Cover Date: August 1964
Cover Artist: Steve Ditko
“Kraven the Hunter!”
Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Scripter: Stan Lee
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
What’s Going On?
Meet Kraven the Hunter, who is hunting the most dangerous game of all —- Spider-Man!
- As part of his normal crime-fighting routine, Spider-Man prevents a robbery. Little does he realize that the heist’s mastermind was none other than the Chameleon, and that he got away!
- The Chameleon decides that Spider-Man must be dealt with, and that Kraven the Hunter is the perfect man for the job.
- Kraven is a worldwide celebrity big game hunter, so his arrival in New York is big news; where there’s big news, there’s the Daily Bugle staff. At the docks, Peter meets up with J. Jonah Jameson and Betty Brant to take photos, and coincidentally arrives with Liz Allan. Betty is not impressed with how friendly Liz is with Peter.
- Some wild animals get loose at the docks, so Peter quickly changes into Spider-Man and…watches, dumbly, as Kraven handles the beasts with ease.
- Afterwards, Kraven reveals that he is in the United States solely to hunt Spider-Man. JJJ points out that is illegal, but Kraven is not bothered by that.
- Later, Spidey stops some burglars. Little does he realize that the crooks were hired so that Kraven could observe his prey in action.
- As soon as Spidey finished with those thieves, he encounters Kraven, and the fight begins. Kraven is strong and fast, but…
- …Spidey is even stronger. Kraven has to resort to poisoning Spider-Man to tip the scales in his favor.
- Interestingly, Kraven doesn’t push his advantage and allows Spider-Man to escape.
- Kraven’s poison doesn’t wear off quickly. Peter’s hands are still shaking uncontrollably the next morning.
- Aunt May has set Peter up on a blind date with her neighbor’s niece. Peter isn’t thrilled with it, but he concedes to make Aunt May happy.
- Still shaky from the poison, Spider-Man decides to track down Kraven before Kraven can hunt him down. Little does Spidey realize that he is falling into Kraven’s trap!
- Even a trapped Spider-Man doesn’t stay trapped for long, though!
- Kraven doesn’t give up, though. He quickly tags Spidey with manacles designed to limit the hero’s strength, speed, and agility.
- That trick only kept Spidey on the defensive for a little bit. Soon enough, he caught the Chameleon (who was helping Kraven), and kept Kraven off-balance until he could defeat the villain.
- Returning home triumphant, Peter gets knocked down a peg in his romantic life. His blind date (that he didn’t even want to go on) got cancelled at the last minute; Betty wouldn’t take his call; and Liz was on a date with Flash!
- In the end, the Chameleon and Kraven were released by the police and deported from the country.
Is It Good?
Yeah, this was pretty great. Kraven’s MO is so different than Spidey’s other foes, and that gives the story a pleasantly unusual rhythm. Ditko’s art was excellent, as usual, and Stan Lee managed to squeeze in plenty of teenage melodrama. All in all, this was a good read.
- The Chameleon last appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #1.
- This is the first appearance of Kraven the Hunter. Kraven has extraordinary strength, speed, and agility, thanks to a secret African potion. He also owns a vest that looks like he took a lion’s head and split it down the middle.
- Kraven values the difficulty of the hunt more than anything.
- This is the first reference to Mary Jane Watson, though she isn’t mentioned by name, and won’t make her first appearance for a while yet.
- In the letters page, Stan Lee promises to cut down on multi-part stories. This is odd, because they are definitely the exception for Marvel at this point.
Comics Are Goofy:
- Is it Ice-T? Please tell me the “most dangerous game of all” is Ice T!
- Peter is worried that he won’t be strong enough to defeat Kraven, so he decides to plant a tracker on Kraven, so the hunter doesn’t take him by surprise. The only flaw in this logic is that Peter has to confront Kraven to plant the tracker.
- The best thing about the Chameleon is that every one of his reveals feels like a Scooby-Doo ending.