Friday, January 30, 2009

Weekend Round-Up



Here is a list of new superhero cartoons debuting this weekend:

Friday, January 30, 2009
Cartoon Network, 8:00pm
Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Journey to the Center of the Bat!


This week Batman's life hangs in the balance when he is poisoned by Chemo, who is under the control of the evil Brain. The Atom races to the rescue with Aquaman by shrinking down and entering Batman's bloodstream. While Aquaman and the Atom battle the infection deep inside Batman's body, Batman struggles to end Chemo's rampage and defeat the Brain! This week's teaser features Elongated Man and Plastic Man teaming up to derail a bank heist and capture the criminal Baby Face.

Saturday, January 31, 2009
YTV (Canada), 11:30am
Wolverine and the X-Men - Badlands


In the future, Professor Xavier and his new X-Men fight the Sentinels and come across Polaris, who lives alone and traumatized. Charles learns that Genosha was destroyed and Polaris was the only survivor.

Please note:
  • There will not be a new episode of Spectacular Spider-Man on Teletoon on Sunday due to a Wolverine and the X-Men marathon. The show will return next week.
  • There is a rumour going around that new episodes of Spectacular Spider-Man will be airing on NickToons UK on Saturday and Sunday. I can't seem to find a listing for the show on their website, so if you have any information on this please let me know!
  • Thursday, January 29, 2009

    Doomed




    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 2
    Season Episode Number: 2
    Production Number: 104
    Airdate: September 9, 2006

    Writer: Rob Loos & George Taweel
    Director: Franck Michel

    Voices: Hiro Kanagawa (Mr. Fantastic), Lara Gilchrist (Invisible Woman), Brian Dobson (The Thing), Christopher Jacot (Human Torch), Paul Dobson (Dr. Doom), Sam Vincent (H.E.R.B.I.E.), Laura Drummond (Courtney Bonner-Davis).

    Plot: Dr. Doom creates a device that allows him to switch bodies with Mr. Fantastic. With his new body, Doom plans on destroying the Fantastic Four!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Doomed serves as the series introduction to the Fantastic Four's greatest foe, which is odd because we don't really get to see Doom as Doom since he borrows Reed's body for most of the episode.

    If you look at the production numbers, this was the fourth episode produced and another episode, Doomsday, is actually the first episode produced as well as the first episode with Dr. Doom.

    Choosing this episode as the second episode to air wouldn't be my choice. We only just met Reed in the previous episode and are only meeting Doom for the first time. We don't know enough about their personalities to know that they are acting differently when they switch bodies. Instead, we have to rely on the testimony of Sue, Ben and Johnny, which is no fun for the viewer. Luckily, us comic book geeks already know Reed and Doom inside out.

    Doomed is loosely based on Fantastic Four #10, however in that issue, Doom's plan is to switch bodies with Reed so that he could get close enough to use his shrinking ray to shrink the Fantastic Four out of existence.

    Since I'm a fan of the Fantastic Four, I know that Doom has a big ego. So when he reveals that he is going to blow up Reed and several city blocks, it seems out of character for him because Reed won't be around after the explosion for Doom to gloat at. Hopefully, Doom will be more like Doom in future episodes.

    The animation for this series is by Moonscoop who is probably best known for their work on Code Lyoko. Following the pseudo-anime style of the show, and probably to cut back on costs, there is very limited animation in this show. It is not the slick fluid animation that we have been spoiled with on shows like Justice League and X-Men: Evolution.

    While the drawings are nice and shiny, most shots only contain lip movements or some sort of cycle. Other movements are slight and a lot of the action takes place off camera. There are a lot of pans to indicate movement or to make up for the lack of movement.

    While this could be considered cheap, Moonscoop uses it to their advantage and it turns out to be very tasteful. But where this is a problem is in the action and battle scenes when we need to see more movement from the characters. Pans are never an excuse for showing a body flying across the room!

    DVD Releases:
  • Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes - The Complete First Season
  • Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes - Volume One

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Trial By Fire




    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 1
    Season Episode Number: 1
    Production Number: 103
    Airdate: September 2, 2006

    Writer: Bob Forward
    Director: Franck Michel

    Voices: Hiro Kanagawa (Mr. Fantastic), Lara Gilchrist (Invisible Woman), Brian Dobson (The Thing), Christopher Jacot (Human Torch), Michael Dobson (Ronan the Accuser), John Novak (Supreme Intelligence).

