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- ASIN : B00AR1C0KU
- Publisher : Marvel (May 12, 2010)
- Publication date : May 12, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 155603 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Not Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 129 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #215,111 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The main adversary is the Chameleon who is back to his typical shenanigans, using his uncanny knack for mimicry and applying that face putty gun thingee of his, to flawlessly assume other people's identities. Before this story, I've pretty much dismissed the Chameleon as a forgettable poor man's Mysterio, so Fred Van Lente does something which past writers hadn't been able to do, which is elevate Chammy to a formidable and serious player in my eyes. The opening scene reveals how he disposes of his victims once he's mastered their voices and captured their likeness, and, honestly, I'm not too clued in on past Chameleon stories, but I don't recall the guy being this menacing or cold-blooded.
Possible SPOILERS now.
If you're not caught up to recent Spidey happenings, Aunt May has just tied the knot to J. Jonah Jameson's father (making J. Jonah and Peter into bickering brothers-in-law) and J. Jonah himself was elected Mayor of New York City. And it shouldn't surprise anyone that the new mayor's pet agenda is deploying his official Anti-Spider Squad to nab the webhead. But even J. Jonah's fixation on Spidey isn't enough to keep the city machinery from functioning. Case in point, the Office of Emergency Management has just established a "Shadow" Command Center, of which location is kept purposely undisclosed in the event of a terrorist attack. The Chameleon means to unearth this location and teach New York a lesson. To do this, he targets a photographer newly hired to the mayoral inner circle. He targets Peter Parker. And then he captures Peter Parker and adopts his identity.
The biggest elephant in the room, of course, is will the Chameleon stumble onto Peter's alter ego. It's also interesting to see how the Chameleon infiltrates Peter's life and we check out his reactions, puzzled and scornful but then bemused when, as Peter, he keeps running into Peter's lovely lady friends. This happens in issue #603 and this story, marked with the absence of the real Peter Parker, is noteworthy in that it examines Peter's relationships as seen thru the Chameleon's eyes. As such, Van Lente writes a pretty compelling story. I won't mention what the Chameleon does, except to say that he turns out to be a pretty complex cat and he surprised me a bit with his actions and words and his insights. And, just when you start thinking "Man, just how much dooodoo can this guy land Peter in?" the Chameleon ends up doing stuff to which later on Peter - who, was there any doubt, has escaped Chammy's trap - reacts wonderingly with: "When I do find the Chameleon, I will hire him to be me ALL THE TIME." But then later, later on, it comes around and Peter wants to moiderize him again. Some of the Chameleon's actions as Peter, particularly what he says to Flash Thompson, are bound to have uncool repercussions. But, certainly, there's plenty of humor in Peter trying to pick up the pieces of his life what got trampled on by the no-face master of disguise.
The big news for me, though, is finally the return of Mary Jane and it looks like she's here to stay for the foreseeable future. Yeah, I know, she'd already shown up in an earlier issue, catching the bouquet at Aunt May's wedding, but this is the first time she and Peter have a real interaction. In the double-sized issue #605, we at last learn what went down between Peter and Mary Jane, what caused their break-up and what MJ's been up since then. We also learn that MJ still knows that Peter is Spider-Man. But, like Pete, she doesn't remember the One More Day fiasco. Nothing earth-shaking happens between these two; it's too soon for anything to happen, if anything even will. In fact, MJ believes that Peter is now with someone else. And, yeah, again, if you're behind on your Spidey soap opera, then know that Peter accidentally slept with his incredibly bossy roommate Michelle.
The last chapter in issue #605 (there are three chapters) has Peter exploring the wacky world of online dating. Brian Reed writes a fun short story. And, again, that sad sack Parker luck comes into play.
I'm liking Fred Van Lente more and more as a Spidey scribe. He's got it all down, character development, interesting story arcs, and an element of fun and funny. I also like that J. Jonah sort of gets his comeuppance with regards to the Anti-Spider Squad. But, guys, seriously, you're missing out if you haven't checked out THE INCREDIBLE HERCULES, a series which Van Lente co-writes. Back to this trade, my main beef, as I've said, is that there isn't enough content to warrant paying the asking price. Four issues, even if the last one is double-sized, don't cut it for me and I'm a little steamed I shelled out for this (because I do have the original issues). And I guess I'll also mention that the artwork comes and goes, the inconsistency being brought about by not having one artist handling the artistic chores. Other than that, this trade is really good.
