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Greg Bishansky writes...

"Catalysts" marks the first real appearance of my favorite Spider-Man villain, the Green Goblin. So, needless to say, I've been anticipating this one for a long time, and it did not disappoint.

I loved the Green Goblin. Cheeks' design looked great, like an updated version of Ditko's design that took out all the hokey aspects of it. I love the Goblin, but even I'll admit that Ditko's design was always very hokey looking. Steve Blum just nailed that voice. His cackle was as good as Mark Hamill's Joker cackle.

I think I'll take this moment to compliment the casting and voice direction on this series. Jamie Thomason is a genius. He, along with Andrea Romano, are the two best voice directors in the business. I'm loving what I've been hearing. Vanessa Marshall was terrific as Mary Jane. Very sexy voice. And I've been a fan of Steve Blum since I first saw "Cowboy Bebop" six years ago. As soon as I heard him on that show as Spike, I knew he was going to go places. Unfortunately, most of the time it seems he gets hired just to do the Spike voice, and it's a great voice, don't get me wrong, but it's nice to see what else he can do. The man has range. His Goblin was excellent, and blows every other Goblin voice actor out of the water. It's like the voice I always had in my head when reading the comics without ever quite knowing what that voice was. I felt the same way about Robert Englund's Vulture, come to think of it. Okay, tangent over.

This version of the Green Goblin seems to have just about everything that I love about the character going for him. Smart, cunning, insane, ambitious, and more than a match for the spectacular Spider-Man. This is the first villain (aside from Tombstone) that really, really, really felt like a real threat. Which is as it should be. The Green Goblin is an A-List villain. Him, Doc Ock, Kingpin, Venom and the original Hobgoblin have always been the elite of Spidey's rogues gallery. So, it is great to finally, after all these years, see him being done justice in one of the cartoon series. The 90s series didn't do him justice. Neither did the 80s series or "The Amazing Friends". The movie came very close but didn't quite nail it. But, between Blum's Green Goblin and Alan Rachins' Norman Osborn, I think we have a winner here.

Tombstone was great last episode and I am really enjoying him in this episode. I no longer lament the lack of the Kingpin. Tombstone is just fun. I love how cool he is under pressure, and how he's able to get Spider-Man to protect him like that. I also thought it was great how instead of fleeing, he stayed and helped Spider-Man look for the bomb.

But where would I be if I didn't discuss Mary Jane? I already said that Vanessa Marshall sounds great, and I love Cheeks' character design for her. I've called this the first time Mary Jane has appeared outside the comic book medium. The 90s series had a character named Mary Jane Watson, but that wasn't Mary Jane Watson. The movies turned MJ into Gwen-Lite. But here she was smart, witty, funny, and someone you'd want to hang out with. I also suspect that she already knows Peter is Spider-Man. Poor Gwen. Hell, poor Flash... he's going to have to dress up like a cheerleader.

And poor Harry. Glory used him to get back at Kenny. Now he's drinking "Gobulin Green #994" (Nice "Gargoyles in-joke there, Greg.) Also, nice red herring. But no, I don't think he's the Green Goblin, if that is what they're trying to make us think. For one, how would he know about Tombstone being the Big Man? For another, how would he know about the Tech-Flight glider? Besides, after Hammerhead tried to blackmail Norman in the last episode, taking out Tombstone would probably be at the top of Norman's to-do list. If anything, Harry taking the formula looks like a great way to tell the Harry drug addiction story. Cool. Also, Norman was more than conspicuous in his absence... except that he wasn't really absent.

How did that get past Standards and Practices??? Nice!

Looking forward to Dr. Octopus next week. Come to think of it, I am beyond amused that Doc Ock makes his villainous debut in the eighth episode of the series.

Greg responds...

Just trying to push the envelope...

Response recorded on May 29, 2008