    Plot: Johnny Storm is put on trial by Ronan the Accuser, a judge from an alien race who believes Johnny is a threat to their whole species.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Does anyone remember how awful the Fantastic Four series from the 90s was? I sure do. But it's been over a decade since then, enough time for people to get involved in a new series staring the Fantastic Four with an open mind.

    Hot on the heals of the Fantastic Four feature film, Marvel and Moonscoop produced this series with the intention of being true to the comics books in terms of character and story, yet radically different in the way of design and style.

    And different this is! Drawing heavily from the Eastern influence of Japanese anime, World's Greatest Heroes is awash with vibrant colours, bold designs and detailed background, coupled with some CG that keeps it simple enough that it blends with the 2D quite well.

    While the costumes, Johnny's hair, and Ben's spray paint may take some getting used to, the style of the show dares to be different and will definitely leave its mark in the annals of superhero animation. There's much more to say, about the animation for instance, but I'll save those comments for the second episode review.

    This episode very loosely follows Fantastic Four #65 from 1967, the first appearance of Ronan the Accuser. I guess that it is fitting that this is also his first animated appearance. However, instead of the whole team being on trial, only Johnny is, leaving the rest to defend him.

    While the pacing of the episode is a bit fast for my taste, it does serve as a good introduction of the team, its members, and how they function as a family and as teammates. Trial By Fire was the third episode produced, but for some reason, Cartoon Network decided to air it first rather than the episode that was meant to serve as the pilot.

    This series is off to a good start and is the best looking FF series yet. I especially like the foreshadowing of the Kree's relationship with the Skrulls. A glimpse of what is to come!

    DVD Releases:
  • Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes - The Complete First Season
  • Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes - Volume Two

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Reinforcement




    Season: 2
    Episode Number: 16
    Season Episode Number: 3
    Production Number: 203
    Airdate: January 25, 2009

    Writer: Andrew Robinson
    Director: Mike Goguen

    Voices: Josh Keaton (Spider-Man), Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy), Vanessa Marshall (Mary Jane Watson), Joshua LeBar (Flash Thompson), Alanna Ubach (Liz Allen), Cree Summer (Glory Grant), Andrew Kishino (Kenny 'King Kong' Harlan), Debora Strang (May Parker), Robert Englund (Vulture), Xander Berkeley (Mysterio), Crispin Freeman (Electro), Eric Vesbit (Kraven), Clancy Brown (Rhino, Captain George Stacy), John DiMaggio (Sandman), Peter MacNicol (Doctor Octopus, Master Planner), Elisa Gabrielli (Ashley Kafka), Steve Blum (Blackie Gaxton, Dilbert Trilby), James Arnold Taylor (Patch), Thom Adcox (Tinkerer).

    Plot: As Spider-Man closes in on the identity of the Master Planner, the Sinister Six are sprung from prison and are ready for round two with the Web-Slinger. But can Spider-Man defeat all six of these villains without the help of the black costume?

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): This episode was a big disappointment. I was so hopeful for another great battle between Spider-Man and the Sinister Six, but this fight just seemed unfocused and sloppy. What made the last battle so good is that all six of the villains were taking on Spidey at the same time and Doc Ock was there to guide everyone through it.

    This time, they decided to take on Spidey two at a time which is still more that Spider-Man can handle without the use of the symbiote, but the real tension wasn't there. It just wasn't exciting like Group Therapy was exciting.

    But that's not all that bothered me with this episode, the writing seemed to be different. It seemed more slapstick than usual and I found that distracting.

    Even more distracting were the off-model characters and bad animation! The animation in this show has been absolutely stunning, but this episode was full of poor drawings, and sloppy animation. The staging was suspect, there were some weird editing decisions, and the timing was so rushed. There was even a point when Spider-Man is fighting Electro when it seemed like I accidentally hit scan forward on my remote. Spider-Man has been animated very snappy before without it looking like he's the Flash.

    And I know that they needed to fill out the Sinister Six, but why do we have to see the return of Mysterio and Kraven so soon? They need some time to chill before making a comeback. That was what was so great about seeing the villains together in Group Therapy, we hadn't seen them for a while so it was really special to see them return. Seeing Mysterio and Kraven return wasn't special.

    I'm not sure that I'm a fan of Kraven not turning back into his human form, but that's a conversation for another time.

