Sunday, May 25, 2008

Persona




Season: 1
Episode Number: 10
Season Episode Number: 10
Production Number: 110
Airdate: May 17, 2008

Writer: Matt Wayne
Director: Dan Fausett

Voices: Josh Keaton (Spider-Man), Deborah Strang (Aunt May), Dee Bradley Baker (Curt Conners), Benjamin Diskin (Eddie Brock), Tricia Helfer (Black Cat), Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy), Daran Norris (J. Jonah Jameson), Steven Blum (Chameleon), Xander Berkeley (Quentin Beck), Grey DeLisle (Sally Avril), Joshua LeBar (Flash Thompson), Clancy Brown (Captain George Stacy), Irene Bedard (Jean DeWolff), Thomas F. Wilson (Stan Carter)

Plot: An alien life form is brought back to Earth for research under the supervision of Dr. Curt Conners. Peter, excited at the idea of alien life, tries to sneak into the lab to take a look at the gooey life form. But inside the lab he finds the Black Cat in the middle of lifting the goods.

In an attempt to prevent the Black Cat from doing her work, Spidey accidentally steps on the goo which results in the goo coating his costume in black. He finds that the suit gives him extra strength and the ability to change clothes with just a thought.

Meanwhile, the Chameleon poses as Spider-Man and plays off the public uncertainty of the wall-crawler in order to rob a few banks and make a few bucks. In order to prove to Spider-Man that the Black Cat really isn't all that bad, she teams up with him to bring down the Chameleon.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): This 'black goo' is, of course, the alien symbiote that eventually melds with Eddie Brock to become Venom. But that won't happen for a few more episodes. The 90s Spider-Man series had a three part Venom story in its first season as well which was praised to be one of the best stories of the whole series. Is this one going to be better? I don't know about that but we are certainly off to a good start.

The first thing I liked about this episode is the arrival of the symbiote. No back story, no alien taking over the shuttle, no crime lords fighting to steal it first, none of that. It is just there and by accident Peter gets it all over his suit. This episode is about figuring out the suit's potential and I bet we'll see a bit of the darker side in the next episode when he battles the Sinister Six. But it was a good establishing episode for the Black Costume.

There are so many different versions of the Black Cat over the years, which one is the best? The 90s Spider-Man cartoon tried their best to not make her a Catwoman rip-off by giving her super strength but much as I want Black Cat to be her own character, that was not the way to go. However, this version isn't that great either. She displays many Catwoman-esque characteristics, including her stealth, flip-flopping between good and bad, and the sexual tension between her and Spider-Man. While this is a welcome change from the last time we saw her animated, it is too much like the DC heroine. I'm really hoping they develop her character to become her own cat.

And for my third comparison to the 90s Spider-Man, this Chameleon, with his make-up and costumes is far superior to magical belt buckle Chameleon from the 90s cartoon. Having the Chameleon be the frontman of a three man operation is a good call too. The Chameleon can't do it all on his own so he gets help from Quentin Beck (Mysterio) who specializes in theatrics, and Phineas Mason (the Tinkerer) who is a robotics expert. I really hope that later episodes will spotlight this trio of classic Spidey villains.
DVD Releases:
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, The Complete First Season
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, Volume Four

  • Back to Episode Guide

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