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Canus Shamus writes...

It's great watching how the episodes in "Spider-Man" build off one another and create one coherent storyline. I especially liked Peter's line in the Sinister Six ep about Lizard and Goblin being absent, as it lets us know that what we've seen so far has been the complete story; and I was positively geeking out when I heard the voice of "Gargoyles" alum Ed Asner as Uncle Ben. I can hardly wait for the Venom-based season finale. Now, a moment of your time for a few questions:

1. You said in an earlier post that the reason Kingpin wasn't used as the Big Man was because you "didn't have the rights to the character." What?! Marvel owns both characters, how could you not have the rights? (Don't get me wrong: I've always hated the Kingpin character, and I think Tombstone is a much better choice. I'm just curious about what prompted the change.)

2. As Electro left the asylum, he referred to his therapist as 'Dr. Kafka'. Now, even though I've been a Spider-Fan my whole life, I came to the comics themselves relatively late. As a result, I remember that Venom's therapist/love-interest from the 90s series was also Dr. Kafka, but I've never seen her show up in the comics. So: comic book reference that I missed, or sly nod to one of Spidey's earlier incarnations?

Thanks again for your time and for the great show!

Greg responds...

1. Each of Marvel's "Intellectual Properties" has a list of characters that "belong" to that property. Sony (and I work for Sony, not Marvel) has the rights to the Spider-Man property, but not the Daredevil property. Kingpin is part of the Daredevil license.

2. She's from the comics originally.

Response recorded on July 21, 2008

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Greg Bishansky writes...

Intervention
Okay, first off, if Pete is going to get that ruthless under the influence of the symbiote, I'm glad they built up to it slowly and subtly. Far better than the 90s series, which turned him into a monster within a single day, and the less said about symbiote Peter's depiction in "Spider-Man 3" the better. I especially like how my expectations were completely played. I expected Peter to punch out Flash, to do something nasty to Sally. To beat the snot out of Tombstone. But, nope, the people he's cruel to are his friends. Speaking of Tombstone, I am looking forward to the consequences of Spidey's deal with him. Spidey realizing he's saying "we" instead of "I" was well done, and it's nice to see the now, iconic cathedral scene. Hmm, Saint Damien's Cathedral, Greg? ;)

Flash Thompson was the voice of reason. Wow. I really liked that, it makes Flash a strong character and not just a stereotypical jock/bully. He dislikes Peter because he thinks Peter is an elitist jerk. Under the symbiote's influence, Peter proved him right. Now,

Flashback time. Okay, I'm sure some people won't like it, but I'm enjoying the black and white. But the most pleasant surprise is Ed Asner as Uncle Ben. That's perfect casting, and I'm glad that was kept under wraps. Really enjoyed it. This was also a great way to present the origin, a nice combination of the original comic book origin, and the movie's origin.

Uncle Ben as Peter's conscience, and the symbiote as the devil on his shoulder. I like it. Lots of flashbacks, almost like a clip show, and yet it wasn't. I know some people aren't into that sort of thing, but I loved this episode. It wasn't just an origin, it was a character study. A very solid character study.

Fanboy moment, I loved the homage to the cover of "Amazing Spider-Man #100"

Finally, Eddie Brock becomes Venom. Allow me, if you will, my own tangent here. I never liked Venom and mostly because of Eddie Brock. This is a character who has never been done well in any prior incarnation, even the original comic books. He was poorly conceived, poorly written, poorly characterized... and became a super star character. He's the Michael Bay of comic book villains. After he first appeared, everyone it seems, tried to create over the top muscle bound villains with no depth who could kick the hero's asses worse than any of their pre-established nemesis. For Batman it was Bane; for Superman it was Doomsday... when those stories would better be told with pre-established villains like the Joker, Ra's al Ghul, Lex Luthor or Darkseid. I could go further, but there are entire essays on this. Personally, I think Venom is the poster child for everything that was wrong with comic books in the 90s, from the lack of creativity to the internal politics.

