As Brand New Day reaches its end, it’s hard to imagine that it’s been over 100 issues since the storyline began (due to the thrice-monthly schedule).  There have been so many storylines in those 100 issues that it would be no small feat to find a way to catch up on them all.

Still, one of the most recent storylines, Grim Hunt, featured the return of a long dead villain and had Spider-Man fighting through one of the darkest storylines he’s EVER been involved in, while the rest of the Marvel U was entering their Heroic Age.

Grim Hunt rant through Amazing Spider-Man #634-637, which are probably still able to be purchased from your comic shelves…but are they worth your time?  Read after the jump to find out (note: beware of spoilers)!

Given the title, it’s probably pretty easy to grasp that Grim Hunt involves the resurrection of Kraven the Hunter, who’s been dead since shooting himself in the iconic storyline Kraven’s Last Hunt.  See, Kraven tried to kill Spider-Man and replace him, to be better than him.  But he failed at both.  Because of it, he realized he was a failure, and took his own life.  Since that story (from the late 80’s), Kraven has stayed pretty much dead.  His children have tried to come in and replace the Kraven-sized hole in Spidey’s life, but nothing has felt quite the same….

…until now.

All during Brand New Day, and leading up to The Gauntlet, Kraven’s wife and daughter have been powering up Spider-Man’s classic rogue’s gallery, breaking Spider-Man down little bit by little bit, so that he’s at his weakest (he has swine flu as Grim Hunt begins).  All in an effort to finally bring him down, and use his blood to perform an ancient ritual that will bring to life the one, true Kraven,  Sergei Kravinoff.  To help with the ritual, they’ve gather other spider-powered individuals, like Arana, Arachne, Madame Web, and Spider-Woman (the Mattie Franklin one).

Grim Hunt is easily the best Spider-Man story I’ve read since Brand New Day.  In fact, looking at Spider-Man series for the past couple of years, this may be the best Spider-Man story I’ve read since 2004 (more on that one in another edition of BIG TIME).  Grim Hunt is DARK, darker than anything anybody would have expected in this Heroic Age world.  I’m going to avoid major spoiler territory, but more than one character death occurs in this story (some more violent than others) and Spider-Man takes out a villain in a more vicious manner than I’ve ever seen from the character.

There’s plenty of Spider-Man one liners at the beginning of the story, but as it progresses, the story gets deadly serious, and more intense.  Many fans are stating that Spider-Man acts out of character towards the end of the story – I say that’s the point.  When the crap hits the fan, Spider-Man breaks in a way that fits the manner in which he’s been played for months now.  While I haven’t read The Gauntlet, the months-long storyline that led to Grim Hunt, this story is wholly satisfying and interesting on its own merit.  I’d be curious to think what folks invested in the Gauntlet felt about it, and whether is satisfactorily resolved the story they’d become invested in.

Grim Hunt is an absolutely MUST READ for all Spider-Man fans, whether they like Brand New Day or not.  The BND status quo is rarely referred to – this is entirely a Spider-Man story with very little room for Peter’s supporting cast.  You can enjoy it, even if you aren’t familiar with the current happenings.  Definitely pick this one up!