By J.M. DeMatteis, Mike Zeck & Bob McLeod (Marvel)
One of the most memorable Spider-Man epics of the last forty-odd years has finally been repackaged and is available again. No cheap paperback edition yet (that I know of) but Kraven’s Last Hunt (originally collected as Spiderman: Fearful Symmetry) is probably worth the extra cost and a more sturdy format.
The eerie psycho-drama that originally ran in 1987 through Amazing, Spectacular, and Web of Spider-Man saw a dark and obsessed Kraven the Hunter finally defeat his arch-nemesis and Oedipally replace him, before inevitably succumbing to his tragic just desserts.
After years of battle, Kraven here is back-written into an intrinsically noble but twisted relic of a bygone era, whose compulsion to defeat Spider-Man spirals into a demented desire to consume and then become him. Kraven’s initial success only serves to highlight the fundamental differences between them, such as how each deals with the savage and cannibalistic rat/man hybrid Vermin who brutally rampages through the rain-soaked and terrified city in a compelling and efficient sub-plot, or with those ordinary people that impinge upon the lives of protagonist and antagonist equally.
Despite the heavy psychological underpinnings, Fearful Symmetry is a gripping thrill-ride adventure, simultaneously moody and fast-paced. Writer DeMatteis curtails his wearisome tendency to overwrite, stifles his leanings toward flowery sentimentality and the maudlin, and lets the art team of Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod have plenty of opportunities to impress with traditional comic art set-pieces.
This series electrified Spider-Man fans when it first appeared and it has lost none of its power today. This is a must-have item for any fan of the medium.
© 1989 Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.