Now, all that being said, I liked this. It was definitely the best origin for Venom I have ever seen, and while that may not be saying much, I really did enjoy it. The symbiote itself was very well depicted. While I had misgivings about Eddie's behavior last week, he made a lot more sense today. He lost his job, his education, his future. Not to say he's absolved of responsibility. If he didn't let his hatred for Peter get in the way, he could have made the best of it, found another job and really worked for it. There are people out there who scrub toilets to pay for their educations. But then, when everything seemed okay, and the symbiote wasn't dead, Eddie released it and bonded with it. So, in the end, Eddie really screwed himself over. But it was done well, certainly better than the Sin Eater retcon in the original comic books. I have never been a fan of Venom, but I have accepted a while back that he's here to stay. The Green Goblin; Dr. Octopus and Venom... the unholy trinity.

Brilliant script, Greg. Brilliant episode. I am looking forward to next week's. Make me a fan of Venom.

Greg responds...

Glad you liked it!

Response recorded on July 21, 2008

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avalon1178 writes...

Greg Weisman you are a GENIUS!!!! The Intervention episode, the one where SpiderMan had a flashback moment while he was under the influence of the alien is probably the best rendition of this storyline I have ever seen!!!! Great work! The storyline, animation....all I can say is superb! That episode is not going away from my DVR list that's for sure!

Greg responds...

Wow, thanks!

Response recorded on July 21, 2008

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Aldrius writes...

Review of Spectacular Spider-man Episode 12 :"Intervention"

I loved this episode. Hated Eddie. Loved this episode. And what made me love this episode instead of just liking it? Ed Asner, Jim Cummings, and Robert Constanza. Three of my favourite voice talents of all time. Even if Jim just had a bit part.

I love the fact that Spidey took up Tombstone's offer. It took the influence of an evil black suit, but he still went through with it, and I'm eagerly awaiting the consequences. I love the fact that Eddie so obviously went to see Aunt May in the hospital JUST to piss Peter off, rather than out of any genuine care for Aunt May. I loved Mary Jane in this episode, despite not being a big fan of Mary Jane in general, she's assertive, she's the queen bee of sorts. Same goes for Gwen, the two characters are really coming into their own rather than just being the 'girlfriend' and the 'wet blanket who worries a lot'.

I loved Flash in this episode, he's certainly come a long way from the stereotypical jock he was in episode 1. He's actually *gasp* put some thought into why he harasses Peter. It's not JUST because he's 'smart' or a 'nerd' or because he doesn't value the same things but because he thinks he's got a weak character. Maybe Flash believes in Nietzsche's teaching of 'whatever doesn't kill him makes him stronger'? And if Sally feels sorry for you, you know you've got problems.

Again, loved Ed Asner, loved Costanza and Cummings. Loved the whole flashback really, blatant ripping off of the movie aside. The symbiote seems to be a villain in itself here.

Nothing much more to say, but the flashback of Spider-man saving all those people was really touching. Such a simple thing, pointing out how many times Peter's pulled someone out of the fire, was really effective, and showing all the people in Peter's life that he's touched and enjoyed the company of. (Of course, Black Cat and Norman aren't quite the buddies he thinks they are, but everyone knows that.) And it really shows how strong Peter's supporting cast is. (Even shows him saving Eddie)

Which brings me to my points on Eddie. He's being a numbskull. I can't get behind his motivation to want to destroy Spider-man and Peter at all. Now obviously he's allowed to be a jerk, he's a character, but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy or understand it. If he took 3 seconds to THINK instead of feel, then he'd realize that all of his reasons for hating Peter are completely ridiculous. Now HE'S the one who's stolen the symbiote. Now he's costing himself his OWN job.

To interject something for a second, I love Mrs. Connors in this show too. That's just dawning on me. She's the businessmind behind the scientific brilliance. She owes Peter nothing, she owes Gwen nothing (speaking of which, is Gwen still working there? I guess not.), she owes Eddie nothing, she's just their employer.

