The Chameleon Conspiracy is one of the final story arcs that Nick Spencer is working on as he wraps up his run on Amazing Spider-Man. This particular story arc has brought together several different running sub-plots through the course of Spencer’s run into one big event. The biggest of those sub-plots is what the true backstory of Teresa Parker, the little sister of Peter Parker. Over the course of The Chameleon Conspiracy we’ve seen even more questions brought up of if Teresa Parker is really Peter Parker’s little sister or if was all made up by the Chameleon. Let’s find out what is the truth with Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: The Chameleon Conspiracy #1.
Writers: Nick Spencer and Ed Brisson
Artists: Marcelo Ferreira, Carlos Gomez, Ze Carlos, and Ig Guara
Inkers: Wayne Faucher, Carlos Gomez, Ze Carlos, and Ig Guara
Colorist: Andrew Crossley, Morry Hollowell, and Rachelle Rosenberg
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After thinking back to Ned Leeds history as Hobgoblin and with Roderick Kingsley, Spider-Man reaches The Palace (a skyship casino above New York City).
As soon as they enter The Palace, Spider-Man and Ned find Jack O’Lanterns, Foreigner, Chance and Slyde all fighting over the Clairvoyance and Catalyst. While Spider-Man goes to save Jamie Tolentino (Peter Parker’s lab partner who built the Clairvoyance) Ned rushes to finish things with the Foreigner.
As the fighting goes on it is revealed that the Jack O’Lanterns are just Chameleon duplicates. The Chameleons also turn out to be all the villains inside The Palace except for Foreigner, Chance and Slyde.
Elsewhere the Finisher talks to Teresa Parker about Dmitri Smerdyakov origin and how the Finisher took a young Dmitri from the Kravinoff Estate to train at the special school he created. As the room transforms into that school Teresa finds the place familiar.
Back at The Palace the real Jack O’Lantern joins the fight against his Chameleon duplicates.
Meanwhile Chance fights the Chameleons taking the the Catalyst using the Goblin Gliders.
Back inside The Palace, Ned finds the Foreigner.
In another part of The Palace, Spider-Man finds a hiding spot for Jamie so he can go get the Catalyst
After Spider-Man leaves, Slide saves Jamie from an attack from one of the Chameleons.
Elsewhere, Teresa starts breaking down as Finisher and Chameleon talk about how everything she knows about being her Parker Family history was just part of being a Chameleon. Finisher and Chameleon tell Teresa that if she gets the Clairvoyance she can find out what her past and future really is.
Back at The Palace, the Chameleons are tearing the place up. As that happens Ned and Foreigner go back and forth in their fight. Ned eventually is able to get the upperhand in their fight.
At the same time Spider-Man is able to defeat Chance and Chameleons to take the Catalyst from them.
Back inside The Palace Slyde demands Jamie come with him as he is Foreigner’s insurance policy to get out of this. Spider-Man knocks Slyde out from behind.
Meanwhile, Ned is beating Foreigner down. Spider-Man stops Ned from killing Foreigner.
Spider-Man, Ned and Jamie then work together to use the energy powering the Clairvoyance along with the Catalyst to stop The Palace from crashing on New York City streets. Spider-Man is then able to pilot the falling The Palace to safe location to crash where there aren’t people.
Surviving the crash, Jamie tells Spider-Man that he originally created the Clairvoyance so it could do good in the world but he ended up using it for gambling and things that would benefit him Jamie gives the Clairvoyance device to Spider-Man to do with it as he wants.
As the police arrive to arrest the Chameleon, Ned wishes Foreigner didn’t escape so he would’ve been arrested to. Spider-Man tells Ned they should just be lucky to survive since Ned has something to go back to. Ned smiles and goes back to see Betty Brant again.
The next morning Spider-Man meets up with Teresa. Spider-Man gives his sister the Clairvoyance believing she will know how to keep it safe. As Spider-Man goes to leave Teresa hugs Peter and tell him she loves him.
As that happens Teresa reflects back on her confrontation with Chameleon. At the time Teresa is unable to kill Chameleon and has a breakdown, believing she is just another person trained to be a Chameleon as well.
After Spider-Man swings away Teresa decides to destroy the Clairvoyance device instead of using it as she believes herself to be truly Teresa Parker. She then flies off to find out who killed her and Peter’s parents.
At an airport Silver Sable informs the Wild Pack she finished her mission and has secured all the missing money so it is returning back to Symkaria.
Elsewhere, Foreigner freaks out that all his funds. Foreigner tries to get Taskmaster and Black Ant to get back his missing funds but the two villains aren’t interested since Foreigner doesn’t have money to pay them.
