Kraven the Hunter is one of my favorite Spider-Man villains. I admire his lion-face vest, his zebra belt, his leopard tights and his cute green booties.
Sergei Kravinoff was considered by many (especially himself) to be the greatest hunter in the world. If it was alive and worthy, he hunted it, from big game animals to great cats to superheroes. Kraven was particularly fixated on Spider-Man, who cleaned his clock on more than one occasion. Kraven even helped start the Sinister Six hoping that with a little help he could say he defeated Spider-Man, but it never really happened for him.
Eventually, Kraven lost his shit and decided it wasn’t enough to just beat Spider-Man, he had to BECOME Spider-Man. Thus kicked off the “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline, which was pretty dark for Spider-Man, wherein Kraven “kills” Spider-Man and assumes his identity, running around New York crippling and killing criminals in an attempt to fully understand what it means to be the ultimate predator, The Spider. Then he eats a gun and blows his own head off. End credits.
The story, which ran through three Spider-Man titles back in 1987, was actually pretty good, and is considered one of the best Spidey stories of all time. Some have criticized its dark tone as being Marvel’s response to the critical acclaim of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen, both published by DC the previous year. Maybe there is some truth to that. It’s certainly more adult in nature than what Marvel was publishing at the time, and it was set in the general continuity of the Marvel Universe. I liked it because it was drawn by Mike Zeck (Secret Wars, Punisher), and I love me some Mike Zeck art.
Since Kraven’s demise, which as far as I know is still permanent, his mantle was taken up by his son, Alyosha. I know nothing about Alyosha Kravinoff, so check Wikipedia if you want to know more.
Anyway, I actually wasn’t kidding when I said I like Kraven as a character. He’s definitely a second-stringer in the Spider-verse, a tier down from Green Goblin, Doc Ock and Venom (who I can’t stand). He’s more on the level of Rhino, Electro and Scorpion, but he has a unique charm all his own.
Kraven doesn’t technically have any super-powers, but through ingestion of rare herbal potion he can do some pretty cool things. He was able to run super-fast for long periods of time. He was also an Olympic-level athlete and a superb fighter, who preferred archaic weapons like knives and spears over guns (which he considered dishonorable). He was the greatest hunter in the world, able to track his quarry using enhanced senses, much like Wolverine. His aging process was slowed dramatically; at the time of his suicide, Kraven was over 70 years of age, but was in the peak physical condition of a man in his 30’s.
Kraven is one of the villains in the old TSR Marvel Super Heroes adventure Lone Wolves, which I will shortly be converting to Super Mission Force. In other words, I had several reasons to do what I did, which is repaint a Kraven Heroclix miniature.
Over the years, Kraven has had several Heroclix sculpts. Above is the original version, from the Critical Mass set. I removed him from his dial and stuck him on a base. To be clear: this is the original paint job and NOT my work. This is what came out of the blister pack back in 2003.
Here is my repaint. I decided to give him some real knives instead of the weenie dagger he had strapped to his thigh. I got rid of that, then I put some old GW space marine knives in his hands and sculpted some sheaths out of Magic Sculpt. I considered giving him a spear, but I think his two-fisted knives look pretty good.
Here is my Super Mission Force build for Kraven the Hunter:
Kraven (Brawler) Major: Scrapper, Minor: Fast, Super Agility
(I gave him Fast because Kraven can reportedly run as fast as a cheetah for short periods of time, and this increases his Move to a 13, which I think fits. I could swap it out for Enhanced Senses; either one would work.)