Spider-man's saved Eddie and others a bunch of times (of course the symbiote didn't show him that), and because he destroyed an obviously dangerous symbiote, Eddie hates him for it. Of course, it's kinda Spider-man's fault for not EXPLAINING why he was going to ruin Eddie's chances at an education and a job (did he even LOOK for another job, though?) But still, none of the flashbacks of Peter being a 'bad guy' did it for me either. Oh well, everything else was fantastic, so I can hardly fault it for that, despite being a critical moment.

There's still time for all of this to make sense to me, though. Maybe Eddie will have an epiphany in the next episode and actually come to his senses. I'll just have to wait and see.

Greg responds...

I'm not sure I like the "ripping off" characterization. We have legitimate access to all this Spidey material. I'm no more "ripping off" the movie than I am "Amazing Fantasy #15" though I unashamedly borrowed quite a bit from both.

Gwen does still work at the lab.

Response recorded on July 18, 2008

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Donald writes...

can you give me the lyrics to the new spiderman cartoon? i was skeptical if i was gonna like it but i love the theme song, it's perfect!!

Greg responds...

I don't seem to have a lyric sheet. Sorry.

Response recorded on July 18, 2008

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Antiyonder writes...

My third review round:

Episode 7- Catalysts
- Everyone's reaction to Peter's date, priceless. Especially since we get a mention of his bet with Flash.
- Though I feel bad for Gwen, good to see that she got a smile after seeing MJ with Flash in Peter's absence.
- Like everyone else, I'm certainly not a fan of Sally.
- Leaving Mary Jane to help Tombstone. I'd say this is my favorite example of The Parker Luck. Good thing that MJ takes Peter's departure well, and that he gets the last dance.
- Too bad that Harry was dumped, but at least Flash and the gang got a bit of karma. Don't dump the guy with the limo indeed.

Episode 8- Reaction
- I'm always a sucker for romantic moments, and that scene with Spidey saving the guy and gal satisfied that feeling.
- Given that the early comics are the basis for the series, I wasn't really surprised that Pete and MJ weren't in a serious relationship. Though a good number of viewers thought otherwise. Makes sense considering that we all relate to Spidey in our own way.
- Though Ock's personality change did seem fast, it still feels natural.
- Was waiting for Liz to warm up to Peter since her expression around the end of episode 2. Their date didn't disappoint.
- Can't really see the Goblin being anyone else, especially with Norman's smirk at the end.

Episode 9- The Uncertainty Principle
- I thought that the 90s Series did well in humanizing Jameson, but this as well as episode 7 and 11 do a better job. Plus, it helps to have a definitive reason for him to be labeling Spider-Man as a menace.
- I can't see how anyone believes Gwen to be a copy of Debra Whitman, considering that her stare can be intimidating to Peter.
- Peter's Halloween costume choice, gave me yet another Amazing Friends flashback.
- Favorite Line #1 (Liz): You can web me up anytime, Petey.
- Flash Thompson as a cheerleader. Much more frightening than any Halloween creature could ever be.
- Favorite Line #2 (Spider-Man): Trap. (Tombstone): Trap.
- So, Harry is the Goblin. Or is he?

Greg responds...

Glad you liked the stuff.

Response recorded on July 18, 2008

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Arthur Jr. writes...

Hey Greg, to follow up on someone's Montana/Shocker comment, Montana's real name is Jackson W. Brice. What is your reason for Montana becoming Shocker rather than using Herman Schultz.

Greg responds...

Asked and answered. Check the archives.

Response recorded on July 17, 2008

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Aldrius writes...

I was gonna post my ramble on the last three episodes of Spectacular Spider-man, but I get the feeling that the irreverent style in which I do them is mis-interpreted and not appreciated (not to sound like I'm 'bitching', mind you). So I might as well just write up ye olde fashioned review.

