The following two pages depict the aforementioned scene:
drsevarius was good enough to contact Fred Van Lente, who wrote this scene, to ask Van Lente if it did indeed depict a rape (after all, to be fair, it was left at least slightly ambiguous as to whether the Chameleon and Michelle had sex, although it was rather heavily implied that they had). Van Lente offered the following reply via e-mail, which drsevarius was good enough to share on scans_daily:
My understanding of the definition of rape is that it requires force or the threat of force, so no. Using deception to trick someone into granting consent isn't quite the same thing.Let me break this down for you all, since there seem to be so many people wandering around out there without a clue on this issue:
Which is not to say it isn't a horrible, evil, reprehensible thing that Chameleon did. He is a bad man.
He insults paraplegics and dips people in acid too.
- Sex without informed consent? By definition, that's rape. The word "informed" is key in the term "informed consent." Without it, "consent" could not be violated without either force or threats. If "consent" was not required to be "informed," then "consent" could be given by those who were legally intoxicated or underage, and the categories of "date rape" and statutory rape wouldn't even exist.
- Sex in which one person is deceived as to the true identity of the other? By definition, that's sex without informed consent. While all people have many criteria for choosing to give consent, with many of those criteria varying from person to person, the one criterion that's arguably common to all people is that they choose to give consent based on WHO the other person is, so in that sense, knowing WHO you're having sex with is the FOUNDATION of "informed consent."
- Therefore, sex in which one person is deceived as to the true identity of the other? By definition, THAT'S RAPE. It simply doesn't get more basic than that.
I mean, after all, after calling the crime that the Chameleon had committed against Michelle "a horrible, evil, reprehensible thing," Van Lente certainly wouldn't turn the tragedy of her trauma into fodder for SITCOM LAUGHS, AMIRITE???
The last page of Amazing Spider-Man #604, also written by Fred Van Lente:
Just in case any of you missed what just happened on these pages, Peter just found out that the Chameleon had sex with Michelle, while wearing his face, and Peter's biggest concern is that he's now trapped in a romantic relationship with a woman that he doesn't like. Because clearly, when one of his enemies commits a SEX CRIME against a woman that he knows, the only reason that it should upset him is because of how it compounds his OH NOES TYPICAL PARKER LUCK HERP DERP.
This scene does not address the fact that Michelle has been physically and emotionally violated by a complete stranger - even if you're such a semantics pedant that you refuse to call what happened to her "rape," there's really no way that you can disagree with this description of it - and moreover, it does not address the fact that, unless she or the Chameleon bothered to use protection - unlikely, since they were acting spontaneously enough to have sex on the kitchen floor - then she's now at risk of becoming pregnant by, or contracting the sexually transmitted diseases of, a complete stranger.
And as long as Peter refrains from telling Michelle the truth - which SHE DESERVES TO KNOW, because it's about WHAT WAS DONE TO HER OWN BODY - then he's essentially aiding and abetting the Chameleon's violation of her.
Tell me why I'm supposed to find this shit FUNNY, Fred Van Lente. I fucking DARE you.