In recent years, the X-Men and the entire Mutant population have finally established themselves as both a superpower and a distinct species separate from humanity. As a result, they have made many allies and even more enemies. One enemy has recently been shown in a preview of X-Force # 31 by Benjamin Percy and Robert Gill, where Kraven is shown victorious over the team and wearing Beast’s pelt. But even though Kraven has appeared to have finally found the greatest game, this was not the first time he faced Beast in a kill or be killed situation.
In X-Men: The Hidden Years # 17 (by John Byrne, Tom Palmer, and Gregory Wright) Beast was led into a conflict by Kraven to save an ally’s life. At this point, Beast had yet to become his bluer self. However, his intelligence was more than intact, and he used it to evade Kraven’s traps. Nevertheless, when the two finally met, Beast nearly killed Kraven after he gave in to his more animalistic side due to the drugs in his system. In the end, Kraven was mindwiped by the entire event by Jean Gray and hadn’t since tormented the original team. On the other hand, while Beast savage side helped him survive, he realized that he was closer to embracing it than he thought. With that in mind, how would these two titans of their craft fare when their inevitable rematch comes to fruition?
Ever since their first meeting, Beast has greatly evolved both physically and mentally. When Kraven and Beast first met, he still had his normal human visage. However, when Hank McCoy took the serum that turned him blue and furry, his agility, strength, and senses were also heightened considerably. Essentially his physical attributes matched his level of intellect and turned him into the perfect peak human specimen.
However, as he became more haggard in the war for Mutant independence, Hank has also become more comfortable with the tougher decisions. As the leader of X-Force, Hank’s actions have put him in the same vein as a war criminal, with a most recent reveal having shown that he partnered with Abigail Brand in a possible plan to dismantle Krakoa.
Kraven the hunter spent many decades facing the likes of Spider-Man and facing his own mortality. Knowing that he’d be unable to maintain the hunt forever, he began work on finding a successor. During The Amazing Spider-Man: Hunted arc by Nick Spencer, Humberto Ramos and Ryan Ottley, Kraven’s final hunt put Spider-Man to the test and ended with his death at the hands of his son. Now aware that his son was ready, Kraven gave his blessing for the young man to take his place. Since then, Kraven’s son has been the current hunter in the Marvel Universe and has with him his father’s knowledge and experience and a far more brutal hunting strategy.
Should this new Kraven and more experienced Beast cross paths again, there’s a strong possibility that Kraven would not only lose but be lucky to leave with his life. Typically, Kraven would have kept notes or some form of documentation on his prey so that, should he fail a hunt, he could return more experienced than before. But since he was mindwiped, it’s unlikely Kraven would have written down anything, meaning this newer version would be just as ill-equipped as his father. However, Beast never forgot the experience and has only grown more savage in his decision-making process and tactical choices. Beast would likely disregard his traps and physically overpower Kraven if the two were forced to fight again. But if he’s drugged or pushed too far, Kraven would have to face a more powerful version of Beast that’s far more likely to kill now than he would in the past.
Kraven the Hunter is undoubtedly one of the best hunters in the Marvel Universe. However, when faced with a character like Beast, it’s more likely he would be forced into the ultimate test of hunter and prey. For all intents and purposes, Beast may be the most perfect game as he is a balance of humanity and animal nature. The outcome of their coming battle may not be known, but one thing is certain; if Kraven wants to battle X-Force, he’d be smart to eliminate Beast first because Hank won’t be nearly as merciful.
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