    This episode was a low point in the series (although I did like the Cletus Kasady cameo). It wasn't up to the same standard that we have come to expect from Spectacular Spider-Man. I really hope that things turn around in the next episode.

    DVD Releases:
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, Volume Five

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Wolverine = Gold for Nicktoons



    E! Online reports that 512,500 viewers tuned in to watch the hour-long Wolverine and the X-Men series premiere on Nicktoons on Friday night while another 2 million viewers watched the two-hour premiere on Nickelodeon on Sunday!

    ICV2.com and B&C reports that Wolverine received the highest ratings of an original series premiere ever among kids from 6-11 for the Nicktoons Network.

    The Nicktoons premiere did well with the 'tween market (ages 9-14). The first half-hour brought in an estimated 70,000, 60,000 of which were boys, while the second episode was watched by an estimated 134,000 tweens, with boys accounting for 89,000 of the total. The article goes into a few more details which I will let you read for yourself.

    I have to say that I am extremely happy to hear about these stats. I was afraid that the fact that the show aired in Canada, Latin America and the UK before the US, and the fact that Nicktoons is not a basic cable channel, would seriously hurt the ratings.

    But it looks like Wolverine is clawing his way to the top as usual, proving that quality programming and smart advertising wins every time! Wolverine and the X-Men has already aired 15 episodes up here where I am in Canada and it is a quality show. I hope that it gets renewed for a second and third season if they can keep up the quality.

    Evil Is as Evil Does




    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 1
    Season Episode Number: 1
    Production Number: Unknown
    Airdate: Unknown

    Writer: George Kashdan
    Director: Hal Sutherland

    Voices: Ted Knight (Narrator), Gerald Mohr (Green Lantern), Paul Frees (Kyro, Guardians, Evil Star).

    Plot: Evil Star has returned to Earth to take revenge on Green Lantern! After he defeats GL, his plan is to go after the Guardians of the Universe.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Evil Is as Evil Does is the first of three seven-minute episodes created by Filmation in 1967. The episodes were aired as part of the Aquaman episodes of the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure.

    This episode is the first animated appearance of Green Lantern and the world in which he lives. This series focuses on the 'new' Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, who had recently arrived on the scene eight years before the creation of the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure and was getting maximum exposure in the comics at the time this series was being produced.

    Fighting alongside GL is Kyro (also known as Kairo or Cairo) who serves as both comic relief as well as a teen sidekick which all superheroes seemed to have at the beginning of the Silver Age. Kyro was created specifically for this show. He is obviously not human but it is unclear where he comes from based on this episode. Veteran voice actor Paul Frees provides his voice.

    Many believe that Kyro was created to replace Tom "Pieface" Kalmaku, Hal Jordan's Eskimo sidekick from the comics due to the racial connotations of the nickname "Pieface".

    Majority of Filmation's stories revolve around either aliens invading Earth or robots trying to take over Earth. The plot in this episode deals with aliens, and in this case, an alien from the plant Auron, Evil Star!

    Evil Star is one of the few comic book villains to make it into the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure. He debuted in the pages of Green Lantern Volume 2 #37 in 1965 and was a hit character, which is why he appears in this show. As with many elements of this show, Evil Star is almost exactly like his comic book counterpart. His costume is the same, his attitude is the same and his powers are the same. Nowadays Evil Star spends his time lock up in intergalactic jail and only breaks out when DC needs to renew the rights to the character.

    In case you couldn't tell from this episode, Evil Star draws energy from the stars with a device he wears on his wrist called the Starband. With it he can use the star energy to prolong his lifespan and give him super strength and flight. He can also project light beams, much like Green Lantern can do with his power ring.

    Evil Is as Evil Does is quite a shallow episode with not much going for it in the way of plot or animation, but it is an important part of history as it is the first time GL, Oa, the Guardians, the Power Ring, the GL Oath (part of it anyway) appear in the world of animation.

    DVD Releases:
  • DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    More X-Men DVD News - This Time With More Wolverine



    Releasing a week earlier than Disney's two X-Men DVDs, Lionsgate will be collecting the first three episodes of the newly premiered Wolverine and the X-Men and a single disc package called Wolverine and the X-Men - Volume 1: Heroes Return Trilogy.

    This first volume, which is scheduled for April 21, will include the episodes Hindsight, Parts 1-3 and will be presented in widescreen. Special features include creator commentary, a 'making of' featurette, and some of the promo clips that have been released online over the past few months.

