Monday, May 26, 2008

Survival of the Fittest

Season: 1
Episode Number: 1
Season Episode Number: 1
Production Number: 101
Airdate: March 8, 2008

Writer: Greg Weisman
Director: Victor Cook

Voices: Josh Keaton (Spider-Man), Robert Englund (Vulture), Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy), Grey Delisle (Sally Avril, Betty Brant), Irene Bedard (Jean DeWolff), Phil Lamarr (Rand Robertson), John Dimaggio (Flint Marko, Hammerhead), Clancy Brown (Alex O'Hirn), Peter MacNicol (Otto Octavius), Joshua LeBar (Flash Thompson), Deborah Strang (May Parker), James Arnold Taylor (Harry Osborn), Brian George (Aaron Warren), Kath Soucie (Martha Connors, Anna Watson), Keith David (Big Man), Jeff Bennett (Montana), Alan Rachins (Norman Osborn), Benjamin Diskin (Eddie Brock), Dee Bradley Baker (Curt Conners), Daran Norris (J. Jonah Jameson), Brian George (Aaron Warren).

Plot: After his first summer being Spider-Man, Peter Parker returns to school expecting things to be different. While his school-life unfortunately remains the same, his life as Spider-Man takes a turn as he meets his first super-villains: The Vulture and the Enforcers!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): As far as first episodes go, this has to be one of the best I've seen! This could shape up to be the best Spider-Man series to date and it's only the first episode! Sony Pictures Entertainment brings us a brilliant new series with stunning animation by their new animation studio, Culver Entertainment. And I do mean stunning. The animation is strong and fluid, they don't skimp on any action and the character designs, although a bit on the cartoony side, are stylized yet simple enough to animate.

There is so much to talk about and I don't know where to begin! Almost everyone in the Spider-Man supporting cast makes a cameo in this episode. Here is the rundown:

The three main characters of the show are Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy (now a bookworm instead of a hot babe and the first time she is a main character in a Spider-Man series), and Harry Osborn (whose character is very true to the comics).

At home we have Aunt May and her best friend Anna Watson. At school Flash gives Peter a hard time with his buddies Rand Robertson (son of the Bugle's Joe "Robbbie" Robertson) and Kenny "Kong" Harlan (from the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man), and the cheerleaders, Liz Allen, Glory Grant and Sally Avril (a little known character from the comics who becomes the hero Bluebird). Peter and Gwen's teacher is Aaron Warren (also known Miles Warren and as the Jackal in the comics).

During the course of this episode, Peter and Gwen get a job interning at the ESU Science Lab under the tutelage of Dr. Curt Conners (who will turn into the Lizard without a doubt) and his wife Martha. We also meet Eddie Brock (that's right! Venom!) who is Conners' assistant. Brock's design looks a lot like his comic book counterpart, but his character leans more toward his character in Ultimate Spider-Man.

Peter tries to get a job at the Bugle and there he meets J. Jonah Jameson who is shouting out names left and right! Joe "Robbie" Robertson, Ned Leeds (called Lee in this series), Betty Brant, and Fredrick Foswell. In the comics, Foswell starts out as a Bugle reporter but then becomes the leader of organized crime in New York City and the leader of the Enforcers, known as the Big Man.

And that brings me to the villains. The Big Man is a shadowy figure in this episode, but is it a coincidence that JJ shouts out the name Foswell? The villains in the Big Man's employ are Hammerhead and the Enforcers, Montana, Ox and Fancy Dan. But that's not all of the villains we see in this episode! At the very beginning Spider-Man captures Flint Marko (Sandman) and Alex O'Hirn (Rhino) who are depicted as ordinary thugs.

But wait! There's more! Norman Osborn is also in the show (of course) and working for him is Otto Octavius (voiced by Peter MacNicol). The main villain in the show is the Vulture (voiced by Freddy Krugger himself, Robert Englund) whose costume is taken after the Marvel Knights version of the character. Apparently, producer Greg Weisman said he wants to cut down on the number of green Spider-Man villains.

Two more names then I'll end this review. The two police officers are Jean DeWolff and Stan Carter, who becomes the Sin-Eater and eventually kills DeWolff. Wow! Everybody and their dog is in this episode! The writing was super smart and even though a ton happened, it didn't feel rushed or contrived. This is a great start to what will be a great series.

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


    Anonymous said...

    Very nice review... However the horror icon that Robert Englund plays is Freddy Krueger, not Jason.

    Just thought I'd say in case a bunch of angry Friday the 13th/Nightmare on Elm Street fans break down your door =P

    Anonymous said...

    they shouldve made the Green Goblin the first.