Over at Chameleon’s prison cell Kindred shows up demanding another vile of serum. Chameleon is happy to continue doing business with Harry Osborn. End of issue.
The Good: Concluding The Chameleon Conspiracy an oversized comic book perfectly summarized how Nick Spencer is at a point he just wanted to wrap as many storylines he created over the course of his run up before his time on Amazing Spider-Man ends. Just about everything not related to Kindred is brought together here and it just ends up being a recipe for a rushed mess where there is very little to care about when Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: The Chameleon Conspiracy #1.
The only thing that ends up working to have some impact on the reader is Teresa Parker’s arc in The Chameleon Conspiracy. The mind games that both Finisher and Chameleon play on her make you feel bad for what Teresa is going through. Even if she was possibly raised to be another version of Chameleon you do come to understand that being Teresa Parker gave her some purpose. This made the moment where she decided that she doesn’t need the Clairvoyance the truth of whether she is Peter Parker’s sister or not a good note to end on. It leaves the door open for Teresa to return and continue to play off the brother-sister dynamic that has been built with Peter since her introduction.
The Bad: When all was said and done Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: The Chameleon Conspiracy #1 is just a cluttered mess. The chaotic action shows that as there is so much going on and you just don’t care about any of it. That all fall on the fact that Spencer tries to use every non-Kindred sub-plot into one story thinking that is enough to create an investment in what is going on. Unfortunately that is just never the case as all of these sub-plots have been so minor that having Foreigner, Jamie Tolentino, Chameleon, Ned Leeds, and all other characters involved never hits the scale that is intended.
More so than anything, Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: The Chameleon Conspiracy #1 comes across as a way for Spencer just to put his final stamp on stories that were still in development. That leads to you being able to see through how underdeveloped every storyline and character involved is. Which goes back to how the intense focus on Kindred over the course of the second half of his run on Amazing Spider-Man has hindered other stories.
Jamie Tolentino is the best example of this as he has been a massively underdeveloped character. Introduced as a Peter’s lab partner at ESU, Spencer never properly spent time developing his character to be more than a guy who had a God complex with his Clairvoyance. There was no point before The Chameleon Conspiracy that we were made to see him more as that. Which makes the sudden shift of how Jamie is clearly over his head with getting involved in with the Foreigner not be something that adds to the character. This was an obvious thing that would happen and it is all due to Spencer not spending time developing Peter’s life at ESU and partnership with Jamie.
The villains of this story don’t come across as any better. Jack O’Lantern, Foreigner, Chance and Slyde are all just generically written antagonists. There is no satisfaction over their defeat. There was no tension to the fight as each of these villains never rose beyond the Z-list villain category they are in. You knew Spider-Man would beat them. Especially coming off his fights with Kindred and Wilson Fisk, the villains here just build on how The Chameleon Conspiracy is just a filler story.
Adding in Ned Leeds into how things wrap up in The Chameleon Conspiracy does nothing but show how bad things were developed in this story. Rather than making Ned’s return a big deal to focus more on Peter’s personal relationships it was nothing more than a way to add more drama to the story. The history between Ned and Foreigner comes across as completely forced to give the former some reason to suddenly be re-introduced into Spider-Man’s world. That is not something needed as Spencer could’ve just focused on showing us how Ned and Betty’s return to Peter life places a focus on the supporting cast of this series outside of Mary Jane Watson.
Because of all that the big surprise of Chameleon working with Kindred just adds another forced element into The Chameleon Conspiracy’s conclusion. As soon as Kindred appears you immediately think how unnecessary it is. Chameleon giving Harry Osborn something that is helping him with his Kindred form makes the villain look weak by revealing this. That is not something needed as there are many other ways to explain what is going on with Harry as Kindred. By doing so Spencer makes it obvious that he needs to end his run quickly so there needs to be things done so Kindred can go away by the time he ends his run on Amazing Spider-Man.
The artwork by committee does not help Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: The Chameleon Conspiracy #1. Seeing a large art team working on this single issue speaks to how rushed this entire story was. The art styles never fully mesh with one another. It leads to the belief that Marvel just wanted to end everything as quickly as possible even if that means giving Spencer multiple artists to work with so they can get to the next creative team for Amazing Spider-Man.
Overall: Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: The Chameleon Conspiracy #1 is a complete mess. Every aspect of this storyline is rushed to the point you don’t care about anything that happens or the characters involved. And when all is said and done you are just left with the feeling that Nick Spencer and Marvel are just trying to end this era of Amazing Spider-Man as quickly as possible. That unfortunately leads to an event like The Chameleon Conspiracy that ends up being nothing more than a filler story arc.
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