Monday, May 26, 2008

Natural Selection

Episode Number: 3
Season Episode Number: 3
Production Number: 103
Airdate: March 15, 2008

Writer: Matt Wayne
Director: Dave Bullock

Voices: Josh Keaton (Spider-Man), Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy), Joshua Lebar (Flash Thompson), Ben Diskin (Eddie Brock), Deborah Strang (May Parker), James Arnold Taylor (Harry Osborn), Kath Soucie (Martha Connors), Dee Bradley Baker (Lizard), Mark Burkholder (Billy Conners), Andrew Kishino (Kenny Kong), Phil LaMarr (Rand Robertson).

Plot: Dr. Curt Conners finds a way to restore his missing right arm, unfortunately, the formula he uses turns him into a giant Lizard! Spider-Man and his friends must find a way to turn him back into Curt Conners before someone gets hurt.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): The thing I noticed most while watching this episode is how different the censorship is for this series compared to the 90s Spider-Man. In this episode we have Spider-Man punching the villain with his fist, child endangerment and lots of breaking glass -- all stuff that was not allowed by FOX for the 90s series.

This of course, greatly adds to the enjoyment of the show. The stakes are higher, the action is more intense and the whole show just feels like it isn't being dumbed down for kids.

Night of the Lizard is the first episode of the 90s Spider-Man series and possibly the best of the show's five year run. But where that show missed the mark was making it the first episode. By making the Lizard the third episode of Spectacular, the character and relationship between Curt and Peter was able to grow so that the Lizard is a more sympathetic character.

I am thrilled to see just how involved Eddie Brock is as a supporting cast member. Instead of simply bringing him in when they want to tell the Venom story, they have introduced us to him from the beginning.

But Venom and Lizard aren't the only two that we met before their debut as villains. We have also seen Sandman, Rhino, Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Sin-Eater and the Jackal. Will all of these characters become villains? Only time will tell.

The most impressive part of Natural Selection has got to be the action scenes. There are a number of great fights as Spider-Man battles the Lizard in the lab, on the subway and at the zoo. The action is intense, the camera work and editing is amazing and the animation is so incredible that I have to say that this is rivaling the DCAU.

DVD Releases:
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, The Complete First Season
  • Spectacular Spider-Man: Attack of the Lizard
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, Volume One

  • Back to Episode Guide

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