Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #242

 Posted: 8 Jun 2021
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)

Background

It was soon after the Parkers lives had been turned upside down by the return of Norman Osborn and the deaths of Ben Reilly and their daughter. They were going to attempt to move forward with their lives but trouble was coming when Dr. Ashley Kafka resorted to release the Chameleon from his secure cell. A new Jack O'Lantern showed up.

Story 'Face Dancing'

One wintery day, New Yorkers were shoved aside by the Kangaroo, a villain that had supposedly died years prior. Actually, he had died years ago and this was a copy cat criminal named Brian Hibbs. Spidey knocked him out with one punch to the face, wishing that every day were so easy. He couldn't imagine why this new guy would want to follow in the footsteps of the first Kangaroo, Frank Oliver. He hopped and robbed banks before dying of radiation poisoning. He couldn't wait to tell MJ about it.

At Ravencroft, Chameleon was being evasive as Dr. Kafka was trying to give treatment. She was trying to convince him that treatment was a viable option for his mental health issues and he was changing appearances as she spoke. She got fed up with him and started to walk away, when he stopped her and said he would take therapy seriously. He then took her hand and threw her into a wall.

MJ and Peter were out at lunch with Liz and Flash. Liz explained how she had been depressed after Harry's death but she did eventually feel that she had been given a second chance in life. The Parkers planned on moving out of May's house, because it was time to move on and being there felt like being trapped in the past. Flash, meanwhile, was all too happy to stay in the past. Peter noticed he'd had three beers in under a half hour and said he should slow down. Flash ordered another beer and Peter suggested they go for a walk instead. Liz's new boyfriend, "Foggy" Nelson, arrived and they all left. Flash was still being moody and left without them.

Peter caught up to him as Spider-Man, knowing it would cheer him up. He grabbed Flash and took him to a rooftop to chat, and Flash told him how life had left him behind. Peter had been the dateless dork in high school but now was a respected photographer married to gorgeous model. Meanwhile Flash had been the football hero that the high school girls adored. Now he was 25 years old with a nowhere job, thinning hair and a growing beer belly. Spidey told him he was being a doofus and that he was done with self pity. Flash wasn't getting football trophies anymore but Spider-Man didn't get awards for dealing with Venom or Carnage. He told Flash that he had spunk and that he needs to use it.

Later, Jonah and his wife, Marla, were discussing psychology vs poetry. Marla enjoyed his reading of Percy Bryce Shelley but they were interrupted by a noise in the next room. He ran to look at what happened and found nothing, while Marla warned him to never bring a gun into their home. She eventually convinced him that he hadn't heard anything, while Jack O'Lantern stayed outside their window.

Back at Ravencroft, John Jameson was warned by Ashley Kafka that Chameleon had escaped and there was no time to explain. They ran to their ambulance, after Kafka told John that she knew where Chameleon was going. She suddenly told him to stop the ambulance in the snow and asked for his gun. He told her that she didn't know anything about guns and she replied that she is the only one that Chameleon trusts. He'll let her get close but she didn't want to be unarmed. John handed her a gun and warned her to not get hurt. She told him that she'd be fine and then shot him. The illusion dropped and it had been the Chameleon that shot him.

Spider-Man dropped off Flash at his apartment, telling him to think about what they'd said. As he entered his apartment building, he told a pair of kids to stop smoking before he took their cigarettes away. He liked the respect that they gave him.

As Spidey swung home, he saw what looked like Doctor Octopus dangling Peter Parker over a rooftop. He let them know that Octopus was dead and Peter Parker was...on the other side of town. Spidey dove at the Doc Ock apparition and fell through it, assuming it to be the work of Mysterio. Chameleon was annoyed that Octopus was dead. He hadn't know that since he had been in prison at Ravencroft. Spidey immediately told him that after he had done to the Parker family (making them think that Richard and Mary Parker were still alive) he was lucky to have gone to Ravencroft and not the morgue. As Spidey held Chameleon's collar, he began to feel dizzy and then fainted. Chameleon told him that his clothing had been treated with an orderless chemical that would drug him.

When Spidey woke up, he was in a straightjacket in Ravencroft. Chameleon was impersonating Dr. Kafka and telling Peter that his real name was Herbert Fillmore Smith. When Chameleon removed Spidey's mask, he saw a different face looking back in a mirror.

General Comments

I've made it pretty clear that I'm a fan of J.M. DeMatteis and stories like this are the reason why. So many little plotlines going on, and all of them are character based. There is action of course, but most of the story is about the lives of the characters.

Overall Rating

I did think it was a little odd and convenient that Chameleon knew that Spider-Man would pick him up by his clothing, allowing the drug to do it's job. Spidey could have just punched him into a chimney and been done with it. Oh well, whatever.

 Posted: 8 Jun 2021
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)