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Savage Force

Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

Apparently someone in the Hasbro planning department said "let's put as many of Spider-Man's Russian enemies out at once as we can."

Professional criminals for sale to the highest bidder, these half-brothers have made treachery a family tradition.

Yes, it's true: Kraven and the Chameleon are half-brothers. Dmitri Smerdyakov was the son of Papa Nikolai Kravinoff and Sonya Smerdyakov, a servant in the aristocrat's home. His father hated him and his mother considered him an embarrassment, so his half-brother was the only one who even tolerated him slightly. Although Kraven was bullying and abusive toward him, Chameleon considered the boy his friend, and spent his time trying to amuse and impress him by impersonating people they knew. After moving to America and starting a life of crime, Chameleon was defeated by Spider-Man, so he got in touch with Kraven and suggested the wall-crawler would be a perfect specimen for him to hunt to prove his unmatched skills.

Originally, Chameleon's disguise abilities were just a result of makeup and a special gas that allowed him to reshape the white mask he wore (an idea creator Steve Ditko would later reuse with The Question), but later he got a computerized belt that helped him change even faster. Eventually he had his skin surgically changed to the blank slate he's known for, eliminating the need to wear masks at all. Though he still does sometimes (because that's cooler to draw than a guy's face just changing).

Usually, Chameleon dresses like Hugh Hefner - long robes and caravats - but that would be impractical for a toy, so this one uses the suit body introduced on Agent Coulson. It's a blue suit with a black shirt and a blue tie, and suffers from the same extreme pigeon-toeing as before. Still, this is only the second time we've gotten this body, and it's a different color than before, so it's still nice to see. Plus, choosing this has another benefit that becomes clear when you see his accessories: Chameleon's a master of disguise, so he comes with some disguises (in the form of alternate heads).

First we have Peter Parker's belligerent boss, J. Jonah Jameson. Originally a newspaper publisher and eventually the mayor of New York City, Triple-J is the only man who can successfully wear a Hitler mustache and not look weird doing it. For years fans have had to make do with the movie figure if they wanted a 6" Jameson, but no longer! His face has a great expression: he's mid yell, probably demanding photos of (or poems about) Spider-Man. Sadly, he does not come with his cigar, because toys rarely do.

The second head is another Russian villain, the mob boss Hammerhead. Originally a low-level enforcer, Hammerhead was severely beaten and left for dead in an alley, he was found by a surgeon who replaced his shattered skull with adamantium. Upon awakening, the mobster couldn't remember his name, but took inspiration from a 1920s gangster movie poster he'd seen in the alley. Eventually, he became one of the high-ranking bosses of the Maggia. He's usually shown to be a bit stockier than this body, but it's not like he's getting a toy any other way. He hasn't even had a Minimate yet!

Chameleon is a murderous type of guy, so he comes with a technological pistol. It's not the same that the Hydra or AIM guys carried, but rather comes from Forge. He also comes with a Tommy gun, which was originally seen with Captain America (movie version, not comic version). It's probably meant for Hammerhead, given his obsession with the 1920s. Finally, there's a larger, more intricate version of Retaliation Joe Colton's big orange gun, though now it has a removable ammo drum.

The figure comes with the left arm of the Rhino Build-A-Figure. There's a separate piece of armor on the shoulder, but it tends to pop off the joint pretty easily. You'll want to be careful not to lose it.

Chameleon is the hardest figure to get from Spider-Man Marvel Legends Series 2 - not only has it been 20 years since he's gotten an action figure, the body is perfect for customizers and people are buying multiples so they can have a permanent J. Jonah Jameson and Hammerhead. Basically, if you see this figure, you'd better grab it fast, because you may not see it again.

-- 10/19/15


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