Spectacular Spider-Man: the animated series #4-“Market Forces” Review

Shocker sees the lack of creativity that went into his costume as he realizes the ripped off web design

Shocker sees the lack of creativity that went into his costume as he realizes the ripped off web design

Gas Bills! Volleyball! Tomato Juice! This one’s got it all!

Written by Andrew Robinson
Directed by Fausett
Music by Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion
Animation By Dongwoo animation

THE PLOT: Its a day in the life of our petulant protagonist, Peter Parker. He’s finally making headway in working for the Daily Bugle selling pictures of himself as Spider-Man, and is even getting the courage to flirt with the naughty secretary Betty Brant. Its run-of-the-mill for Spider-Man as well, as he battles his favorite stooges Marko and O’Hirn, and faces a new villain in the Shocker. Could this day-in-the-life prove to be Spider-Man’s last?


LONG STORY SHORT: Peter beats the Shocker in their second fight, and realizes that he has to take time out of his capering to help Aunt May out with the bills. Meanwhile, with the Shocker beaten rather sorrily, Hammerhead offers a job to Norman Osborn to start backing up funds to create “super villains” for Spider-Man to fight, so that the Big Man of crime can continue his private operations.  


MY THOUGHTS: When I said above that this a was very “day-in-the-life” type of episode, I meant it. To me this is really the first episode that the majority of the focus was on Peter rather than the villains or his classmates since the pilot. I mean, Peter’s always been our main protagonist. But Interactions I felt was largely focused on Max Dillion, while Natural Selection was more focused on Curt Connors’ transformation. And rightly so. I’m not condeming either episodes for that. But here I felt that the point of the episode was to present a lot of set-up for future plot lines in a very “day-in-the-life” kind of way. And with Spider-Man, thats always worked. The original Lee/Ditko/Romita era-issues are more commonly remembered as being about Peter’s life both as Spider-Man and a student, and everything else is strictly background noise. The scenes that don’t involve Peter are only shown because obviously he will be involved with them later down the road. But they never felt like they were thrown in for the sake of being thrown in, like the last scene in Interactions kind of did. This was a very complete, very solid episode that while on its own didn’t feel to heavy, was just enough to leave me satisfied as a viewer. To paraphrase a certain Texan, it was like feeling satisfied after eating a sufficient meal. 

Flash looks deservedly embarassed after realizing he and Rand dressed for gym class in their football uniforms

Flash looks deservedly embarassed after realizing he and Rand dressed for gym class in their football uniforms




The most notable thing in this episode is the appearance of the Shocker. Not being inhabited by Herman Shultz, this incarnation is now Montana of the Enforcers fame. Again, background on the show can be heard in the podcast interviews that the show has done. I don’t really mind changing the identity of Shocker, but even though I heard Greg Weisman’s reasonings on not making him Herman I still question making him Montana. I mean…what’s so great about Montana? For some reason, he’s presented here as the leader of the Enforcers instead of Fancy Dan, and I just question why. Again, its not my show and I’m not really bothered by it. But Weisman did seem to really like the character of Montana despite the fact that the Enforcers are probably the least known group of Spider-Man villains next to the Hood’s Gang. Quoted as to saying there’s not much to the Herman Shultz character besides the suit, I propose that there’s not much to the Montana character besides the Cowboy rope and hat. To me, it feels as though the crew just switched the roles of the Shocker’s criminal identity for the sake of making it a more rounded universe. But as I said, its not my bag.

Last thing I want to bring up is something I’ve noticed in every episode since the pilot. In the pilot, Harry said Peter was the supposed “Star Photographer” of Midtown High. Yet he has continued to suck at taking pictures of himself as Spider-Man. Now granted, the Electro fight I’ll gice the benefit of the doubt since he was fighting and snapping shots at the same time. But I figured that if he were taking still shots he’d know more about the process that would lend to professionally paid money for professional shots.


Good young Osborn. Now..realease your anger. Let the hate flow through you...

Good young Osborn. Now..realease your anger. Let the hate flow through you…






After watching this episode though, I can start to defend this. Peter’s still in his quasi-cocky, super powered teenager mode. Him flirting with Betty and challenging Flash are straight from the early high school issues. So his confidence may be blinding whatever photo-taking skills he may have had in the previous year. So, problem possibly solved.

 Again, this was a solid episode that sets up a lot of Spider-Man mythos goodies that pay off later this season. What’s Mary Jane really like? How will Harry “cowboy up”? Will Betty go with Peter to the Fall formal? All good stuff thats handled professionally by the wonderful writers of this show. The animation was fine throughout, but not spectacular (dang). There was nothing wrong about it, but nothing I felt kicked like the last few episodes. Nothing to complain about though.

Very solid, day-in-the-life ep. And hopefully that’s the last time I’ll ever say that phrase again. 4/5 web heads.

Images taken from Toonzone.net

"Okay, stop reaching. I'll scratch it for ya."

“Okay, stop reaching. I’ll scratch it for ya.”

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