Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spectacular Spider-Man Reviewed

A while back I mentioned the new Spectacular Spider-Man animated series would be debuting last Saturday. And now after watching a couple episodes I feel I can pass some judgment. It's definitely a reinterpretation of the Spider-Man mythos updated to today's world. Peter Parker is in high school. He lives at home with Aunt May. At this point Mary Jane isn't even in the show (I've seen character sketches of her for the show, but I don't know if she'll actually be in it).

They do give him a supporting cast. His best buddy is Harry Osborn (whose Dad Norman Osborn will eventually become the Green Goblin). Gwen Stacy is his platonic female friend who they've obviously set up as having a crush on Peter to which he's oblivious. There's also Flash Thompson the bully at high school that picks on Peter, but is Spider-Man's biggest fan and Liz Allen, who Peter is crushing on, but is dating Flash Thompson and looks down and Peter and his friends because they're geeks. They've also made Eddie Brock (the guy destined to become Venom) a former friend that graduated from high school last year and is now at college where Peter and Gwen are interns working for Curt Conners (the guy who will eventually be the Lizard). And let's not forget Jonah Jameson from the Daily Bugle.

It's lot of character to introduce in one half hour episode, but somehow they manage to get all the supporting cast in there and have Spider-Man go up against the Vulture and the Enforcers all within the first 30 minute episode (which is really only 20 if you subtract out time for commercials). To be honest, it's an impressive amount of exposition for the pilot, but they pull it off. Storywise they have enough characters already set up and plotlines in motion for the whole season. In fact, while this is a reinterpretation I would say the writing is pretty good for the most part. There's one recurring bit where Peter constantly needs to call home to Aunt May before 10 PM every night if he's going to be late that always seems to happen during a big super-villain brawl that's getting tedious, but other than they do a good job. The only thing I've really taken issue with is the art isn't as polished as the Spider-Man animated series from back in the 90s and that they've made Peter Parker have this anime type of facial appearance (those are some freakishly huge eyeballs) and for some reason they seemed to think Peter Parker needed a beauty mark on his face. Other than that I have to say the series looks like it has promise (admittedly though there have only been two aired episodes so far).

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