Ned Leeds died not too long before this story, and Peter and MJ married right before it. Two major milestones in Peter Parker's life. This story depicts the third. Way back, since Amazing Spider-Man #15 (vol.1), Kraven the Hunter entered the list of Spider-Man's enemies. Since then, he suffered numerous defeats, and after each one he became more obssessed in catching his ultimate prey. Spidey never considered him much of a danger, cause he was always defeated mostly without any effort.
In this story, however, Kraven succeds in killing Spider-Man, buries him and takes his place, beating a foe Spidey could barely beat with Captain America's help.
By the way, this is a story where Pete still uses the black costume.
Spider-Man is crawling through the sewers, searching for Vermin, and fighting with a recently acquired claustrophobia. Meanwhile, Kraven's servant is digging a new grave. A swarm of rats attack Peter, but he shakes them off.
At Kraven's townhouse, the police arrive after an anonymous call. They find Kraven's body, and a file with his confession of the crimes he commited under the guise of Spider-Man the last couple of weeks.
Spidey finds Vermin (or is it the other way around) and they fight. He defeats his fears and Vermin, but once again he holds himself and Vermin cuts loose from the webbing. Spidey runs away and leaves the sewers, with Vermin in pursuit. Outside, it's daytime already, and Vermin ends up in the middle of a road with heavy traffic. Spidey pulls him out at the last second. He ties him in webbing and turns him over to the authorities (meanwhile, the servant finishes the new grave). The cops are amazed how he was able to go looking for Vermin after what Kraven's done. Spidey hears them as he swings away and asks himself how did they find what happened. On the newstand, the Bugle's features the headline "Kraven's Confession", but Pete doesn't notice it. He feels that Kraven was serious when he promised to never hunt again. He will find out what's going on when he returns to Kraven's townhouse, but first we wants to go home, to Mary Jane.
At the Mansion, it is held Kraven's funeral, attended only by his faithful servants. Marvel says goodbye to a classic character, in a classic storyline. The character Sergei Kravinoff is most definitely dead, as it is hard to imagine Marvel ressurecting him. Although there are always people willing to destroy what was nicely created. The Hunter, however, has returned twice. The first was his legitimate son, Vladimir Kravinoff, the Grim Hunter. He was beaten without problems by both Peter Parker and Ben Reilly, and died by Kaine a few issues later. He was basically a wimp. The second was Aliosha Kravinoff, illegitimate son, almost identical to his father in aspect, he was first depicted as a demented, impredictable and very dangerous individual, but ended up being turned into a copy of his father persona. Well, with Jenkins and Straczynski on the helm, I hope they give him a new direction.
Well, you shouldn't really be reading this to decide whether you should buy this one or not. If you're a Spidey fan, that decision is already taken. This is an epic. No webs rating, may it be a 5, a 6 or a 20 can translate how great this story really is. It's wonderfully written, wondefully drawn, wonderfully penciled, and the result is sublime. Each time I read it, I find some new delightful detail I never noticed. By all means, READ IT. These are the stories that make being a reader worth it. Kraven's Last Hunt is indispensable for any comics fan. True masterpiece.
If you already own it, then why the heck are you reading this? Me, boring! Last Hunt, great! Go and read it.
I couldn't end this without mentioning that this story was brought to us by J.M. DeMatteis, Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod. Each of them deserves as much praise as possible.
Just for the record, 5 webs. Spidey doesn't get any better than this.