    The Hulk Rampages Through Retail Outlets Today!



    The wait is over! After months of hype, preview clips, interviews and hi-res pictures, the soon-to-be-classic Hulk Vs. hits retail outlets all over North America on DVD and Blu-ray today!

    In case you've been living under a rock, this DVD is the fifth feature film from Marvel Animation and Lions Gate Films and features the Hulk as he battles Wolverine and Thor in two separate, but equally epic, stories by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost.

    And don't forget that in the shadow of the Hulk is The All-New Super Friends Hour - Season One, Volume Two which is also being released today.

    This two-disc package features eight hour-long episodes and completes the 15 episode run of the All-New Super Friends Hour on DVD.

    Now please, excuse me, there are a lot of cartoons I need to watch.

    Hunting Grounds




    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 15
    Season Episode Number: 15
    Production Number: 115
    Airdate: January 24, 2009

    Writer: Max Botkin
    Director: Nick Filippi

    Voices: Steve Blum (Wolverine), Liam O'Brien (Nightcrawler), Kate Higgins (Scarlet Witch), Charlie Adler (Mojo), Grey DeLisle (Spiral), Tom Kane (Magneto), Liza del Mundo (Polaris), Susan Dalian (Storm), Yuri Lowenthal (Iceman), Kieren van den Blink (Rogue), Kari Wahlgren (Emma Frost).

    Plot: Nightcrawler and Scarlet Witch are kidnapped and forces to participate in a battle to the death in a televised reality show run by a mysterious creature named Mojo. Matters take a turn for the worse when their opponent is a mind-controlled Wolverine!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Nightcrawler has always been my favourite X-Man. Initially, as a kid, it may of had something to do with the fact that he and I share the same first name, but I soon realized that his mutant power is extraordinary, his skill as a swordsman and acrobat is excellent, his origin is tragic, and his moral code is upstanding.

    So it goes without saying that my favourite storyline in this series is the journey Nightcrawler has been making to find his place in the world that fears and hates mutants. We have known since the beginning that Nightcrawler would be one of the core X-Men in the series, he was in all the promo art and is featured in the theme song, but I never expected that it would be 15 episodes before we would see him reunited with his team.

    However, as far as the overall storyline is concerned, I was disappointed that this was the second episode since Battle Lines that didn't really move the plot forward. Sure, it was needed to bring Nightcrawler to the team, but after the declaration of war between humans and mutants a few episodes ago, I would have thought that we would see some action.

    My opinion on the rest of the episode isn't much better. Hunting Grounds is a good filler episode, but that is all it really is. Mojo is portrayed almost exactly like his comic book counterpart with nothing to make this version of him distinct or memorable. He didn't even have Longshot with him. The plot with Wolverine was a bit ridiculous and the 22 minutes was heavily padded with a lot of running to make up for the lack of content.

    What this episode did do is flesh out the character of Scarlet Witch. This is the first episode with Wanda in a lead role and already she has more character development than she did in the 90s Iron Man series and Avengers: United They Stand. Wanda is Magneto's obvious favourite between her and her brother, Quicksilver. But unlike Quicksilver, who is doing the wrong thing to garner his father's attention, Scarlet Witch knows what Magneto is doing is wrong but is loyal to him and his cause.

    The romantic tension between Wanda and Kurt is well played out in this episode and sets up future episodes when their connection will probably play a big role in the downfall of Magneto. It is good to see budding relationship forming between the two as this show has been a bit light on that side of human emotion.

    DVD Releases:
  • Wolverine and the X-Men, The Complete First Season (Canada Exclusive)
  • Wolverine and the X-Men: Fate of the Future

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Fall of the Blue Beetle!




    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 8
    Season Episode Number: 8
    Production Number: 108
    Airdate: January 23, 2009

    Writer: Jim Krieg
    Director: Brandon Vietti

    Voices: Diedrich Bader (Batman), Will Friedle (Blue Beetle), Wil Wheaton (Ted Kord, Jarvis Kord), Jason Marsden (Paco), Lex Lang (Dr. Polaris).

    Plot: The Blue Beetle goes on a quest to find out why he was chosen to be the new Blue Beetle. The quest leads him to Science Island and history of the previous Blue Beetle, Ted Kord.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Since Brave and the Bold focuses on the Silver Age of DC Comics, it was a surprise when we saw the third and most modern Blue Beetle, Jamie Reyes, as the guest star in the premiere episode. Wouldn't have Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle from 1966 to 2005, been a better choice?