The Uncertainty Principle was a fantastic episode. Right from the opening scene with Green Goblin smashing into Hammerhead's car. I liked that completely incidental driver and her silenced gun. She was awesome. Which Spider-man character from the comics is she and (due to this being a non-wasteful Weissman series) when will be seeing more of her? Just kidding.

Though given the way the series is going, I wouldn't be surprised if the answer to both questions is 'yes'. But to move on, I really liked the dynamic between Tombstone and Spider-man in this episode. It's like Spider-man's got his own 6 foot tall walking slab of concrete of an amoral businessman for a side-kick. Tombstone has his own agenda, and Spider-man is part of that, but then Spider-man has his own agenda as well, and Tombstone can be part of that too, even though Spider-man is too naive to realize it. But maybe manipulating the Big Man's criminal empire is too much power and too much responsibility for the webhead.

But not too much for the goblin, of course. And what a goblin we have here. He didn't strike me as anything too special in Catalysts or Reaction (not to say he was bad). But here he was a beast. I loved the fight scenes in this episode, just to compliment you for one second, I think these are a vast improvement over any of the fight scenes in Gargoyles, and what little I've seen of Witch. There was some real energy to them, and the words meshed perfectly with the action.

Anyway, as I said, I loved the Goblin in this episode. He was both hilarious and dangerous, reminiscent of Batman: The Animated Series' Joker or Reboot's Hexadecimal. Even some very simple straightforward dialogue is brought to life by Steve Blum. (I love the part where he just expositioned who

And I of course, like everyone else, have my own theories and thoughts about the Green Goblin's identity. I think it's Norman who set Harry up to take the fall back at the mansion, but I would not be entirely surprised if it actually is Harry. Gotta keep an open mind when it comes to these things.

Then there was Persona. Another GREAT episode. If the Goblin is my favourite villain (regardless of who's behind the mask), then Black Cat is my favourite 'love interest' for Spider-man. I thought the actress did a fantastic job being sultry and dangerous. But still tough and resourceful.

I liked the Chameleon too, and the dynamic between the Black Cat and the Chameleon even though they don't have a single scene together. They're both 'using' spider-man to get what they want. Chameleon is using his identity as a cover and for some reason he's trying to incriminate him. I'm not going to pretend I understood why they were smearing Spider-man's reputation. I guess maybe, like the big man, he wanted him distracted while he pulled off his master crimes.

The quinten beck and the other guy cameos were fun too, and fitted well with the Chameleon's 'stage-esque' personality. It's all just smoke and mirrors, and the old school use of that was really fun.

I'm not a big fan of the movie-type black suit. I think the older one is a lot sleeker and looks much better on spider-man, but I liked his design regardless. You can barely see the lines, and I didn't notice any change, but apparently there was some in the latest episode.

Which brings me to just that. Group Therapy. This one was like two episode in one for me. One I loved, and one I almost couldn't stand. I loved the dynamic of the sinister six. They all had their goals, and they were all clear. But Doctor Octapus (who I found rather unmotivated in his original episode) made for a commanding and powerful presence to unite them against the spider-man. Though I'm still not sure I know WHY he's after spider-man. Though I do think the dynamic of the man who desperately wants to be noticed and lavished with attention (octapus) vs. the man who just wanted to disappear (octavius)is very clear, and maybe he just snapped. Still a great character and I love Peter McNichol.

Having said that, all the other villains' motivations were very clear. Shocker feels a sense of responsibility to the Big Man, and wants to deal wih Spider-man for him, electro wants to be normal, and sees Doctor Octapus as a way to do that, plus he just doesn't like Spider-man. Rhino is an animal, and he wants revenge, wants to prove how tough he is. Sandman just wants money, doesn't really care about Spider-man. And Vulture wants to go after Osbourn. Like Octapus, he kinda just wants to be noticed and recognized I think.

Actually, in that regard Octapus and Vulture are very similar. They care a great deal about etiquette, about manners and recognition. They're like two scientists who wanted to get the noble peace prize (and deserved it) but were denied it.

