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Greg Bishansky writes...

Ugh... sorry to post two in a row, really sorry. But I posted my review of "Identity Crisis" before "Growing Pains" by accident.


"Growing Pains"
Another Sunday, another episode of "The Spectacular Spider-Man" come and gone. And, as far as episodes go, I almost wish there was a bad one so I could stop heaping praise on this show, it gets a tad predictable. But, a great show is a great show, and I'm glad we have one. Good stuff

Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive.

Okay, the quote may not be Shakespeare as all the auditions were, but I think that sums up this episode quite well. Our tangled web is being weaved by Venom. He is deceiving the city into believing Spider-Man has become a criminal.

I've spoken my thoughts and opinions on Venom in previous reviews, but I have to say that I like this Venom. I like this Venom a lot, and I hate that I do. But, really, this is what he should be. He is the evil Spider-Man. None of this misunderstood, lethal protector of the innocent garbage. This Venom is completely obsessed with Peter Parker and doesn't care who he hurts to get to him. Which is really what he was in his first two appearances, before Marvel decided they had a cash cow and turned him into something else entirely.

Now, the main plot of this issue is loosely based on Amazing Spider-Man #42 where John Jameson was infected by alien spores and gained power, and at his father, J. Jonah Jameson's insistence, he attempted to hunt down Spider-Man. That very same issue also marked Peter Parker meeting Mary Jane Watson for the first time, complete with the popular phrase "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot." But, obviously we already did that in the first season.

I enjoyed the treatment of John Jameson here. I think a lot of people thought the creators of this show would jump right into Man-Wolf with him, but nope, they chose to adapt a fun, if somewhat forgotten story from Lee's run. But, considering how this episode ends, with John at Ravencroft lusting for more power, I can foresee a Man-Wolf down the road.

This episode also marked J. Jonah Jameson's return this season. Yes, we got a brief glimpse of him in "Destructive Testing" but it was a brief glimpse and with no lines. Here, well, Darran Norris is still in top form. I love his take on this character, and I just love how Jameson is written. What I enjoy the most about this Jameson is how his hatred of Spider-Man has slowly built up. First, Spidey was just some mook in a costume who sold papers. Second, Spidey participated in trashing the offices of the Daily Bugle... okay, that was Rhino's fault, but still. Then Spidey, without meaning to, upstaged John Jameson's heroic landing of a doomed space shuttle. Now... as far as Jameson is concerned, Spidey is responsible for John being a mental case. Well played, Weisman.

The whole cast auditioning for St. John Devereaux's play was enough to tickle the Shakespeare geek in me. And looking at the cast list at the end, the play is "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Let's see who I can make out... some of the name's are obscured by Devereaux's arm.

Puck..... Harry Osborn
Titania.. Sha Shan Nguyen
Oberon... Kenny Kong
Cobweb... Glory Grant
Hermia... Mary (I assume Jane Watson).
and all the way at the bottom... O'Reilly (I assume Seymore) and below him... Greg Weisman. LOL, I love these little Easter Eggs.

The ending of the episode, well, I love a good cliffhanger, and you can't get a bigger one than Venom bursting into the offices of the Daily Bugle and announcing that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. What, I have to wait a week? Aw well.

Another spectacular one.


Greg responds...


For the record, it wasn't my idea to put my name on the cast list. (Though, of course, I approved it.)

Response recorded on April 21, 2009