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Comic Book: Kraven's Last Hunt
Kraven's Last Hunt, or Fearful Symmetry, is a 1987 crossover series between various Spider-Man titles regarding his last battle with Kraven the Hunter. It spans Web of Spider-Man #31-32, The Amazing Spider-Man #293-294 and The Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132.

Sergei Kravinoff, aka Kraven the Hunter, had been a major member of Spider-Man's rogues gallery for years, if not a persistent one, even more so than his half-brother the Chameleon; the first supervillain Spider-Man fought, and the one who brought Spider-Man to Kraven's attention in the first place. Since the '70s however, he'd diminished somewhat. The story was originally not a Spider-Man story at all, but a Wonder Man story of all things. Writer J.M. DeMatteis claims the original idea started with the concept of being buried alive. In the original version, Wonder Man would have been buried alive by his brother the Grim Reaper. Realizing the concept didn't work so well with Wonder Man, DeMatteis tried to rework it as a Batman story featuring the Joker, but some other story called The Killing Joke was in development then. DeMatteis eventually settled on Spider-Man and Kraven as the major players in addition to a creation of his: Vermin.

Spider-Man has just returned from his honeymoon with Mary Jane Watson. For whatever reason, he cannot shake a feeling of unease that doesn't seem to stem from his spider-sense. Encountering Kraven, Spider-Man tries to make light of the situation, but still can't shake the dread, especially when he sees the deranged look in Kraven's eyes, and the rifle in his hands.

Kraven shoots, and the webhead quickly loses consciousness. Kraven holds a small funeral for his enemy on his estate, and buries Spider-Man. Needing to completely defeat him beyond killing him, Kraven then dons a copy of Spider-Man's then-black costume note  and masquerades as Spider-Man. When he saves Mary Jane from a group of muggers, she knows instantly he's not her husband. Kraven also captures the rat-creature Vermin, who Spider-Man had helped Captain America defeat before.

But Spider-Man isn't dead. Kraven shot him with horse tranquilizer and buried him alive. Just barely managing to avoid panicking, Spider-Man digs his way out just before his air runs out. Understandably shaken and staggering, he still makes it to his apartment to assure Mary Jane that he's alive and goes to confront Kraven. Spider-Man finds Kraven and Vermin, who has been tortured by the Hunter. Spider-Man attacks Kraven, but he doesn't fight back, considering his point made. Kraven then demands that Spider-Man and Vermin fight, but Spider-Man walks away disgusted. Kraven releases Vermin, who attacks Spider-Man, thinking he's the one who captured and tortured him. Kraven stops Vermin from killing Spider-Man and lets him go free, telling Spider-Man that he can pursue him if he wishes, but Kraven has hunted his last.

Spider-Man tracks down and outwits Vermin and returns home to Mary Jane. Kraven returns to his home, muses at the peace he feels, and commits suicide.

Trope examples in Kraven's Last Hunt include:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: It's hard not to feel sorry for Kraven as he kills himself.
  • Arc Welding: A decade later, this crossover became important again because it created a span of time that Peter can't account for his whereabouts... meaning he had no alibi for the murders committed by his deranged clone Kaine.
  • Arc Words: Several:
    • Quotations from William Blake's "The Tyger" are spread all throughout the storyline. Its alternate title is even "Fearful Symmetry."
    • "Look at his eyes."
    • "They said my mother was insane."
  • Ate His Gun: Kraven, poor Kraven.
  • Buried Alive: This makes for one of the scariest Spider-Man stories out there.
  • Death Is Cheap: Kraven did stay dead for a long time, rivaling the time Norman Osborn spent dead, but recently his family revived him against his will.
  • Famous Last Words: Kraven goes out with the words "They say my mother... was insane."
  • Not Quite Dead: Spider-Man wasn't shot with a bullet, just horse tranquilizer.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: As Spider-Man points out, Kraven's never been a gun man, he's always wanted to beat Spider-Man with either his own bare hands or more primitive weapons.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Vermin. Spider-Man's inner monologe recalls how it's Baron Zemo's fault.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: Spider-Man refuses to play Kraven's games because of this.
The Night Gwen Stacy DiedFranchise/Spider-ManMaximum Carnage
JMS' Spider-ManMarvel Comics SeriesMaximum Carnage

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