Also want to comment on how fun it was seeing all six villains get equal screentime. The villains you chose allowed for a lot of 'doubling up' (with the shocker and electro both blasting Spider-man at the same time, stuff like that) and I'm glad Octapus got the final confrontation with him, being the lead bad guy and all that.

There were two lines I found rather strange in this episode. One was 'Lizard and Goblin have knick's tickets'. Considering the Lizard was his ex-boss (maybe Peter does capatalize off of the Conners' pain with jokes!), and the Goblin was his crazy best friend, that seemed in rather poor taste, but it was still funny so that made up for it for me anyway.

The other was 'peter is twice the man you are' by Mary Jane. If she knows he is spider-man then this line is perfectly understandable but as it stands it strikes me as a rather odd comment for a sixteen year old girl to make when she barely knows Eddie (not that he wasn't being a complete creep, but I'll get to that in a second) and she's gone on one date with Peter and run into him a couple of times afterwards, at least it seems that way to me. It works in regard to the story, but it seems weird for it to be coming from Mary Jane to me.

Whereas Mary Jane almost seemed to be a bit too insightful and too wise, Eddie just seemed to be a judgmental fool to me in this episode. Jumping to every conclusion without even letting Peter speak up for himself or explain himself. It's true to life, but for the narrative it struck me as rather sudden, and it was almost as if he went from 50 to 100 on the jerkometer in a single episode. While I feel that there could have been a 75.

At least that's how it seemed to me at first, but I've watched it a second time and it actually occurs to me that he wasn't really doing anything other than being a HORRIBLE conversationalist and a crazy driver. And if it wasn't for that 'funny little plane accident' comment complete with the 'I'm a psycho' look, I wouldn't say he was that out of line. I think it's more that comment earlier about making 'Peter suffer too' that made me think that he was going to kill Mary Jane or something. But in hindsight, looking at that scene again, he was just a frustrated guy trying to make what he saw as the cause of his frustration a little jealous who might have taken it a little too far in the moment.

In hindsight, I didn't dislike the Mary Jane and Brock scene as much as I did initially, but it was still probably the weakest subplot of the 10 episodes we have had thus far.

All in all, these are probably my three favourite episodes of the lot so far, barring Eddie in 10, but we're obviously getting some episodes on that over the next two weeks, so maybe it'll be put into perspective for me.

Greg responds...

I can't take much credit for the fight scenes: that credit should go to Vic Cook, episode director Dave Bullock and their storyboard artists... and of course the animators. (Plus our composers, who plus everything.)

Response recorded on July 17, 2008

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Algernon writes...

While I'm at it, more Spectacular Spider-Man.

S
P
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I
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GROUP THERAPY

Another great episode, admittedly I was slightly worried that the story would be a bit crammed with both the Sinister Six and the alien costume story, but once again this you guys manage to make the most out of your allotted twenty minutes.

The six themselves were played fantastically. This episode does a good job of show casing what a villainous mastermind Doc Ock truly is. It's interesting how he's apparently taken Electro under his wing. I especially liked his warped sense of chivalry regarding May and Anna. Ock may be a homicidal maniac but he is also a gentleman.

Speaking of may, I really liked that she stood up to the Six for Spidey. The whole "that awful Spider-Man" routine in the comics always made her really unlikable to me. I do hope that they don't overdo May's ill health, it's okay here but in the comics it's devolved into a borderline running gag.

I really liked how you've been developing the symbiote, very creepy and very subtle. I especially liked the way Symbiote Spidey literally beat the Six in his sleep.

The only thing that did bug me was Eddies sudden turn from a seemingly okay guy whose understandably pissed at Peter to creepy psycho. I understand how losing you clan or crippling your brother might drive you round the bend. But Eddie thinking Pete is a jerk doesn't seem quite eternal vengeance worthy to me. Still I'll reserve judgment till the current arc is over.

In short: 95% greatness and 5% "meh", still great stuff. The promo for the next episode looks creepy as hell.

TTFN

Greg responds...

