AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #604: Last Chance With Mary Jane

Writer Fred Van Lente aims a red-headed dagger at Spider-Man!



By Jim Beard

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #604 cover by Leinil Francis Yu
It’s an old story: boy gets his act together and then in walks a "Red-Headed Stranger"—and boy falls to pieces! The boy’s Peter Parker, the amazing Spider-Man, and the red-head? That’d be Mary Jane Watson, tiger—Pete’s old flame and his latest challenge!

Unfortunately, Spider-Man’s also distracted by the return of the Chameleon, his very first costumed foe, in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #604 available on September 9. Writer Fred Van Lente ponders the imponderables when he asks some hard questions about Spidey, the Chameleon, Mary Jane and their shared past.

See, MJ once kicked Chameleon’s sorry butt. And she might just have to do it again.

“Ha!” chortles Van Lente over whether Mary Jane could repeat her Chameleon smackdown. “Well, the first step would be to realizing one was dealing with The Chameleon; and since he looks like a different person every time, that's not the easiest thing in the world to do.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #604 art by Barry Kitson
“Also, I'll just add that since Dan Slott's Fantastic Four arc in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, we've known that there's some weird memory stuff going on with people who knew Spider-Man's secret identity. We know during Civil War that one of those people is The Chameleon. If his knowledge of Peter Parker's secret identity is gone, his memories of his interactions with the rest of Parker's loved ones—including getting smacked around by MJ—may be gone to. So he may be meeting MJ again for the first time here.”

The tale of the confounding cretin’s latest foray into the wallcrawler’s life may define him for a new generation of Spider-fans, while at the same time offering the same thrills and chills he’s delivered in epics of the past.

“This is a difficult story to tease without giving away the whole thing, with Chameleon being a Master of Disguise and requiring the element of disguise and all,” Van Lente reports of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #604. “Suffice it to say this is something of a reimagining of the Chameleon. He's much more lethal, calculated and, frankly, unbalanced. He doesn't just impersonate he people—he tries to be that person better than they were. And his definition of ‘better’ is...rather twisted.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #604 art by Barry Kitson
“And alas, Mary Jane Watson is one of the many unfortunate individuals who cross Chameleon's path during his current mission.”

The question of MJ’s present outlook on Peter’s life is a prickly one, considering her past with our hero and the travails they faced together. One might wonder if she’s put Spider-Man behind her, or if his career as one of the Marvel Universe’s greatest heroes still concerns her as before.

“That's a really interesting question,” Van Lente admits. “I don't know that her concern has lessened or strengthened, but he's no longer a major part of her life anymore. His welfare isn't necessarily her responsibility as maybe she thought it was when they were dating and living together.

“Maybe her concern for him, and the constant danger he put himself in as Spider-Man, was a major reason they broke up in the first place, but that is a story that has yet to be told—and will be told, in the fairly near future.”

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #604 art by Barry Kitson
Regardless, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #604’s sure to give readers a glimpse of MJ’s mindset, the person she’s become since the breakup—and what sort of hole Spidey’s left in her heart.

“I think it's painful for her not to be with Peter,” Van Lente says. “She still loves him very, very much. Perhaps she even thinks he is still the love of her life, you know? 

“Unfortunately, love isn't always enough.”

Join us on September 9 for the fourth part of “Red-Headed Stranger” in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #604. It's all about life, love and deception—another typical day for Peter Parker!


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I think the ending here will rather likely be MJ 2 Chameleon 0. But since it's post-omd, the old score doesn't count so it'll be MJ 1 Chameleon 0. I enjoyed reading the past few issues about how the Chameleon thinks. It was twisted yet funny. Poor Peter Parker imagine the mess he'd have to sort out after all the mayhem. Well good news for the Chameleon is he had the chance to take liberties of a few people and I presume he only remembers he got his butt handed to him by a girl only once.


[quote:f53b90d868="Fred Van Lente"]“I don't know that her concern has lessened or strengthened, but he's no longer a major part of her life anymore. His welfare isn't necessarily her responsibility as maybe she thought it was when they were dating and living together."[/quote] How about when they were married? :lol:


Mega lol. I'd picked up 602 and had read it and was rather shaken by the ending.Shame I have to wait until 604, but it'll be interesting to see how MJ handles Chameleon.


Lol, these pages just gave away the awesome cliffhanger in 602.