Saturday, June 14, 2008

Spidey vs. Venom

This is it. The final episode of season one of The Spectacular Spider-Man. In "Nature vs. Nurture" Spider-Man goes up against Venom, former longtime friend Eddie Brock. Brock is powered by the very symbiote that Peter rejected because it was feeding off his negative emotions. With Brock's unfathomable levels of hate and his unstable personality, one doesn't have to be a genius to know what the suit will do to him.

Our episode opened up with an excellent bank heist foiled by our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. If you saw the teaser trailer for Spectacular Spider-Man that was aired nearly a year before the series began, this scene will look very familiar as it is almost an exact replica. The added scene of Spidey saving a helicopter with his webbing was well done.

Since Spidey no longer has the symbiote, he turns down Tombstone's offer, which leaves the position open. Guess who takes it? Tombstone's test of loyalty is for Venom to kill Spider-Man, a test Venom gladly accepts.The Spidey/Venom fights were some of the most brutal I've seen all season. Spidey took more punishment than he dished out. Eddie showed that he was no longer the person Peter once knew, he decided to take out his vengeance on Peter's friends and family as well as his alter ego. He tried to get to aunt May but when that wasn't successful, Venom told Spidey he'd go for the one he knows he "loves the most." Spidey thought he meant Mary Jane, but he was actually talking about Gwen. During the Thanks Giving day parade, Venom kidnapped her and dangled her on one of the floats. Spidey was able to save her with the help of his friends from school.

Now first of all, I'd like to point out that since the alien was still alive, Brock had a chance to get his job back, but when he opened the door and let the symbiote get on him in "Intervention," he threw it all away for revenge. He really did screw himself. We learned that Eddie may have harbored a deep seated hate for Peter ever since they lost their parents. Brock says that Peter has his aunt May and uncle Ben but he had no one. He was always alone. As much as Eddie was a big brother to Peter, he was probably carrying that envy for Peter for years. Just something I found very interesting and worth noting.

In nod to the comics, Spidey beat Venom by drawing the symbiote away from Brock by offering to take it back. Its no secret that the suit has always wanted to get back with Spider-Man. He was the alien's first host after all. With the suit off Brock, Peter buried it in wet cement. Don't worry, the cast and crew of Spectacular Spider-Man have already given us the word that Venom will be back for season two. If Spidey beat this hulking power house once, I'm sure he can do it again.

I'm an action lover but I also love the more calm moments in this series and the ones here did not disappoint. Peter thanked Flash for giving him a reality check from the previous episode and Flash was cool about it so long as Peter didn't mention it to anyone, cuing Peter's growing circle of friends. Gwen, MJ, Liz, Kenny, Glory, Rand and even Sally, the whole gang wanted to know how Peter and his aunt were doing. Peter apologizes for blowing them off and his friends don't make a thing of it. This leads to Gwen and Liz practically fighting for Peter's attention/affections, grabbing his hands and giving each other back and forth glares. I thought this was one of the funniest scene sin the whole episode along with Peter messing up Thanks Giving dinner. Really, you'd think Gwen and Liz wanted to jump in a boxing ring and kick the crap out of each other for rights to date Peter. Wonderful stuff.

Oh and did anyone catch Peter mentioning "Romitas," no doubt a nod to John Romita Sr. (and maybe even John Romita Jr.) Spider-Man artist? Very nice homage there.

When all was said and done, Peter sat down for a nice dinner with his aunt, Dr. Bromwell, Detective Stacy and Gwen. It was a nice scene and one well deserved for the day Peter had.

Another thing I dug was Peter wondering if he should give up being Spider-Man. The gene cleanser he took from the Connors lab in episode three is something he nearly forgot about. Near the end of the episode, he poured it down the drain and accepted that Spider-Man is a part of who Peter is. Looks like he's finally accepted his destiny. At least for now (we all know how many times he quit in the comics).

Remember when MJ told Gwen to step up her game concerning her feelings for Peter. Well she seemed to be doing just that this episode, what with her vying for Peter's attention with Liz early on. As she was leaving Peter's house, she paused. I was cheering her on aloud, saying "Kiss him!" She turned around, placed her hands on Peter and planted one right on the lips. I let out a "Yeah!" because even though I knew it was coming, it was nice to finally see it happen. This may have surprised Peter more than anything that happened to him this whole season. Gwen looked a little embarrassed after the kiss, but I don't think Peter minded one bit. His response after standing there flustered? "Whoa." I can't wait to see where Peter and Gwen go in season two, one of the things that will make the wait downright unbearable.

I have to admit that this isn't my favorite episode, but its still a nice finale to an incredible first season. There were a lot of great moments here and did I mention how much I loved Gwen finally locking lips with Peter? What can I say, I'm a romance freak.

No word on what network will pick up season two but since the first season was a ratings hit, I'm positive someone will pick it up. Whoever passes on it would have to be a complete idiot. In a time where the flagship comic (Amazing Spider-Man) is in the craper, Spectacular Spider-Man was an excellent addition for Spider fans to get a web-head fix. To the voice cast, writers, story directors and everyone else working on this show, congratulations for constructing one of the finest cartoons on this or any other planet. I'll be watching the reruns and I'll see you all again for season two.


spideyfan said...

My favorite episode of the season (if not of the entire show) is episode 12. Whats your favorite?

Reggie White Jr. said...

My fav ep may very well be ep 9, The Uncertainty Principle. Then again, it could be ep 6, The Invisible Hand. Of course ep 12 was also superb. Basically, it really is hard for me to choose a favorite because many are so good.

Tommy said...

Yeah, it's very hard to pick. I may lean towards the episode with the Sinister Six though.

I was wondering if that vial was going to be used later on and we'd have the 6-armed Spider-Man appear.

I'm figuring Venom's next appearance may have him utilizing the camouflage abilities of the symbiote, unless they want to save that development for an even later season.

Thank God we didn't have Pete and Brock in their undies like in Amazing Spidey #317 when he beckoned the symbiote to him and it was unable to leave Brock due to their bonding (although later stories have separated the 2 several times without Brock dying).

That panel of Pete in the red underwear he wore for Mary Jane from an older issue, coupled with him saying, "Take me! I'm yours!", is something I want to forget, but can't. XD

Reggie White Jr. said...

You know I've never read ASM #317 but that "Take me, I'm yours" line makes me cringe.