    I believe that Jamie is the Blue Beetle in this series because they wanted to add a few more teen characters to what would otherwise be an entire adult cast of characters. Robin or Batgirl have always been a part of Batman on television because the studios believe that kids related better to a show when there are teen characters a part of the action.

    Aquaman has Aqualad, Super Friends has the Wonder Twins, X-Men has Jubilee and Shadowcat and Superman has Jimmy Olsen. Teen Titans, Batman Beyond, X-Men: Evolution, and Spectacular Spider-Man are all popular shows with a teen cast.

    Fall of the Blue Beetle uses Jamie Reyes as a way to give the fans what they wanted, an episode about Ted Kord voiced by Star Trek's Ensign Wesley Crusher, Wil Wheaton!

    The teaser, which ties directly into the episode, and a big flashback in the middle tell the story of Batman's relationship with Ted. They are good friends with similar morals, skills and gadgets. They relate to each other, similar to the Blue Beetle's relationship with Booster Gold in the comics. There is some hilarious dialogue coming from the two as they escape death-defying traps together. My favourite line from Batman:

    Uppercuts and bodyslams are no substitute for having the proper tools when it comes to crime fighting.

    The origin is pretty true to Ted's comic books roots back when Blue Beetle was published by Charlton Comics, not DC in 1966. The story of Ted's Uncle Jarvis trying to exploit the scarab's power so that he can create an army of robots to take over the world is just like it is in the comics, however the ending is different.

    In this episode, Ted sacrifices himself to stop his uncle from destroying the world. A heroic death for a character that never got the spotlight. This is a much better way to see the hero go than the unwhelming, non-heroic, cold death that Ted Kord was giving in the comics. Fans of the character may like this bit of rewritten history.

    Fall of the Blue Beetle has a fantastic story. it is an episode not to be missed. Plus, there is even a cameo by the Golden Age Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett!

    DVD Releases:
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Volume Two

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    Disney to Release X-Men DVDs!



    In a move that everyone was beginning to think was never, ever going to happen, Disney has just announced that they will be releasing two 2-Disc DVD sets of the 90s X-Men series on April 28, 2009!

    TV Shows on DVD brings us the report but the details are sparse. In fact, we really only have a release date, suggested retail price of $23.99, and some early cover art.



    For those of you who don't know, Disney holds the rights to all Marvel animation from before 2000. The rights were sold to them when Marvel was declaring bankruptcy in the late 90s. So far, the only thing Disney has released is Spider-Man - the '67 Collection and Fantastic Four - the '94 Collection and a bunch of single disc compilations, and that was years ago.

    Season sets of X-Men are something that fans have been asking for for years and now it looks like we might be on the right track. There is no word on the contents of the discs, but I'm hoping they are in production order and not theme based like their previous X-Men release, The Legend of Wolverine.

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    Weekend Round-Up



    This is it! Finally, after months of constantly hearing about the Canadian airing of Wolverine and the X-Men, the first family of mutants comes to the United States of America!

    Friday, January 23, 2009
    Nicktoons, 8:00pm
    Wolverine and the X-Men - Hindsight, Part One & Two


    Hindsight, Part One
    A year after a mysterious explosion destroyed the Xavier Institute and broke up the weary X-Men, an embittered Wolverine has lost himself on the open road, haunted by the unexplained fate of the missing Professor X and Jean Grey. But his efforts to keep a low profile end when he's brought back into the crosshairs of the Mutant Registration Division (MRD) after rescuing a family from a fiery train derailment. When the family shows kindness to Wolverine, however, they're arrested by the MRD, character with haboring a fugitive mutant. Galvanized into action, Wolverine enlists the help of Beast and together they infiltrate the enemy's lair, successfully liberating not only the innocent family, but a dozen captured mutants as well. But Wolverine knows these kinds of problems won't be going away, and so he's left with one option: bring back the X-Men.

    Hindsight, Part Two
    As the Brotherhood stokes the fires of mutant hysteria, Sen. Kelly tries to gather support for his Mutant Registration Act. Meanwhile, Wolverine is finding it difficult to get the X-Men back together. Most of the team is still unaccounted for, and those that Wolverine can find refuse to join the new team. The disillusioned Rogue has even taken up with the Brotherhood. But when the Brotherhood plans to go after Sen. Kelly at a press conference, the conflicted Rogue must decide where her loyalties really lie.