Obviously, the M.J./Eddie scene didn't work for a lot of people, but I can't help feeling they were bringing something to it -- knowing where Eddie's likely to wind up -- that made it into something it wasn't. I mean "eternal vengeance"? Where did that idea come from? It's not in the episode. Eddie states his desire to TAKE something from Pete. So he goes out on a DATE with the girl he thinks Pete is dating. Yes, he drives maniacally and screws up the date by being way too intense, but he doesn't go psycho. Not by any definition of psycho that I know. He's just a reckless jerk.

Still, in the end, if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work for you. Can't bat 1.000.

Response recorded on July 17, 2008

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Greg Bishansky writes...

Group Therapy
In our latest misadventure, the Sinister Six comes to town.

First off, this was almost a Where's Waldo of previous characters. Let's see, who's in this episode?

Dr. Octopus; Vulture; Electro; Montana/Shock; Sandman; and Rhino. Our Sinister Six. But Hammerhead; Fancy Dan; and Ox also make appearances. I think Quentin Beck and Phineas Mason were also seen in Rikers Island.

Really, Green Goblin; Lizard; and Chameleon were the only ones missing. Goblin and Lizard apparently had Knicks tickets; I'm guessing Chameleon is a hockey fan, and hoping Black Cat is into jello wrestling ;)

Okay, first off, I loved the prison scenes. Especially Rhino and Sandman's cells. How does Rhino go to the bathroom? Kudos for the Dr. Ashley Kafka cameo. I enjoyed Electro and was glad to see he was the catalyst of their escape. I didn't expect Ox and Fancy Dan to join in the escape, but nice to see they're off with Hammerhead and I'm sure we'll see them again doing the Big Man's bidding...

... While I'm on the subject. One of the many things that annoyed me about the 90s series was that the Sinister Six.... er, "Insidious" Six (apparently, Sinister was a no no word for Fox Kids) were nothing more than Kingpin's glorified goon squad, with Doc Ock as the leading lackey. For a moment, I was afraid we'd see the same here, with Tombstone in the Kingpin's role. But, I'm glad that's not the case. While they may have coordinated, the Sinister Six is Doc Ock's show.

And what a show it was. Ock was cold, ruthless, sadistic and had all the best lines. Yup, that's the Doc Ock I know and love. I loved the dinner scene, hell, if I were locked up for a while, first thing I'd want is a four star meal at the best Italian restaurant in town. "Gentlemen, and Rhino," I loved that line.

The fight scenes were brutal. The first one, where Spidey got his ass kicked, and the second one where the Six got torn apart. Ock was just vicious, what with all the talk about impaling (heh, only character I foresee getting impaled wasn't in this episode) and peeling the symbiote off.

Finally, I'm glad the symbiote didn't make Peter over the top ruthless and vicious like the third movie and the 90s series did. While, I'm no fan of the story, I still liked the nod to the symbiote taking Peter out for a joyride.

The only thing about this episode I did not like was the Eddie Brock and Mary Jane scene. Okay, his first scene with Peter was fine. I can believe the guy drives like a maniac... he's crazy enough to tackle the Lizard. But, I just can't see the guy we have previously seen doing that to Mary Jane. I can't. Personally, I think this is an intrinsic problem with the character of Eddie that goes back all the way to his comic book debut. There is no logic at all to what he becomes. I hope I am proven wrong, and so far this show has done nothing but hit everything right as far as I'm concerned. But this here, by itself, just fell flat to me. Aw well.

Good show.

Greg responds...

What exactly did Eddie DO to Mary Jane?

He drove fast and somewhat reckless, which is how HE drives. (Any guy who jumps Electro AND the Lizard, probably is a bit of a risk-taker.) She didn't like it, asked him to stop, and he stopped.

Is he intense? Sure. Did he let his anger at Pete get in the way of his revenge on Pete, i.e. dating the girl he thinks Pete is dating? Yep.

But he didn't DO anything to her. I'm not sure I understand what seems so out of character for the guy.

Response recorded on July 16, 2008


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