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Appearing in "Backlash"

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Synopsis for "Backlash"

From his secret hideout in New York, the Kangaroo has put on his new high-tech costume and intends to carry on the legacy started by Frank Oliver, the original Kangaroo.[Continuity 1] Although he was recently defeated by Spider-Man, the Kangaroo believes that was a bit of bad luck and goes bounding out into the city.[Continuity 2] It doesn't take Spider-Man long to find and knock the Kangaroo to the ground. When the villain attempts to avenge the death of his predecessor with a chest mounted blaster, the weapon short circuits and blows up. This stuns the Kangaroo long enough for Spider-Man to web him up onto a lamppost for the authorities to cart away. However, before the authorities can arrive the Kangaroo is approached by the Grizzly who asks his fellow villain if he is interested in getting revenge against Spider-Man.

In Queens, Mary Jane reflects on how much her life has changed since she was a carefree party animal. Especially after the rough time she and her husband Peter have had recently, she is happy to be going back to school and studying psychology.[Continuity 3] That's when her husband Peter returns home. With Aunt Anna out with a relative for the night, Peter doesn't need to sneak around the house in his costume and fills his wife in on how the Chameleon almost tricked him into thinking he was a writer suffering from a nervous breakdown and that his entire life was a lie. The only thing that kept Peter from buying this ruse was holding onto the memory of Mary Jane. Although he managed to get free, the Chameleon managed to escape. Peter also expresses his concern that the Chameleon now knows that Spider-Man and Peter Parker are the same person. Mary Jane is surprised that the it took the Chameleon this long to put two-and-two together.[Continuity 4] When Peter asks how Mary Jane can take this so blase about this, Mary Jane points out that no matter what happens to them, they always endure. To prove her point, she points out all of the threats and tragedies they have suffered in recent times and how they managed to keep going no matter what.[Continuity 5] She concludes by telling Peter that she is tired of running and hiding from his enemies, and that she will stand her ground. Encouraging Peter to go out, Mary Jane's husband agrees to take down the Chameleon, but not on an empty stomach.[Continuity 6]

Elsewhere in the city, the Chameleon is face-to-face with a man who claims to be Sergei Kravenoff, aka Kraven the Hunter, an impossibility given that Kraven committed suicide sometime earlier.[Continuity 7] Fearing for his life, the Chameleon tries to flee but is snared in Karven's whip. Kraven is disappointed that he failed to destroy Spider-Man yet again. Claiming to be the voice of the Chameleon's unconscious, Kraven scoops up the deranged spy and swings across the treetops. Karven tells the Chameleon that he intends to expand his vision, wondering what Ashley Kafka would make of all of this. Elsewhere in the city, Betty Brant is out walking in the rain with her ex-boyfriend Flash Thompson.[Continuity 8] She had her reservations about meeting with him, but he sounded really depressed. Flash explains that he has been down on his life recently. As they pass a dive bar, Flash explains that it has been easier for him to drown his miseries with the other drunks but soon came to realize that he father did the same thing when he was a kid and is afraid that he might be developing a problem. Hearing this, Betty tells Flash that she won't let Flash go down that path if she can help it. Flash explains that he doesn't think that way anymore and is on the upswing after his talk with Spider-Man earlier that night. Since it is getting late, Betty decides its time to head home. That's when Flash oversteps his boundaries by suggesting that Betty stay the night at his place. Offended, Betty tells Flash to forget it, telling him that the next time he calls a woman in the middle of the night for help to call his mother. Angry with himself for screwing things up, Flash begins thinking about getting a drink.