    This is the one-hour series premiere of the highly acclaimed series. Hindsight, Part Three.

    Friday, January 23, 2009
    Cartoon Network, 8:00pm
    Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Fall of the Blue Beetle!


    Blue Beetle traces his legacy back to the original Blue Beetle, to learn why the Scarab has chosen him to share in it's powers and become a super hero. The journey leads him to the dangerous Science Island where he battles legions of robots alongside Batman and learns the truth behind Ted Kord's disappearance.

    Special guest-star: Star Trek's Wil Wheaton voices the Silver Age Blue Beetle, Ted Kord!

    Saturday, January 24, 2009
    YTV, 11:30am
    Wolverine and the X-Men - Hunting Grounds


    Mojo takes Nightcrawler and the Scarlet Witch from Genosha to put them in a TV show, while also forcing Wolverine to attack them by controlling his mind.


    Sunday, January 25, 2009
    Teletoon, 10:30am
    Spectacular Spider-Man - Reinforcement


    As Christmas approaches, the Sinister Six reconstitutes with Sandman, Rhino, Vulture, Electro and new members Mysterio and Kraven. All they want for Christmas is Spider-Man – dead. Meanwhile, Peter Parker finds his wandering eye prevents him from being with Gwen Stacy. He'll have to learn to focus if he wants to get the girl, and if he wants to stay alive.

    Destructive Testing




    Season: 2
    Episode Number: 15
    Season Episode Number: 2
    Production Number: 202
    Airdate: January 18, 2009

    Writer: Matt Wayne
    Director: Kevin Altieri

    Voices: Josh Keaton (Spider-Man), Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy), Alanna Ubach (Liz Allan), Eric Vesbit (Kraven the Hunter), Angela Bryant (Calypso Ezili), Andrew Kishino (Kenny 'King Kong' Harlan), Phil LaMarr (Randy Robertson), Grey DeLisle (Sally Avril), Dee Bradley Baker (Curt Conners), Kath Soucie (Martha Conners), Brian George (Miles Warren),Peter MacNicol (Master Planner).

    Plot: Sergei Kravenoff comes to New York in serch of the ultimate prey: Spider-Man! But when Spider-Man proves to be too much for a normal human to handle, Kravenoff pays Professor Miles Warren to turn him into the ultimate hunter.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Kraven is an interesting character. Most of Spidey's villains go after him because it's personal. Either they blame Spider-Man for their condition or for foiling their master scheme or for something Spider-Man has done to them in the past.

    But Kraven has no beef with Spider-Man. He hunts him for sport. This puts an interested angle on their relationship because there is not personal struggle between the two. With Venom it's really tragic because Peter and Eddie were best friends. Same with the Green Goblin in this series. The Sinister Six all blame Spider-Man for ruining plans and locking them up in jail so they are out for revenge.

    For Kraven it starts out as game. He has no ties to Spider-Man, no reason to constantly pursue him, but what Kraven is actually battling is his ego. He will keep on going after Spider-Man at what ever cost because he is ashamed at himself for not being the best hunter. In the comics, when he actually succeeds at 'killing' Spider-Man, he commits suicide because his life no longer has purpose. That says it all right there.

    Originally in his comic roots, Kraven would drink a potion of strange jungle herbs which would enhance his strength, speed and senses. But in this Spectacular Spider-Man world of genetic mutations and experiments, Kraven decides to have himself genetically turned into an anthropomorphic animal. An interesting twist on the character, one that provides some of the best action we've seen in this series. Seriously, this show is action packed.

    Peter Parker's love life is the underlying sub-plot for the season and is pretty in your face in this episode. One of the main reasons I stopped watching Smallville was because there were too many love stories that never went anywhere. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good romance, but I hope this one doesn't drag out this entire season. And now they introduce Debora Whitman, another Parker girlfriend from the comics?! Are they planning on making this a four-way love triangle? And what about Mary Jane?! Too many girls!

    The Master Planner gets his second voice cameo in this episode. You can see that the voice credit goes to Peter MacNicol who also voices Doctor Octopus in this series. (Those of you who know your Spider-Man history should also know that Doctor Octopus IS the Master Planner!)

    DVD Releases:
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, Volume Five

  • Back to Episode Guide