Spectacular Spider-Man: the animated series #2-“Interactions” Review

Spidey gets the shock of his life when an electrifying new villain comes in to zap away the web head’s lightning quick career!

U c wat I did thar?

THE PLOT: While working for Curt Connors late one night at the ESU Science Lab, a young electrician named Max gets horrifically electrocuted and doused with chemicals, which forever alter his bio-electric physiology. Naturally this ruins his day, so he goes on a rampage across town. Meanwhile, Peter has been assigned to tutor the foxy Liz Allen in chemistry. Everything comes to a head in a final showdown that occurs back at ESU.


LONG STORY SHORT: Spidey defeats Max by dunking him into the university’s swimming pool and shorting him out. Liz seems to turn around to Peter, but still manages to stick him up in front of her clique. Curt and Martha Connors vow to never stop trying to further their research, and the episode ends on a slightly haunting note.

Oh, and its raining now?!! Thats just friggin’ GREAT!!!”

MY THOUGHTS: I’ve seen this episode at least three times before, and I can’t say if I remember it being as intense as I thought it was while watching again to prepare for this review. Unlike the last episode, which needed to devote time to introduce about 100 characters on screen in order to make sense of the season, this episode really nails it by focusing on Max Dillion’s AGONIZING torment after he gets his powers. I never noticed before now how absolutley tortured this guy is shown to be, and it really is portrayed very well. The thing about this show is that every character acts human. They really do, that seriously is something that still tends to be rare in television today, cartoon or otherwise. How does the show portray these characters as human? Let me count the ways.

-We have Peter, our hero Spider-Man. After immediately finding out what happened to Max and feeling bad for battling him, he offers his tutorial hand to Liz one last time so he can make a positive difference. As Spider-Man, he upfront offers his help and apologizes to Max despite the fact that Max tried to kill him. Again, short sighted. But believable.

-We have Liz, the less shrill of the two main cheerleaders in the show. She’s no fool and sees that Peter’s not just a goofy science nerd. He stands up for his self respect, and her surpise is a mix of guilt at ignoring him, and a small bit of excitement upon seeing him man-up and leave when she treats him like crud.

 She claims she’s texting, but I know a Nintendo DS when I see one

-We have Max, whom if you’ll notice I have not yet referred to as Electro. This guy really shines as a three dimensional character, and nothing at all like his comic book counterpart. You can tell from the very beginning of his first line; you can see it. His line about him doing all the electric work shows how he feels about Connors. His line to Dr. Bromwell about “it was never my choice!” shows that he feels totally screwed with his situation. He screams at Eddie to not make light of his truly horrible accident. (Seriously, he got jacked up. Did you see how long his body was flailing around while he was being eletrocuted?) This man just wants to be alone with himself. He feels as though no one truly knows how he feels, what he’s going through or whats the best thing for him. Half the time people act patronizing to him, and it all is accentuated when he tries to sip his cup of coffee. He feels as though the world doesn’t want him, and you can see it in his eyes. You can also hear it through Crispin Freeman’s really spectacular (pun slightly intended) performance. He sounds so entirely frustrated, and when he says that he hasn’t even begun to get angry, you buy it. This guy’ll fry you, because you’re an idiot and he has the power to burn you to a crisp.

 Honestly, this was my favorite moment in the episode

However, Max isn’t the most interesting character in this episode. That title belongs to Curt Connors, and how eerily disinterested he is throughout this whole thing is the point of interest to me. I don’t mean when Max was practically getting killed on-screen or the next scene in the hospital. But when he’s at the lab and he’s working, he’s not there. This is something I failed to mention in the last review, but he’s introduced to us by injecting his shoulder with lizard DNA. Creepy but cool. In this one though, its almost villainous how absent minded he came off. And this isn’t something that easy to catch, I caught it the last time I watched it. Look at the scene where Liz surprises Peter at ESU. When Peter apologizes to Connors, Connors acts as though he’s thinking “Sweet, A distraction! Time for more fun drugs…” I really found it entertaining how subtle it was, but if you catch what I’m saying, it very much rounds him out as a character just like the others. We all know what he’s gonna do A) because I’d say 98% of us have read the comics and B) we find out in the next episode. But the subtle body language and facial expressions, combined with the hurried tone in his voice makes us believe that this guy’s mind is totally all about turning into a giant lizard, d’ah I mean, fixing his arm.

Honestly, I have nothing bad to say about this episode. I have a possible sub-plot hole, but that really will come up more in the next episode or so. The action was great, the voice acting was PHENOMENAL, and the story was awesome. The animation was solid, and this is just the second episode. Two questions I do have though. The first one relates to electric based characters. The idea of hitting them with bodies of water always seemed as a bad idea because I figured their powers would be too much out of their control and it’ll kill them. I guess thats not the case, but didn’t Connors say dunking him in water wouldn’t work on curing him? I don’t fully understand, but its my fault so I won’t count off for it. Second, what the Lizard serum supposed to be supercharged when it was eletrocuted? I just now noticed that it was shocked by Max.

 I doubt seriously that this look means anything in the long run

Anyway, I always have liked this one but now after REALLY watching it I can’t help but like it a whole lot more than I initially did. The characterization of both Dillion and Connors really sell the immediate drama to me, and I always liked the dynamic between Peter and Liz. Liz is a nice character in this show, and I enjoy seeing her. Peter was once again the Peter Parker that I love rooting for. With all that said, I have to give this one 5/5 web heads…

*Best Quote Contender: “Oh well. The secret identity thing was fun while it lasted..”

Images taken from Toonzone.net