This version of The Chameleon was the first HeroClix had seen, debuting in the Marvel HeroClix WEB OF SPIDER-MAN set in 2010. The dial is good fun, but a little pricey for his role as “tie-up”. The Mastermind power is appropriate, but I’m not sure I’d want to shunt damage off to another figure. In this day and age, the 6 range with Incapacitate is pretty good, and the 9’s and 8’s are workable, and he can get plenty of help from other Sinister Syndicate team ability characters. But, there are some pretty good attackers for under 66 points now, and just not sure if I’d want to Mastermind any damage from Chameleon onto them.
Bit of an admission to make here: I mostly started this post to play with an idea or two concerning a previous post about possibilities for a Marvel Cinematic Universe “Spider-Man” TV series. As the first “costumed supervillain” Spidey encountered in the comics, and with his gimmick of disguises, he’d be “useable” for TV budget-wise, I imagine.
When I first saw “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, and there’s that scene were Black Widow reveals herself — she was in disguise using this interesting combo of wig, clothing, electronic voice altering, and this “holographic-mesh — I though, “Whoa! Perfect device for an MCU Chameleon to use!”
In Chameleons original incarnation in the comics, he was a master of disguise using conventional make-up effects, a lot of it at first stashed in a gimmicky “disguise vest” for quick changes. Eventually, though, Marvel creative teams moved him towards having actual superpowers, not quite the level of the mutant, Mystique. But, close.
I prefer “ingenious tech-based villain”, personally. Matter of fact, splice it with some of the “ripped from the headlines” stuff. I remember hearing a piece months ago on NPR about a woman who’d not only stolen other people’s identities to commit various forms of fraud, she’d *invented* identities, forging false birth certificates and the like to help her in her crimes. She apparently eluded authorities for years, a couple of time even thought dead. Amazing stuff.
And, again, how does one pull off something like that in this day and age. I mean, our systems and tools aren’t *yet* to the point of “reading a terrorist’s DNA before he even comes out of his spider-hole” (I think that was one of Nick Fury’s lines in CAWS), and there’s still the problems of “bureaucratic lag” and forensic labs with years of backlogged evidence to process, but still, how does one continue to operate in the US, UK, EU, in the internet age? Ever hear of the “dark net”? Might be fun to explore that in a hypothetical Spider-Man MCU/TV series, yeah?
When Chameleon first appeared in the comics, in the 1960’s, he was working for the KGB. As the Cold War wound down, writers seemed to rely on “revenge against Spider-Man” stories for him. And, At some point, they game him a Russian name, then later made him a half-brother to Kraven the Hunter. That was so unnecessary. Kinda painted him into a corner. Prefer him being in the league of other Marvel characters like Spymaster or Ghost, as a more independent.
May have been doing this since his teens. Computer programming skills. Underprivileged background? Possibly. Or, maybe middle class, but grew up abroad. Military brat? No. Child of a government official in a diplomatic post? Possibly. Or the child of a contractor or employee of some international corporation? Yeah. He may have started out with some sense of idealism, morality, and a bit of ego, even. Shades of Edward Snowden or Julian Asange? Maybe. [What I’m talking about here is the “anti-unchecked power” ideological angle.] But, that also might put him too close on the “villainy spectrum” to Ghost. [Ghost has a particular beef with multinational corporations, and seems less motivated by any sense of “justice” and “personal revenge hitched to mercenary activities”.] Maybe he started out as more of a Frank Abagnale, Jr. type, but went a little darker.
They have to keep him from becoming a psychotic killer, though. It’s a road they travelled down in the comics. that’s pretty vanilla. If they were to use him in said hypothetical TV series, he’d have to not kill, for at least a dozen appearances. When/if he does kill, it might might want to keep it to the “criminal of criminal” level of violence, as in, he got double-crossed by someone else, like a guy who hired him, and quietly killed the guy (making it look like an accident).
Chameleon, as written, is prone to mistakes (usually as a result of a bit of pride or hubris). But, the heroes often underestimate him as well, thinking they’ve go the drop on him, and suddenly he slips away. (Why, it’s almost “Batman-like.” Ha, ha.)
BACK to HeroClix: Would like to see him again. Something more than the previous version, though. Not necessarily more points, just a more “saboteur” role. He should have a chance to screw up use of team abilities, or Traits, or keyword/theme team Probability Control use, and so on. He’s done work for HYDRA and A.I.M., so maybe a dual ta of both SinSyn and Hydra? Also, Love the CW033 Victoria hand’s special power. “Traitor, or Not?” That’d be cool for him. Or a way to mess up an opponent’s use of Enhancement or Empower? Or mess with an adjacent enemy’s Defense value? Lowers the opponent’s down while raising his by the same amount? Twist on the “body double play” cliché.
He may have been underused or even misused over the decades, but I think he has potential as a ReClix character.