The latest Amazing Spider-Man arc has combined several storylines that Nick Spencer has been working on throughout his run. The biggest of them being the narrative around Teresa Parker and her status as Peter Parker’s sister. This has led Teresa to have a major confrontation with Chameleon, who she holds in great contempt. With Peter busy dealing with his own set of villains as Spider-Man will we see all these storylines merge together? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #69.
Writers: Nick Spencer and Ed Brisson
Artists: Ze Carlos, Carlos Gomez, and Marcelo Ferreira
Inkers: Ze Carlos, Carlos Gomez, and Wayne Faucher
Colorists: Andrew Crossley and Morry Hollowell
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Teresa Parker is pissed that the Finisher (Karl Fiers) believes she will help him and Chameleon. Finisher states that he will tell Teresa the truth that will set them all free.
Over at Empire State University, Spider-Man fights Jack O’Lanterns, Slyde, Foreigner, and Chance in order to stop them from getting the Catalyst. Jamie Tolentino is able to get to the Catalyst. When Spider-Man tries to get Jamie to safety he is blasted from behind by the Foreigner.
Spider-Man quickly recovers to continue fighting Jack O’Lanterns, Slyde, Foreigner, and Chance. Jamie suddenly uses the Catalyst to knock Spider-Man out with an energy blast. Jamie then goes with Jack O’Lanterns, Slyde, Foreigner, and Chance to leave Empire State University grounds.
Elsewhere Finisher retells his story of fighting Spider-Man and only surviving thanks to Chameleon’s help to Teresa.
Back at Empire State University Lizard finds Spider-Man, who finally regains consciousness. Spider-Man tells Lizard he can’t waste time and goes to find someone he knows can help him.
Over at Betty Brant and Ned Leeds apartment Spider-Man shows up. Spider-Man tells them all about the Foreigner. Ned tells Betty he has to help Spider-Man finish things with the Foreigner.
Elsewhere, Finisher reveals to Teresa that they aren’t even in his apartment as their location can become anything he wants it to be. Finisher goes on to say he brought Teresa there so they can talk about the future.
Over at the Palace airship casino, Jamie shows Jack O’Lanterns, Slyde, Foreigner, and Chance his Clairvoyant device’s abilities. As Chance and Foreigner talk about what they could do with the Clairvoyant Jack O’Lanterns decide to take the device and Jamie. Jack O’Lanterns then reveal that they and the villains in the Palace casino all work for Finisher.
Elsewhere, Teresa hears something and wonders where they are. The place they are in is somewhere Chameleon tells his teacher he never wanted to return to. Finisher says they have to be there to face their demons.
A large number of people dressed as Chameleon suddenly enter the room. Finisher tells Teresa that now is the time they discuss the truth about her. End of issue
The Good: One of the overarching things that “The Chameleon Conspiracy” cannot shake is how rushed every aspect of this story is coming across. Even if it was not announced already that Nick Spencer was ending his run on Amazing Spider-Man you could see the signs of the end through this current story arc. Amazing Spider-Man #69 furthers all of that by using the quantity of characters that are appearing so much without revealing anything that you are just left hoping it just ends.
The only positive I have for Amazing Spider-Man #69 is that even with an art by committee Ze Carlos, Carlos Gomez, and Marcelo Ferreira combine to deliver solid artwork. The art is at its best when action is breaking down between Spider-Man and all the villains he fights. The way Teresa Parker’s anger and confusion over what Finisher says also works well to compliment the dialogue that is written.
The Bad: Amazing Spider-Man #69 is just a jumbled mess of a comic that continues how badly paced “The Chameleon Conspiracy” has been thus far. Nick Spencer and his co-writer for this issue, Ed Brisson, just never show a clear focus on where the reader’s attention should be. The moments when we cut between what Spider-Man, Teresa Parker, and all the villains are doing just do not work.
It is particularly bad with the moments in this issue we get one or two pages of the ongoing scene involving Teresa Parker, Chameleon, and Finisher. The cuts to this scene just halt the pacing of the story. It is made even worse due to how disconnected this part of “The Chameleon Conspiracy” feels to the rest of the story. Even when it is revealed that the Finisher has been manipulating everything going on in this story the reveal just leaves a lot to be desired.
This is all just a big indictment on the poor writing of the Finisher as the main antagonist of this story. Every time we go to him talking to Teresa Parker and Chameleon he goes nowhere. It is just Spencer and Brisson writing the character in a way that is just to remind the reader he is a villain. We literally begin and end Amazing Spider-Man #69 in the same spot with Finisher’s monologue as he teases the truth about Teresa Parker’s history. This is made even more problematic when you consider this has been the entire crux of this part of “The Chameleon Conspiracy” story.
All of this ends up hurting whatever endgame character arc Spencer and Brisson have Teresa Parker on. She has gone from mysterious secret agent sister to Peter Parker to someone you just want her character arc to end. It is just constantly going around in circles and the writing is not even masking that with interesting storytelling. We just have the same dialogue being repeated over and over again between Teresa and Finisher.
It also does not help the title character of this arc, Chameleon. The character literally does nothing but sip his whiskey while listening to his teacher. Even in the ending Chameleon is a non-factor. It is extremely disappointing that this is where we find Chameleon after everything potentially set-up at the end of the “Hunted” arc.
Not helping any is the lack of care placed on the big item the villains are fighting over in the Catalyst and Clairvoyance. It just speaks to how Jamie Tolentino is a character that has not been given time to develop. All of his development has been incredibly rushed that you just never care if he is putting himself in unnecessary danger by working with Spider-Man villains. Even with 70+ issues in his run thus far, Spencer just uses the fact that Jamie is Peter’s lab partner as the reason you should care about him. It has not been because Jamie is a compelling character we’ve seen Peter bond with like Fred Myers, aka Boomerang, did during this same period. Its just bad writing at the end of the day.
Because of all the problems with the overall story of “The Chameleon Conspiracy” Jack O’Lanterns, Slyde, Foreigner, and Chance all come across as nothing more than generic villains. There is absolutely no layers to these villains. They are just here to give the story some action for Spider-Man to get involved in.
Due to the generic use of he villains involved the fact that Spider-Man has to recruit Ned Leeds to help him is a plot development that just falls flat. If the Foreigner was better developed to be a main antagonist for this story maybe Ned teaming up with Spider-Man would mean something. But the fact is it just doesn’t, which leads to Ned’s involvement just feeling forced because he has just returned with Betty in the previous issue.
Overall: The Chameleon Conspiracy is the definition of a filler story arc. Every aspect of this story fallen flat from the very beginning. There are just too many rushed elements to make this a compelling narrative alongside the ongoing Kindred Saga. This story needs to end now so we can move on to, hopefully, better stories in Amazing Spider-Man.
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