As the story begins, Peter Parker (Spider-Man) is thinking of how he has seen his ex-wife (or is it ex-girlfriend? ex-fiance? You really can't tell where the continuity is these days in some comics.), Mary-Jane for the first time in a while. She had moved out to LA for a successful career in acting, and then came back suddenly. He has no clue why, but it trying to figure it out.
Unfortunately, he has little time for this at first, as the Chameleon kidnaps and tries to kill him to steal his identity as Peter Parker. Now, it's not what you might assume. The Chameleon has no clue that Peter is really Spider-Man. It is Peter himself that Chameleon needs to imitate, in his new job as the photographer for newly-elected mayor J. Jonah Jameson. The super-villain is being paid by some very nasty terrorists to unleash a dirty bomb at NYC's secret anti-terrorism nerve center. The mayor's personal photographer just may be able to pick up clues to the location of this facility, the Chameleon reasons. Unfortunately, while Peter would normally evade any problems, he is so tired and distracted that his spider-sense can't warn him in time of the attack, and so he is kidnapped by the villain, and disposed of, in acid.
Because of this, for the rest of the volume, except for a comedic issue at the end, Peter is gone, and the Chameleon is Peter. This is not a problem as the whole "terrorism" angle from the Chameleon's employers is really a side-plot. The main plot is Peter Parker's life and relationships through the eyes of our Big Bad and others. Most of all, his relationship with "MJ" Watson, which is really complicated, to say the least. Though I will say that how Peter survived was really neat, though a bit contrived. It did work for his power-set, though.
The reason I liked this one was because the title fit in so many ways. MJ is a stranger to Peter after so many months. She, along with Harry Osborne and others, are strangers to the Chameleon, who feels bound to make Peter's former life (as Chammy thinks Peter's dead) to be better. That he feels bound to do this for all of his victims is part of his insanity, I think. And finally, MJ finds that she is a stranger to herself. She can't feel happy with the way her life is going, but can not put her finger on just WHAT she is searching for in life.
Surprisingly, though the above may sound rather angsty, it really wasn't. That seems to be the hallmark of the character of Spider-Man, in that he has so many issues and problems, but he doesn't wax melodramatic on them or wallow in them. Okay, he does wallow in them, but not in an unrealistic manner. In many ways, the story of how he authentically deals with his problems, as do those around him, reminds me of the current Batgirl series under writer Gail Simone. In some comics, the issues are all overly-angsty, with the characters almost basking in their problems. Not so here, where they are dealt with in a very sensitive, true-to-life way.
The only major problems I had with the issue were that Peter is kind of an idiot at times, and the political strawman in the form of J. Jonah Jameson. Peter is someone who has a gorgeous, smart roommate who is crazy about him, but he turns her down for dating. What? I can understand not wanting to take advantage of someone you don't love, or to deal with her sometimes crazy nature, that is not his reason as much as seemingly pining for Mary Jane. Not everyone gets their "true love" as the movies or romances put it. Sometimes, you have to take what you have, and his friend there would have been a great mate for him, instead of pining over someone else all the time.
Then there is the strawman. Jameson is made out to be a truly pathetic and vile caricature of the worst and most untrue portrayals of conservatives. If this is just the writers poking fun, then it is annoying, but I can take it. I like the show American Dad occasionally, so I can take a joke. But if I'm giving them too much of the benefit of the doubt, and they really do think this is how conservatives are, then it's kind of frightening that they can be so misinformed. They really might need to go see "fly-over country", and learn not to view their political adversaries with such hatred. If they want to poke fun, then they should do some halfway decent satire, and not cheap shots like the comic book writer version of schoolyard bullies.
Despite the above issues, this was a comic I really enjoyed, and I am looking forward to getting into Marvel Comics more in the future. I may never end up preferring it over DC (except for the movies, but that's another discussion), but I can see that it does have some quality stories.
Top reviews from other countries
Who can forget MJ? Adored by many in the life of Peter Parker and cherished by the man himself, she's nonetheless been a stranger for some time now. But just when you'd given up hope, the red-headed stranger is back and looking better than ever! Mary Jane Watson returns in a tender story of reunion and rapprochement. But also returning to town is the Chameleon - and this master of disguise is creepier, more evil than ever before.