Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #245

 Posted: 18 Jun 2021
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)

Background

After being defeated by Spider-Man, the Chameleon was confronted by what he assumed to be a hallucination of Kraven the Hunter. The "hallucination" took him to the brownstone where Sergei Kravinoff committed suicide and told him that he and the original Kraven were half-brothers. This enthralled Chameleon, as he had always envied the Kravinoff family. Spider-Man arrived to bring Chameleon back to Ravencroft Asylum but was stopped when he saw that John Jameson and Dr. Ashley Kafka were being held captive in an electrified cage.

Story 'Kravinov's Revenge!'

Flash Thompson was in a bar, talking to the bartender, who just wanted to go home. He got angry and assumed that the bartender thought he was better than Flash and got thrown out into the street.

At their home, Mary Jane was watching an old movie where a woman was telling her lover to move in with him after they kill her husband. He looked enough like her husband that no one would notice. (I see what you did, there. Alyosha Kravinoff just happens to look exactly like his father, Sergei.) Mary Jane was too anxious to pay attention, as she was still worried about Peter and the fact that Chameleon had learned his secret. (It's kind of funny that she thinks to herself that "We should just hold a press conference, announce it to the world, and get it over with. At least then nobody can hold it over our heads." That is exactly what Peter did in Civil War #2 in 2006.) As she paced the house thinking about the stress of being involved with a superhero, she looked outside and saw a flaming pumpkin head leering at her through a window. She ran outside to confront the figure but was surprised to see that no one was there. She went back to bed to get some sleep, unaware that Jack O'Lantern was still outside.

At the Kravinoff brownstone, Chameleon was warning Spider-Man to do as he was told and start calling him by his newfound name. Spidey was only concerned about the safety of Ashley and John and leaped at the cage to save them. It was electrified and the voltage increased if it was tampered with. Spider-Man fell to the ground in pain as Chameleon said that he could have killed his captives hours ago if he had wanted. Slapping Chameleon aside, Spider-Man told him to let them go before he was taken apart, piece by piece. After what he had done to the Parkers, he would enjoy it. Chameleon believed him, and turned up the voltage on the cage. Spider-Man asked him what he wanted, and was told that he should call Chameleon by his real name. Spidey wanted to know why he was using Kraven's name, and he explained their past. Spider-Man couldn't have cared less and smashed his illusion controlling device. He was then hit by a jungle dart and passed out. He woke up in the cage with Ashley and John, and Chameleon told them he was leaving. He changed his appearance to Mary Jane and said he was visiting an old friend. Spider-Man screamed at him to stop but was held back by the cage.

On a lighter note, the Grizzly had taken the Kangaroo to his apartment to discuss an offer. Kangaroo, suit destroyed and sitting in his underwear, was depressed after being beaten by Spider-Man twice in a few days. Grizzly tried to give him a pep talk, which Kangaroo couldn't take seriously from a washed up wrestler. Grizzly said he wasn't a has been and had killed Spider-Man. Kangaroo asked who it was that had webbed him to the light post, and Grizzly muttered that Spider-Man must have gotten better. Kangaroo started to leave despite Grizzly saying he was putting a team together. Kangaroo asked who would work with a loser like him, when the Gibbon arrived. Kangaroo was at least glad that they hadn't invited the Spot, when the Spot arrived.

At home, Mary Jane was asleep on the couch when Peter arrived. When she woke up, she asked how it went with Chameleon and was told it wasn't easy. Chameleon is one of his toughest enemies. They decided to go upstairs and MJ reminded him to be quiet, so they didn't wake Anna Watson. In the bedroom, Peter was surprised to see her swing a baseball bat at him and call him Chameleon. She had seen through the disguise when his kiss felt wrong, and the real Peter would have known that Anna was out of town. He dropped the illusion and said he was better than her husband and could be any man she wanted. She told him to stay away and he moved towards her, saying that he wanted to hurt and humiliate her husband the way that he had been humiliated for years. He was going to have what he wanted.

At the brownstone, Dr. Kafka was trying to get Spider-Man to rest after the electrical shock he had taken. She tried to convince him that Chameleon would never actually hurt anyone, because she had come to know him so well in their sessions. Spider-Man blew up at her, saying that she was responsible for all of this. She had hid him from the Feds after their funding was cut, giving him the chance to escape. He didn't have time to talk and spun some web-gloves to help him stand the electricity as he pulled the cage apart. When he got home he found MJ in a panic, swinging the bat over the unconscious Chameleon. He calmed her down, telling her it was him. Chameleon hadn't hurt her, she had kept hitting him until he fell. They laughed but then noticed that he was gone. They felt certain he wouldn't come back.

Chameleon was again running away, stunned that he had been beaten by a woman. He was humiliated and wondered if he really was just a worthless insect. The figure of Kraven showed up again and Chameleon said he had no time for hallucinations. The figure asked if he wasn't real, then who drugged Spider-Man with the dart at the brownstone. Chameleon barely had time to register what was happening when Kraven shot him with his rifle. There was only room for one Kravinoff in the world and he was it.

General Comments

I have some mixed feelings on this issue. It's awesome that MJ beat the Chameleon by herself, I love that she is so tough. At the same time, he should have been able to disarm her easily. He's a professional spy and killer, so Mary Jane really didn't stand a chance. He also escaped again by suddenly disappearing, just like two issues ago. I don't know how or why Peter didn't notice or go after him.

Chameleon may have been mentally unstable but I think he was lucid enough to know that a jungle dart in Spidey is a sign that a Hunter is nearby. Somehow that didn't occur to him, nor the fact that an apparent "hallucination" had taken him somewhere. So, if Kraven was watching when Chameleon failed to fool Peter into thinking that he was Herbert Smith, and also when he fled from the Parker house, did he know Peter's secret? We'll never know, since his character was completely botched in the coming years and this plot was never referenced again before he was killed.

Was Chameleon really going to have his way with Mary Jane? No, but it was ballsy of the story to even insinuate that it might happen.

This issue also saw the birth of "The Spider-Man Revenge Squad," better known as "The Legion of Losers." They made the next several issues fun and light hearted, which was needed with the heavier plot points.

Overall Rating

It's a fun, entertaining and suspenseful issue. There were some odd moments but nothing that really took away from the story.

 Posted: 18 Jun 2021
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)