Hey true believers… hehe sorry had to get that out of my system. From the original release of 1964 Marvel Comics created Spider-man via Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. In 1967 an animation of same titled character was created and while the artwork was a bit hammy as was some of the storylines it was true to the hero. From the 1970’s to the 1990’s each incarnation took its own spin on the wall crawler but missed the mark by several inches until 2008’s creation that blew away even the most doubting of fan boys and girls. So grab your tights and spare web cartridges and brush up on your banter. This is The Spectacular Spider-man Season 1.
In tradition with the standings of most of the varied releases this version is no different in giving Spidey’s younger years thus we are off to Midtown High where Peter Parker is all of 16 years of age fending off crooks and baddies with puns and punches. The animation hails from Adelaide Productions. The team responsible for (Jackie Chan Adventures, Roughnecks: The Starship Trooper Chronicles and Men in Black: The Series) and Culver Entertainment for distribution. A great take on an old thang. The stories have consequences, real character development and an expanding storyline. Villains of yesteryear galore and Spidey is on his own fighting nutballs in costumes, bullies at school and J. Jonah Jameson for libel on his every other movement. It feels real nice to be wanted huh?
The crux of this version in my belief is the voice cast that was assembled. Peter Parker/Spider-man (Josh Keaton of Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions, Marvel Super Hero Squad, Transformers Prime and Green Lantern: The Animated Series), Gwen Stacey (Lacey Chabert of Party of Five, Mean Girls, Transformers: Rescue Bots and Young Justice) Captain Stacey and the Rhino (Clancy Brown of The Highlander, Starship Troopers, The Shawshank Redemption) and Harry Osborn (James Arnold Taylor of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Valkyria Chronicles II, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) to name a few but be honest you want to know about villains and man o man have we got villains. Dipping into Spider-man’s substantial rogues’ gallery we have a bouquet of voices to match their cartoon likeness.
The Vulture: the high flying vengeful scientist Spidey encounters voiced by none other than Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Mangler, Hatchet, Justice League) Hammerhead: low ranking lieutenant to an unannounced villain in the shadows. With a steel (or sometimes adamantium) plate in his head and a rough right cross voiced by veteran voice actor John DiMaggio (Bender of Futurama, The Problem Solverz and Batman: The Brave and the Bold) as well as The Sandman: a being turned into living sand that can mold his body into any shape he desires.
Again as previously mentioned the lingo and dialogue has been updated to suit the younger viewers but does not detract that this metamorphosis of Spider-man can and will mostly be viewed by mature fans of many ages. Those of us that grew up with the comics will most likely agree that this version of Spider-man was well drawn, well written and properly executed the fullest of its capabilities. Alas this series was only made for two seasons and had not been picked back up. What does that mean in the long run of things? Well maybe a revamp of it is on its way but most likely with the Ultimate Spider-Man creation that it will be shelved leaving potential story lines unfinished. Who knows what future holds for this web-head franchise. I, for one will enjoy these episodes with my nephews.