Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wondercon '08 - Spectacular Spider-Man

At the San Diego Comic con this past year I was glad to get a chance to attend the panel for the new Spectacular Spider-Man animated series. And now at this year's Wonder-con I have actually seen the first episode. As a refresher, this series is set some 4 months after Uncle Ben has died, Peter is still in high school, and this version of the story includes Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, Harry and Norman Osbourne. No one has died, there's on weird continuity to remember, just know that basically it's got everyone in it. Check out the trailer...

At the SDCC Q&A panel the series creators suggested that they were going to try to have every single character seen on screen be someone really referenced from the comics. But rather than be a strict tribute they were not going to stress about mixing things up a bit. And from this pilot I have to say both of those tenants hold true. The first story, Called "Survival of the Fittest", sees Peter / Spidey fighting The Enforcers, and a very revamped and updated The Vulture. voiced superbly by Robert Englund. I have to say right off I loved the fact that The Enforcers were in the episode. They have not been seen very often on film and are really cool characters. One notable character was surprisingly missing though, Mary Jane, but then intead Gwen Stacy was in the story throughout, playing the Chloe to Peter's Clark (if you get the Smallville reference). Its a thankless role though that I definitely wasn't expecting to see her in.

Aside from that interesting development though, my biggest shock as a fan of the comics came in the story and presentation of this first episode. I was just amazed by was the sheer volume of character seen. I finally got what they meant when they said everyone would be someone. In this episode alone, although not addressed specifically, we see as mostly background players Norman and Harry Obsourne (obviously Green Goblins 1 and 2), Flint Marko (Sandman), Dr Curt Conners (Lizard), Eddie Brock (Venom, and recast as Gwen's brother?!), Hammerhead, Kingpin, Flash Thompson, Liz Allen, Betty Brant, and even more I'm sure more I'm forgetting. I was surprised to be so entertained simply by the waiting for the 'who will pop up next' factor.

That all aside though taken as a story unto itself, this episode was pretty decent. I think the show may be written a bit younger than I was hoping for, aiming a bit more at the tween crowd than the teen one, but there was more than enough there to entertain the likes of me. I enjoyed most of the twists and turns in the episode and felt that the animation was very appropriate for the feel of the show. It's simple but good. Solid, but I doubt it will be executed on par with say the Legion of Superheroes cartoon. I liked it overall though, and definitely intend to watch it when it officially premieres on the Kids WB this March 8th, 2008.

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