Dead Television: Marvel Month 2: Spectacular Spider-Man


After the lackluster success of their first animated series, Sony decided to try again, with a more light-hearted cartoon, more true to the comics: The Spectacular Spider-Man! Before we go any further, I want to talk about the man behind the show, no, not Stan Lee, Greg Weisman. Weisman is well known writting popular cult cartoons like Gargoyles, Young Justice, and episodes for various (action/adventure/sci-fi) cartoons over the years, and now he’s currently working as a writer for Star Wars: Rebels. The Transformers Wiki, refers to him as the Joss Whedon of animation, and he’s certainly earned that title over the years.

The show itself ran it’s first season on Kids WB from March 8, 2008 to June 14 2008, it’s second season ran on Disney X.D. from June 22 2009 to November 18, 2009. Both seasons ran for 13 episodes.  Since the series follows Peter in high school, the series is broken up into loose arcs, each consisting of three to four episodes that take place over a month within the series, with the episode titles in each arc adopting terms from specific fields of study. Both seasons one and two consist of 13 episodes

The first season (like most animated adaptations) starts off with Peter already being active as Spider-Man, he goes to Midtown Magnet High School, with his only friends (at that point), Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn (who later becomes the first Green Goblin), and helps Aunt May with the expenses by working freelance at the Daily Bugle. He and Gwen, alongside their other friend/mentor Eddie Brock also have an internship at Empire State University, working with Dr. Connors (who later becomes The Lizard) and his wife. As time past, Spidey goes from taking care of petty crime, to facing superpowered criminals, like Vulture, Electro and Sandman. With help from Norman Osborn, and Otto Octavius, the Big Man (I.E. Tombstone), oversees the development of a project to create “supervillains” designed to distract Spider-Man from other crimes and stop damaging his profits. Later things take a different turn when Green Goblin enters the fray, but once he’s taken down Peter encounters the symbiote and almost joins Tombstone, but he overcomes the power of the black suit and gets rid of it. Unfortunately, the suit finds a new person to bond with: The recently fired Eddie Brock, together they become the powerful, Venom.

In Season 2, Peter’s having a trying time with making up for his mistreatments of all his friends (thanks to the Black Suit), and trying to figure out weather to choose between, Gwen or a girl he tutored, Liz Allan (they both revealed their feelings for him near the end of Season 1). He chooses Liz, he eventually chooses Liz. Norman Osborn takes on the role of Peter’s mentor, pulling strings to re-establish his job as Dr. Connors’ lab assistant, as well as overseeing the installment of the conniving Miles Warren into the university’s lab. As time goes by Spidey comes across some new villains like Mysterio and Kraven the Hunter, he later investigates the goings on of a new mysterious crime boss called the Master Planner (Doc Ock). When the Master Planner’s first scheme fails, Spider-Man is faced with a three-way gang war between the Planner’s super-villain forces, the Tombstone and his supervillains, and the old guard of Silvio Manfried (I.E. Silvermane). Peter’s search for Eddie Brock also leads to the return of Venom, who attempts to expose Spider-Man’s secret identity and remove his powers. Finally, when the three major crime lords are arrested, Spider-Man once again goes up against the Green Goblin (this time Norman Osborne), who is bent on eliminating the wall-crawler once and for all. The season/series ends on a cliffhanger, with Doc Connors and his family leaving New York, and Norman leaving the country (under a different identity).

In an interview, Weisman, stated that there were plans to make direct-to-DVD movies continuing the story, but the plans were put on ice once Disney bought Marvel. One of the possibilities would have involved the famous Death of Gwen Stacy arc.

This was a fantastic show, and it was a damn shame it was taken off so soon. For one, the action scenes are all fluidly animated. Spiderman moves the way he should. Then there is the humor that, so far, has been absent from any version of Spiderman outside of the comics. This show has some vicious one-liners that sound like they were written by professional stand up comedian. The Spectacular Spider-Man has amazing animation, sensational action, side splitting humor, absolutely relatable drama, snappy dialogue, and, lastly, spectacular writing. I implore all of you to find a way to watch this show, any fan of the character, or of good television wouldn’t have a problem watching it.

Next up, Wolverine is… Leading the X-Men? WHAT?!

RANK: 5 out of 5


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