How Did Kraven the Hunter Get His Powers in the Comics?


It’s been a while since we watched the latest movie in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe. The latest entry, ‘Morbius’ was released in April 2022, and we honestly almost forgot that that movie still exists. We watched the animated hit ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ earlier this month, but Sony is now preparing us for their next movie based on Marvel properties. ‘Kraven the Hunter’ will hit theaters next October, and while we’re waiting for it, let’s dig into Kraven’s history to find out how he got his powers in the first place.

Sergei Nikolaievich Kravinoff, better known as Kraven the Hunter, is a regular human who gets his powers and abilities thanks to the mystical potions made out of jungle herbs. By ingesting those potions, Kraven is gifted with superhuman strength, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes. Those potions also cause him to age much slower than other humans. This set of powers and abilities turns him into a dangerous hunter whose powers are even greater than Captain America, who was always considered a pinnacle of human evolution.

Kraven the Hunter was created by Marvel legends Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and the character first appeared in ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #15 in May 1964. Since his introduction, Kraven has risen to become one of Spider-Man’s most formidable foes and one of the founding members of the Sinister Six. As it usually goes with comic book characters, there are many versions and different incarnations of a certain character. In this article, we’ll stick to the mainstream version that existed on Earth-616 in Marvel Comics’ canon.


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Kraven the Hunter’s origin story in more detail

Sergei Nikolaievich Kravinoff was born in today’s Volgograd, in southwest Russia. He was born and raised sometime during the Russian Revolution. His abusive father, an aristocrat, Grand Duke Nikolai Kravinoff, fled to the UK, and later USA, with his family, escaping from the revolution that decimated Russian nobility. To fulfill his sense of lost nobility, Sergei eventually became a big-game hunter known as “Kraven the Hunter” (Kraven is an anglicized version of his last name Kravinoff), but unlike other hunters, he preferred to hunt with his bare hands instead of guns and arrows.

After his father died and his mother, Grand Duchess Anna Makarova Kravinoff, committed suicide in a mental asylum, Sergei started traveling worldwide, usually as a stowaway. He eventually reached Africa, where he stayed for a decade, and during that time, he stole the witch doctor’s herbal potion, which provided him with enhanced powers and abilities that made him a match for his most common enemies, like Spider-Man and Black Panther.

Kraven the Hunter is usually depicted as a big game hunter who wants to defeat Spider-Man to prove himself as the world’s greatest hunter, but he also possesses a great sense of honor, which on some occasions would turn him into an anti-hero that teams up with Spider-Man and other Marvel characters. Kraven sees Spider-Man as his ultimate prey and an irresistible challenge due to the fact that he’s still haunted by the spiders he saw in his mother’s asylum.

Other known characters that are usually associated with Kraven the Hunter are his half-brother, Dmitri Smerdyakov, aka Chameleon, and his wife, Aleksandra “Sasha” Kravinoff. Kraven fathered several children who have followed in his footsteps, including Vladimir Kravinoff (Grim Hunter), Alexei “Alyosha” Kravinoff, and Ana Kravinoff, the first female Kraven the Hunter. One more worth mentioning is the Last Son of Kraven, one of the many Sons of Kraven who was cloned from Kraven’s DNA by the High Evolutionary.


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How closely will the upcoming movie follow Kraven’s origin story?

During the character’s long history, Kraven the Hunter was adapted into various media, but we never saw him in live action on the big screen. This year, that’s about to change with the upcoming movie ‘Kraven the Hunter’ starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson. From what we know so far, the movie will change many aspects of Kraven’s origin story.

The movie’s first trailer shows that this incarnation of Sergei got his powers after he was attacked and bitten by a lion while he was hunting with his family. His equally abusive father, like the one in the comics, decided to leave him in the wild because he deemed him “weak, like his mother.”

After becoming Kraven the Hunter, Sergei will look for revenge against the people on his list, and from the trailer, it looks like one of those people might also be his father. The movie will also introduce Sergei’s half-brother Chameleon and the voodoo priestess, Calypso, who was Kraven’s lover at one point in the source material.

Apart from the upcoming movie, we will also meet Kraven the Hunter in the upcoming video game ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man 2,’ which was developed by Insomniac Games exclusively for PS5. This incarnation of the character, voiced by Jim Pirri, is the leader of the private mercenary group. If you’re a fan of Kraven the Hunter, you definitely can’t wait for October 2023.

The ‘Kraven the Hunter’ movie is set to be released on October 6, 2023. ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man 2’ is set to be released on October 20, 2023.

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