For many people, Kraven's Last Hunt revealed just how interesting Sergei Kravinoff can be. Despite what some may think, he's so much more than just a hunter in a silly costume who's obsessed with Spider-Man. When he did finally defeat Parker and proved to himself he's better than the hero, he took his own life. To him, there was no accomplishment greater than being Spidey's superior. That's right, Doctor Octopus, Kraven beat you to it.
Years later, Grim Hunt resurrected the villain. Just like many others, I was skeptical about this story. How can you top the brilliant Kraven's Last Hunt and undo its ending in a way that'll stay true to the character? Thankfully, it was a worthy follow-up and, because of how he was brought back to life, Kraven cannot take his own life yet again. Before his resurrection, he was incredibly formidable. Not only was he a gifted hand-to-hand combatant with an extensive knowledge of pressure points (Parker can vouch for that), but he's physically superior to humans. He can run in bursts of 60 miles per hour, lift around 2 tons, has the agility required to not eat Spider-Man's dust and the durability required to withstand a number of the webhead's impressive punches. Basically, he's a tough dude; not just a human fighting way out of his weight class like some seem to think. But his resurrection gave him a new advantage: immortality.
Kraven can survive any wound and recover at an accelerated rate. He's been stabbed in the heart twice and even assaulted by the Hulk. Only a fatal blow from Peter Parker (or one of his clones) can end his life. To some, this power would be a blessing. To him, it's a curse. He died on his own terms and didn't want to come back. Now, he's destined to live forever because Spider-Man and even Kaine refused to end his life, once and for all. Technically, Kaine did kill him, but he jump-started Kraven's heart shortly afterwards. However, this did not lift the curse because UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #1 confirms Sergei is still, for the most part, unkillable.
It's understandable why this development would take a toll on his emotions. He found happiness and determined how his life would end. Now -- against his will -- he was brought back to life and cannot return to the eternal sleep he desires. Control of his life is no longer in his hands. He tried to resolve this in the pages of BLACK PANTHER: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR and SCARLET SPIDER, but nothing worked. Let's take a minute to really give this some proper thought. The guy is all about challenging himself and overcoming the most difficult obstacles possible. On Marvel's Earth, Spider-Man isn't exactly at the top of the food chain. That isn't a jab at Peter, just a fact. Spidey's blend of speed, agility, strength and determination makes him a worthy opponent, but there's more powerful characters out there and plenty who offer totally different kinds of challenges. Seeing as Kraven can recover from any wound and he's an intelligent man, this should motivate him to seek out new challenges. Wolverine may be deceased (for now), but what about Sabretooth? Or Elektra? Or how about the former members of the Sinister Six? This dude's bucket list should be the length of a Game of Thrones book because, when it comes to worthy combatants, there's countless options on the planet.
Squirrel Girl gave him the epiphany he truly needed. "Stop chasing death and instead chase bigger challenges." I don't think any of us expected that realization to come from such a lighthearted series, but there you have it. Seeing as All-New Marvel is going to take place on Battleword, this seems like the perfect time for a Kraven series. This planet would be paradise for Kraven. Every country will offer completely different challenges and tons of story potential. One day he could be taking on the X-Men (something he did a long time ago), the next he could be in Old Man Logan's twisted country or observing targets in the Planet Hulk region. Better yet, imagine him in the Age of Apocalypse! Only the strong survive, yes? Seems fitting for this fellow. While the announcement of Battleworld seems to have fans pretty divided, this is something that would be thrilling to Sergei and offer endless hunts. He always wants to test himself and this is the best place to do just that.
"That sounds pretty fun, but wouldn't a book that's just pure action get repetitive?" That's a valid point, random reader! No series should become formulaic, and even though there's a huge diversity of targets for him, it would still be "In this chapter, Kraven hunts *insert name here*!" But there's more to Kraven than just the hunt; there's also his family.
There were once many Kravinoffs. Sergei had a wife, Sasha, and three children: Vladimir, Alyosha and Ana. Out of that group, only Ana remains and she wants nothing more than to prove to her father that she is worthy of the Kravinoff name. This means the series won't only focus on Kraven pushing himself, it'll also focus on him attempting to be a mentor. It's like a slightly twisted version of the dynamic over in BATMAN AND ROBIN. An entire arc could focus on Sergei stepping back and seeing what Ana is capable of on her own. Has he trained her well enough? How will he react to her victory or failure? Can an extended relationship even last between these two? There's plenty of ways the story can go. As many of you probably know, he also has a half-brother: Chameleon. He probably shouldn't be a reoccurring character, but there's definitely multiple possibilities with him as well.
In a perfect world, the current creative team behind ELEKTRA would be on this title. W. Haden Blackman has taken a familiar story and filled it with so much creativity. These hunts would be full of imagination and exploring the countries would be both gripping and insightful. There's no doubt he'd give these characters plenty of depth, too. Meanwhile, Michael Del Mundo's pages are nothing short of brilliant and he'd do a stunning job bringing the various settings and action scenes to life.
Is a Kraven series likely to happen? Probably not. I can't imagine the publisher having a lot of confidence in its ability to sell well, no matter how talented the creative team may be. But maybe -- just maybe -- an exciting and engaging enough story could win them over. It has the potential to tell a great story while also showcasing everything that Marvel's all-new world has to offer. Even if it lasts less than 20 issues, having a short and sweet story is much better than not having one at all.