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Kraven the Hunter

Marvel Universe
by yo go re

It makes a perverse sort of sense that the only may to possibly find this figure is with the help of a professional hunter.

Kraven the Hunter views the world as two distinct groups: the hunters and the prey. And it is he who is at the very top of the food chain. Only Spider-Man has the wit and wherewithal to challenge his cunning. Spider-Man has become this hunter's ultimate prey. Kraven the Hunter will not rest until the wily web-slinger is caught, captured... defeated.

This figure is a prime example of the delays that make being a toy collector so frustrating. Kraven was first announced at San Diego Comic-Con... in 2011. He was listed in the Previews catalog in June 2012, and yet is just now starting to show up in stores. Apple announces a new iPhone and that stupid thing's in stores two weeks later; Hasbro announces something and we have to wait a year and a half to even have a hope of glimpsing it. I grabbed Kraven at Thanksgiving, and have yet to see him in stores again. We've talked before about having street dates for toys; maybe it's time to bring that idea back again.

There have been several Kravens over the years, but this is the original one. Probably. Sergei Kravinoff has several sons, and they all tend to look like daddy. He's got the combed-back black hair, the goatee and mustache, and, for some reason, he's got brown circles painted around his eyes. It certainly makes him look sinister, but it's weird.

When ToyBiz released a Kraven, we praised it for being a repaint that still managed to look very awesome. And now that Hasbro's released a Kraven, we can say the same thing. He gets the same body as many other large characters, but also gets several new pieces to make him feel unique. The only new pieces that are actually part of his body are the legs below the knees: he gets new skull kneepads with fur trim, baggy pants tucked into his wrapped-up boots, and new feet. All the various wraps and bands on his arms are merely painted on, but they look great. The ones around his biceps even have leopard spots, carrying over the pattern that used to be on his pants back in the day, but has since been done away with.

To further set him apart from the other figures that used this mold, Kraven has two new pieces of clothing: a utility belt/loin cloth combo, and his trademark lion vest. The belt is nice, but it's the vest that really pops! The mane is fully sculpted both front and back, and the halves of the lion face are detailed nicely. Sometimes Kraven's vest looks like a lion pattern; this one looks like it could be an actual lion head.

Kraven's accessories are a new spear and a knife reused from Drax. The spear is brown with a silver tip and sculpted feathers. It gets severely warped in the package, so you'll want to put it in some hot water to soften it, then straighten it out. There's also a brown necklace for the figure to wear, and it's packaged separately in the tray. Why? You have to take Kraven's head off to put it around his neck, so it's not like Hasbro was afraid of it falling off.

Marvel Universe figures no longer come with the "paper accessories" they used to, which is a shame - it'd be neat to have a clean version of Ed McGuinness's artwork of Kraven from the front of the package. The closest we get now is a postage-stamp sized copy of the ASM #636 cover, but that's just part of the packaging. Along with a drawing of Rocket Raccoon on the back, insisting we collect all the toys. Kraven is a very good release, even if some of the paint apps were cut before release (specifically on his kneepads and necklace). In fact, the only thing we would have changed about this release is one more accessory: a shotgun.

-- 01/28/13

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