Monday, June 16, 2008

The Mutant Agenda

Season: 2
Episode Number: 17
Season Episode Number: 4
Production Number: 204
Airdate: September 30, 1995

Writer: John Semper, J.M. DeMatteis, Michael Edens
Director: Bob Shellhorn

Voices: Christopher Daniel Barnes (Spider-Man), Cal Dodd (Wolverine), George Buza (Beast), Cedric Smith (Professor X), Alyson Court (Jubilee), Alison Sealy Smith (Storm), Norm Spencer (Cyclops), Catherine Disher (Jean Grey), Chris Potter (Gambit), Lenore Zann (Rogue), David Warner (Robert Landon), Mark Hamill (Hobgoblin), Roscoe Lee Browne (Kingpin), Maxwell Caulfield (Alistair Smythe), Laurie O’Brian (Genevieve).

Plot: Spider-Man seeks the help of the X-Men to cure him of his genetic mutation only to find out that they can’t. The Beast suggests that he try the Brand Corporation who have recently made breakthroughs while experimenting with genetic mutations.

The Beast is kidnapped by men with guns after talking with Spider-Man causing Wolverine to believe that Spider-Man is behind it, when in actuality it is the Brand Corporation who needs a live mutant in order to conduct their tests.

Robert Landon, the head of the Brand Corporation, who has been enlisted by the Kingpin to create an army of super-mutants, hires the Hobgoblin to help him double-cross the Kingpin. But when Landon tries to kill the Hobgoblin, Hobbie decides to take out Landon.

Luckily, Peter is attending the Landon seminar that Hobgoblin crashes and, as Spider-Man, he tries to stop him but is interrupted by Wolverine who is looking for his friend and thinks Spider-Man has some answers.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): The Mutant Agenda is a definite highlight of the series due the guest appearance of the cast of another ultra popular superhero television series. X-Men was at the height of its popularity at the time of this episode and the producers of Spider-Man decided that getting the X-Men voice cast to voice their characters for these episodes would drive the fans crazy. They were right! The producers flew the whole cast from Toronto (where X-Men is produced) to Los Angeles to record the voice tracks for this episode and the next.

However, the thing that is unfortunate about having nine guest stars is that not all of them will get equal screen time. Of course, Wolverine gets the spotlight, and the Beast is actually a big part of the plot, but the rest of the team get their one or two obligatory lines and are stuck on the sidelines the rest of the time.

The story in this episode is taken from a Spider-Man comic strip story by Stan Lee and and three issue mini-series called Spider-Man: The Mutant Agenda by Steven Grant and reworked to fit the show. This story is unique in that it is the first time that a comic strip story was directly continued in a comic book series.

The episode is a multi-layered story with is nice to see in this series. The writers did a good job of developing the many characters that are involved in the plot. In fact, the only character who is poorly written in this episode is Spider-Man who is too busy being angry at the world to actually contribute to the story in any important way.

Aside from the X-Men voice cast, there is another notable guest voice actor in this episode. David Warner joins Spider-Man regular Mark Hamill (Hobgoblin) as Robert Landon and will be in the series for the rest of this season. The pair both worked on Batman: the Animated Series as Rā's al Ghūl and the Joker respectively.

DVD Releases:
Spider-Man - The Mutant Agenda

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