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Who Is Kraven the Hunter? A Guide to One of Spider-Man’s Greatest Villains

Sergei Kravinoff (a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter) in Marvel Comics

Spider-Man stands out from other Marvel heroes for several reasons, including his relatability and desire to do good. However, another unique aspect of Spider-Man is the impressive bevy of arch-enemies he has built up throughout his history. He is almost on par with DC’s Batman when it comes to superheroes with the largest stable of enemies. Spider-Man’s biggest arch-enemies are Venom (Eddie Brock), Green Goblin (Norman Osborn), and Doctor Octopus. However, Vulture, Kraven the Hunter, Morbius, Electro, Prowler, Mysterio, Sandman, and many more are also prominent recurring villains in the Spidey-Verse.

With Spider-Man boasting such a fruitful array of villains, Sony constructed their Spider-Man Universe (SSU) to explore the stories of some of his most notable enemies. So far, Sony has introduced Venom (Tom Hardy) and Morbius (Jared Leto) to the SSU. This year, the studio is set to introduce another new villain to the universe of Spider-Man-adjacent movies: Kraven the Hunter. Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the eponymous anti-hero, Kraven the Hunter is set to hit theaters on October 26 and will also feature Calypso (Ariana DeBose) and Chameleon (Fred Hechinger).

Kraven the Hunter is bound to shake things up in the SSU. He’s not a symbiote or a mutated pseudo-vampire. Instead, he’s a man who was cheated out of nobility and sought to find greatness through some other medium. While he does have a few tricks that give him superhuman abilities, he’s one character naturally skilled enough to be a threat in human form. Similar to Venom and Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter has an all-consuming obsession with Spider-Man, which made him one of the hero’s greatest foes. Here’s everything you need to know about Marvel’s Kraven the Hunter.

Who is Kraven the Hunter?

Sergei Kravinoff (a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter) in a fighting pose in Marvel Comics
(Marvel Comics)

Kraven the Hunter was born Sergei Kravinoff, the son of a Russian immigrant. Although his father was an aristocrat, Sergei never inherited his noble status. That’s because all classes of nobility were abolished in Russia in 1917 following the overthrow of Czar Nicholas II and the subsequent establishment of the Soviet Union. As a result, Sergei’s father fled Russia and took refuge in the United States. This is why Sergei chose to achieve greatness through his most prominent talent—hunting—and became known as Kraven the Hunter. However, Sergei was always trying to make the sport of hunting more exciting, and eventually began hunting big game with his bare hands instead of using typical hunting tools.

How did Kraven the Hunter become Spider-Man’s enemy?

It was this same craving for purpose and excitement that first got Kraven interested in Spider-Man. His half-brother, Chameleon, was a longtime enemy of Spider-Man and gave Kraven the idea to fight the hero. Kraven became obsessed with the idea, believing that hunting Spider-Man would prove that he was the world’s greatest hunter.

To prepare for his hunt, Kraven sought help from his romantic partner, Calypso. The voodoo priestess gave him an elixir that granted him superhuman abilities, believed to exceed those of Captain America. As a result, Kraven had superhuman durability, speed, and strength, and his aging process was significantly slowed. On top of that, he had all the expertise of a top-notch hunter, including being skilled at tracking, animal taming, and physical combat.

The hunt for Spider-Man completely consumed Kraven’s life. Though he made various attempts to defeat Spider-Man—both solo and with the Sinister Six—he never quite succeeded. Kraven’s sanity slowly deteriorated in the process. He donned the Spider-Man costume himself at various times and twice attempted to take his own life (he was resurrected the first time). He fathered many children, including 87 clones of himself created by the High Evolutionary. However, Kraven and his son, the Last Son of Kraven, hunted and killed the vast majority of their family. The Last Son of Kraven would ultimately become the next Kraven the Hunter—after Kraven died by his own hand while dressed as Spider-Man.

While Kraven was an immensely powerful and skilled villain, the underlying tragedy of his life made him a disturbingly unforgettable character.

(featured image: Marvel Comics)

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Rachel Ulatowski is a Freelance Writer, blogger, and aspiring author. As a Freelancer Writer she hopes to give readers the same comfort and enjoyment that she finds in all things nerdy and noteworthy, as a blogger she enjoys snarking on YouTubers and reality stars, and as a future novelist she hopes to raise awareness for child abuse through literature.