Meanwhile, back at Ravencroft, Doctor Ashley Kafka and John Jameson go over all the detailed files that Kafka has compiled on the Chameleon during his stay at her facility. She hopes to use this information in order to catch him before things get out of control. John mirrors her concern, especially after the institute managed to re-open itself after the federal government tried to shut them down.[Continuity 9] John points out how difficult their task is, pointing out that the Chameleon could be disguised as anyone, even himself. To prove she knows that he is the real John Jameson, Ashley kisses him. When John asks what this means, Kafka tells them they can talk about their relationship after they have captured the Chameleon. She has narrowed down the possible identities that Chameleon could be using down to thirty-five. Before she and John can begin their long search, they are interrupted by Ashley's assistant Edward Wheland, who tells them that Senator Roeberg has learned of the Chameleon's escape and wants answers. She tells Edward to keep the Senator on hold as she and John have a lot of work ahead of them. As they leave the institute, they are observed by Jack O'Lantern, who intends to make John Jameson's life more busy than it is right now. Back in Queens, Mary Jane awakens from a nightmare inspired by the recent troubles Peter has had with the Chameleon. Not wishing to be caught unaware, she digs a baseball bat out of the closet and crawls back into bed with the weapon. Despite her brave face, Mary Jane is still worried for her safety and hopes that Peter manages to capture the Chameleon before something happens.

Elsewhere in the city, Spider-Man is web-slinging across Manhattan. He is thinking about all the stress his wife has been under since they've been married. Although she knew what she signed on for when they did get married, Peter fears that Mary Jane is taking on too much right now, particularly after the death of their newborn daughter.[Continuity 10] Although the pair have been seeing a grief counselor since the baby's death, he worries that she hasn't gotten completely over the loss yet. Approaching one of the Chameleon's hideouts, Spider-Man's spider-sense begins to go off, hopefully pointing out the location of the Chameleon. As it turns out, it is the same brownstone where Kraven had his "last hunt" with Spider-Man. There, the Chameleon and Kraven argue over the Hunter's legacy. Recalling how Kraven committed suicide, the Chameleon calls him a coward and tries to attack him. The attack does nothing but anger Kraven who easily overpowers the Chameleon. He then reminds the Chameleon why they hate each other. While Kraven was born of nobility, Dmitri Smerdyakov was the product of Kraven's father have a lustful affair with a servant girl. So insignificant was this child to the Kravenoffs, they did not wish the boy to sully the family name and so he was forced to take the name of his mother, Smerdyakov. However, he knows that there is Kravinoff blood running through his veins. Regaining his composure, the Chameleon realizes that this is true, that he suppressed this knowledge after all the abuse he suffered from his father. As he comes to this realization, Kraven disappears, leaving the Chameleon to believe that the encounter was all in his mind.

That's when Spider-Man arrives and tries to apprehend his foe. However, the Chameleon, reclaiming his family name, reveals that he has John Jameson and Ashley Kafka imprisoned in the same electrified cage that once held Vermin during Kraven's last hunt. With two of his closest allies a prisoner, Spider-Man is helpless to do anything to stop his foe.

Notes

Continuity Notes

  1. Oliver, the original Kangaroo, died in Amazing Spider-Man #126.
  2. Spider-Man left the Kangaroo webbed up for the authorities in Spectacular Spider-Man #242.
  3. Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
  4. Mary Jane is referring to how the Chameleon was involved in a plot to manipulate Spider-Man and Peter Parker with simulacrums based on Peter's parents. This scheme was revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #388.
  5. Mary Jane lists off the following events that have affected their lives.
    • Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
    • Eddie Brock learned Peter's secret identity when he bonded with an alien symbiote to become became Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #299300.
    • There are many references here to the then-recent Clone Saga. Namely Kaine's attempt to kidnap Mary Jane, the brief period everyone thought that Peter was a clone, moving to Portland and back, and the death of Ben Reilly.
  6. Peter makes a crack about not wanting to bleach his hair. This is a reference to the fact that Ben Reilly, Peter's clone, dyed his hair in an attempt to hide the fact that he resembled Peter Parker. That happened in Sensational Spider-Man #0.
  7. Kraven committed suicide during the Kraven's Last Hunt story arc. This man is later revealed to be Kraven's son Alexei in Spectacular Spider-Man #250.
    Kraven's Last Hunt
    Web of Spider-Man #31 Amazing Spider-Man #293 Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #131 Web of Spider-Man #32 Amazing Spider-Man #294 Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #132

  8. Betty and Flash started their relationship in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #109. The pair quietly broke up shortly after the events of Spectacular Spider-Man #148.
  9. The government tried to shut down Ravencroft in Carnage: It's a Wonderful Life #1.
  10. Peter and Mary Jane's baby was stillborn in Amazing Spider-Man #418.

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