this is that his actions are not compatible with human ethics because killing is considered a bad thing, even when the victim is a killer himself. That of course is debatable but the general consensus is that killing is a bad thing.

    So that being considered I think Peter is the superior Spider-Man, since in my opinion keeping your own demons in check when things get personal or emotional and doing the “right thing” although every impuls tells you otherwise is probably extremely hard. What I mean by this is for example putting the murderer of your wife in prison instead of killing him with your own hands.

    I think that’s it for now… I hope I wasn’t talking too much gibberish. I’m looking forward to all other contributions to this discussion. Feel free to criticize/correct me.

    – Chubby

    • I’m glad you liked the book and thanks for contributing!

      I think you’re right in regards to the drugs. They were seemed to be not so much the cause of his behaviour, but a way help him achieve his goals. Sort of like having a few beers before chatting up girls at a bar – but more extreme!

      I think it would’ve been a very interesting Batman story too. But I can see why it was rejected by DC. You’d never be allowed to have the Joker kill himself, plus he’s the kind of character which the less you go into his mind the better.

      I agree about Vermin. He had a pretty unfortunate situation.

      I agree that Peter Parker was the superior Spider-Man. Kraven defined his superiority through strength, but Peter was superior ethically and fit the ethos of Spider-Man.

      Considering Kraven had a crisis of identity, he would never truly become Spider-Man.

      PS: Don’t stress about your English, it was fine ?

      • Loved it. I’m pretty new to comics and in my limited reading so far I’ve yet to come across a comic that used repetition so much. Loved the panels of rats and spiders crawling over the grave and I liked how this changed to give a foretaste of the coming action. I liked the repeated panel of the guy digging the grave that Kraven was eventually laid to rest in – that was a real moment for me when I realised what it was for. In all, the use of repetition was for me quite sophisticated – I didn’t know comics could be that subtle or clever.

      • Glad to hear that you loved it, David! The spider/rat panels were great and were a simple way to represent Spider-Man and Vermin.

        The repetition gave the story additional impact. Do you think the story would have been as impactful without it?