Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to be giving you my review of the eighth episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man.
Okay so here we are at the eighth episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, nearly ten episodes in now and it is by this point in a lot of TV shows where one can determine whether a show is good or not. And holy man, after seeing the latest episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man I just have this to say… I seriously think there is no hope for this show. The latest episode entitled ‘Back in Black’ (like the AC/DC song and album but nowhere near as cool) has to be the worst episode so far and its mainly due to how disappointed I was with the way the narrative and the characters were used. The episode was completely lackluster and shows why The Spectacular Spider-Man show was far superior in every way.
Oh yeah, Venom’s back and looks much more in line with the comics, however he’s nowhere near as cool as he should be.
So the story in this episode is as follows:
“When the terrifying Venom returns, Spider-Man (who has come down with a cold at the time) tries to stop the villain and save Harry Osborn (who has become the host of Venom after trapping its fragment). Spider-Man must decide if he can trust his new teammates with the shocking truth about Venom before asking for their help.”
So yeah following the events of the fourth episode Venom returns, though his initial return is very different; he appears on the scene as the black-suited Spider-Man (like Symbiote Spidey from the comics). And yeah goes around saving the day in a very heroic way while showing off at the same time. Naturally suspicious that Venom’s back Peter goes off on his own to discover the truth of the situation, while that’s happening New York seems to have fallen in love with the new Spider-Man and forgot all about the original one. At one point while in school, Harry goes to talk to Peter privately and he seems in a super happy mood (I wonder why? *sarcasm*), it is at this point that we learn that Harry is indeed the new black-suited Spider-Man (wow, who didn’t see that coming? *sarcasm*). Harry seems to have found a way to control it through a switch on his watch, but naturally Peter tries to warn him off it saying that it’s dangerous, but Harry doesn’t take his advice and gets a bit aggressive as he leaves. It is at that point when Peter knows something’s wrong. Eventually Harry become corrupt with power and Venom eventually takes over and starts attacking the innocent, so then it’s up to Peter to fight Venom and save Harry.
Okay let me just get this out of the way, I didn’t like the story in this episode at all. I wasn’t overly keen on the way Venom was introduced into this show, it just seemed to early and there wasn’t much justification for his existence other than the fact that he’s a major Spidey villain and the fact that he’d look cool. But in this episode they went with that silly possible storyline at the end of episode four; the fact that Harry could become the new Venom. I didn’t like that idea and when I saw a new Spider-Man running around it only took me a few seconds to guess who the person was behind the mask. I really didn’t like how they introduced the black-suited Spider-Man, that is one of the most iconic and coolest traits for Spidey and for it to be on anyone other than Peter Parker, that doesn’t sit well with me. Then we find the black-suit transform back into a more familiar face, Venom who is as big and nasty-looking as he should be (though a little too chunky in some cases). Also I can’t belief how single-minded the people in this show are, they all seem to think immediately that the black suit Spidey is a completely different one from the original, not one person questions the possibly that black suit Spidey and regular Spidey might actually be the same. I mean sure they aren’t in this case, but still, logic people! And another thing, how does everybody automatically convert to being black suit Spidey fans, besides the fact that it’s a new look there’s no justification for it, it’s just absurd how the thinking patterns of these people work in my opinion.
This story overall just felt bland, uninteresting and unappealing. This show has so much potential, yet it chooses to waste it on lackluster storylines with bad dialogue, actions with no proper consequences and child-like humour which is not funny nor is remotely good. And speaking of jokes, I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it again… THE HUMOUR IN THIS SHOW SUCKS BIG TIME! I really can’t believe how unfunny as Spider-Man show can be, but the writers of this cartoon clearly show it can be possible, and it’s all down to Spider-Man himself. Everything that Peter/Spidey says is pure foolishness, it’s not witty, it’s not well-timed, it’s just poor, it’s pre-school humour. Now I know there are some people over ten years old that enjoy this kind of humour, but for Spidey fans we know that the writing in this show could be so much better.
Peter/Spidey with a cold in an episode. Not a good idea, never again!
When it comes to the characters, oh good gravy they break my heart. Peter/Spidey as always virtually useless. He makes stupid jokes, never really has a smart moment (unlike his comic book origins suggest) and he seems so dumb. In this episode he has a cold and it makes him even more annoying than usual and there’s this reoccurring joke where people keep telling Spidey to ‘Vampire sneeze’ and there’s all these other cold-related jokes too, it gets really old really fast! There’s one point where he runs out of web while pursuing Venom I think and just flutters around as he plummets to the ground. Now a normal Spider-Man would have packed extra web cartridges (it’s been done in every animated show), but oh no, not in the Ultimate Spider-Man, this Spidey is just content is being as useless as possible. There’s also one point where Peter imagines what would happen if he revealed his secret identity and the short comedic scenes that followed made me cringe. Then there’s Harry Osborn, I’m glad he’s been given a more substantial part in the show, but there is barely any of Harry’s classic mannerisms that make him such an interesting character. He just seems like he wants to be the best at everything and it doesn’t come across in a good way in this show, he just seemed to annoy me a lot. White Tiger, Nova, Iron Fist and Power Man take a backseat in this episode and I can say about that is, yay! Epic win” 😀 Everybody else in the episode are just there, Norman Osborn is still a man of power who neglects his son and constantly wants a new version of Venom developed. While Doc Ock still just sits in front of his computer screens monitoring and experimenting. You know, the same old stuff. Though I don’t like how Doc Ock is still just a lackey hiding in the dark basement working under Norman Osborn, he’s meant to be a super villain and yet he seems like nothing more than a sneaky lab assistant, just plain old boring.
As usual the real standout point of the show is the animation. As usual the art is good and the animation is as fluid as ever. As Venom#s second appearance in this show, I thought this version of him was more in line with the comics and the stuff seen in Spider-Man: The Animated Seriesand The Spectacular Spider-Man, though he was a fair bit bulky and reminded me more of the Mac Gargan versin of Venom in terms of size. The final fight between Spidey and Venom was good, there was dynamic stuff done here, but the fight was nowhere near as creative or exciting as The Spectacular Spider-Man.
In conclusion this episode was pretty poor and it is making question why I am still watching this show. I’ve given it eight chances already and all I’ve got is okay to sub par episodes that taint the Spider-Man name. Now it may seem like all I’ve done is rant in this review and to some degree yes I have and it is for good reason. I have seen Spider-Man at his best and comes in the shape of both Spider-Man: The Animated Series and The Spectacular Spider-Man, both shows are creative, impressive and area MILES better than this show will ever be. I remember when people used to hate on The Spectacular Spider-Man for its approch to the Spider-Man mythos and yet it the source material justice when compared to Ultimate Spider-Man. So you may ask if I hate this show so much, then why am I still watching it? Well its simply because it’s Spider-Man and because part of me hopes that this show will eventually get it’s act together and actually become something worthy of watching. But for now it looks like the Ultimate Spider-Man should just be shut down. Spider-Man and his fans deserve better.