Marvel has a lot of interesting villains. From cosmic heavy-hitters like Thanos to criminal masterminds like the Kingpin, there are a lot of foes who are full of story potential. But, believe it or not, my favorite fiend is one of Spider-Man’s longtime enemies: Sergei Kravinoff, a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter – okay, I guess it’s probably not that hard to believe if you’ve read the title of the article. In fact, I like the guy so much that this is my second time writing about why I think he deserves a comic – the reason is different this time around, though – and, I kid you not, I recently bought myself a bust of the character as an early wedding gift for myself!
To some, Kraven’s a man in a silly costume that occasionally gets punched in the face by Spidey. But to me, he’s a more complex villain – a man who clearly isn’t a good guy (despite technically once being an Avenger!), but he still has his own code of honor. He’s not the kind of guy who wants to blow up a city or take over the world – his stories are smaller in scale and character-driven. He simply wants to be proud of himself and his family. He wants them to be courageous, strong, and able to overcome any obstacle in their way. But what if he wanted to change his ways and use his talents for something more noble? The latest issue of Howard the Duck has placed Kraven on the path to becoming an antihero, and now it’s up to Marvel to capitalize on this story! Yes, the comic focused on being a hilarious comedy, but there’s a legitimately awesome possibility with the character here!
Kraven took his own life back in the phenomenal story Kraven’s Last Hunt because he felt complete, and now – against his own will, obviously – he’s been brought back to life. To make matters even worse, because of the way he was resurrected, only the wall-crawler (or one of his clones) can end Sergei’s life, once and for all. So, the villain went through a period of attempting – and failing – to return to his eternal rest. This journey brought him into conflict with Black Panther and Storm, Scarlet Spider, Venom, and even the Hulk. These were all entertaining stories, but it was unclear what direction the publisher could take with Kraven and his deadly daughter, Ana. Will Sergei keep seeking death? Will he focus on training his daughter?
Back in Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1, Squirrel Girl gave Kraven an epiphany: If he can’t be killed, why not go after more dangerous targets? After all, Spider-Man – despite his impressive abilities and intellect – is hardly the most formidable being on Earth (Firelord may disagree with that statement, though). Kraven and his daughter seeking out new challenges would have been a terrific limited series in the right hands, but now the character has been set in a different direction, and he once again has Squirrel Girl to thank for it. Kraven realizes he should stop going after “prey”, and start going after the people who prey on others. He shall become… Kraven, the Hunter of Hunters!
Remember when I said Kraven has a code of honor? That’s what makes it believable that Kraven could at least attempt to change his ways. He’s lived a life full of hunting and hurting others, but now he has the chance to help others. He’s still far from being a hero (he abruptly killed his own wife and then, despite feeling bad about it, killed one of his sons), but the potential to slowly change – or at least try to – is definitely there, and that’s something I’d love to see.
His daughter would make things even more interesting. Not only do you have a character study featuring Kraven, but now there’s also Ana who firmly believes that she must be like the person her father was. She’s dangerous, tactical, and cold (except to her father) – she killed her own brother, and even acted playful about it! Can Kraven eventually convince her to change her ways, or will she fight him every step of the way and be the one who prevents him from becoming a better man?
A Kraven limited series would focus on the struggle between a father and daughter, a man trying to better himself, a girl conflicted about what kind of person she could become, and, of course, a whole lot of battling as Kraven and Ana starts to set their sights on other villains. If Marvel wants to make this happen, that would be great and I’ll happily consider it as the publisher’s wedding gift to me! And if they want to have the creative team behind Old Man Logan (Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, Marcelo Maiolo), the latest Elektra run (Haden Blackman, Mike Del Mundo), or J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck work on the title, well, that would just be all kinds of amazing.
The views expressed herein are solely those of the writer, and not Midtown Comics. Additionally, Midtown Comics makes no representations as to the accuracy of any of the information expressed herein.