Comics : Spider-Man: The Chameleon's Many Faces

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Book of the Month Club

This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

This hardback from Fun Works is part of the half-dozen or more that they produced in 1995-96. At 7 1/4" x 9 1/4", this book features 24 pages. Well, it would except that in my copy, the leaf with the "Rub-On Tattoos" has been torn out, leaving me with just the 22 pages of story.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: The Chameleon's Many Faces
Sep 1996 : SM Title
Find ISBN 1570824444
Publisher:  Fun Works
Writer:  Michael Stewart
Artist:  Ken Steacy
Staff Only
Issue
Review

Our story is set in the world of the Spider-Man 90's Animated TV Series. Jonah Jameson throws Photographer Peter Parker out of the Daily Bugle offices, telling Peter to come back when he has some good photos. On the way out, Peter encounters his friend, wealthy society A-lister Felica Hardy. What on earth Felicia is doing in the Daily Bugle offices, I have no idea. But she insists that Peter MUST come to the party on her yacht tonight.

But first, Peter must get some photos. And that night, Spider-Man is at the docks to observe a meeting between Rhino, Shocker, and Chameleon. We're given no good explanation as to how Spider-Man came to know about the meeting... simply that Spidey's "hunch paid off."

The Chameleon is at the meeting to deliver a "secret data disk". It's drawn as a 3 1/2" floppy, capable of holding 1.44 Megabytes. That's the equivalent these days of one medium-resolution photo of Megan Fox in a bikini. Mmmm... Megan Fox.

Spider-Man swings in and grabs the disk. But the Shocker zaps Spidey, who loses the disk but recovers quickly enough to capture Shocker and Rhino. Suddenly the whole area lights up and Colonel Nick Fury and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. swarm down from the skies. But too late, Chameleon is gone, along with the floppy with the soft-core Megan Fox download.

Fury is cross with Spidey. The disk didn't contain Megan Fox swim-wear snaps after all. Actually, it was the top-secret plans for the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier... and Spider-Man messed up Fury's mission to recover the plans. Oh no!

But fear not, as Spider-Man knows how to recover the plans. He knows that the Chameleon always hides in a crowd... and the only crowd nearby is Felicia's yacht party. Yes, for some reason, crime-ridden commercial docks and high-society private yacht marinas are always located side-by-side.

Spider-Man leads Fury to the party, and exposes Felicia. Umm... which is to say, exposes Felicia as the Chameleon in disguise. Hey, I wonder if the Chameleon's device transforms his underwear into sexy French lingerie when he changes into a female form... or does it just change his dress and jewelery? Perhaps it's best not to inquire too deeply into such matters.

We're not finished yet. The Chameleon throws down a smoke grenade and changes to be Jonah Jameson. A strange choice, since Felica doesn't like Jonah, so he probably wasn't actually invited to the party. Anyhow, Spidey identifies the Chameleon once more, and then Spidey + S.H.I.E.L.D. capture him for good, recovering the disk in the process.

Spider-Man reveals that he actually tagged Chameleon with a Spider-Tracer earlier. That kind of makes a bit of a joke out of the explanation of his clever logic to track Chameleon to the party. He could have just followed the Spider-Tracer, no need for any detective work. Ah well, case closed. Peter has his pictures for Bugle, and he gets to dance with Felicia.

In General...

I kind of get the feeling that this story is an abridged version of a TV episode from the animated series. Unfortunately, in the truncation the written version of the story acquired a stitched-together somewhat non-sequitur feeling.

The bright and bold, chunky-colored artwork neither adds nor subtracts to the book. But nothing could redeem what is a poorly-paced and badly-connected series of events.

Overall Rating...

Perhaps the original telling made more sense, but this patchwork hack-up version has no charm and no continuity. Two webs.