The Spectacular Spider-Man: the animated series #7: “Catalysts” Review


catalysts

Which one of these three men is Spider-Man’s archnemesis? Answer revealed on the following page…

THE PLOT: When we last left Spider-Man he was accosted by a foxy red-head girl next door named MJ Watson, and she accompanied him to Midtown’s Fall Formal. Meanwhile across town, the Green Goblin debuts and wrecks havoc at a party held by L. Thompson Lincoln a.k.a. Tombstone. With hostages on the line, will Pete ditch his hot date in time to save the day?

LONG STORY SHORT: Peter ditches MJ and saves the day as Spider-man by ridding the ballroom of a pumpkin bomb left by the Goblin which would have decimated the entire building. Best friends think alike, as Harry also ditches his newfound clique in order to calm his nerves with some experimental formula labled “Globulin Green”. What is the dark secret he could be hiding?

The eyes! The blank colored EYES!

MY THOUGHTS: Continuing the trend from the last episode not only in timeframe but in quality, this episode was really, really good as well. It introduced the Goblin in serious style, and while it didn’t up the status quo like last episode, it did give us a very interesting mystery as to who the Green Goblin could be? I recall very clearly everyone saying that Harry was a red-haired herring the moment we saw him down the vial of Goblin formula, but it does tie into the lack of self-esteem the character has had in the comics, as well as his trademark addictive personality. If you notice, the whole time up to where he first brought out the vial, he’s on edge. He’s continuously bouncing around like he can’t stop, and the second Peter and MJ come in and inadvertantly steal his thunder, the guy can’t stand it. I love that. I absolutely love the subtle hints to everyone’s personality in the show. Remember, its not who you are underneath but what you do that defines you….sorry, that was shameless.

Reminds me of a Fresh prince episode

Reminds me of a Fresh prince episode

Speaking of character traits, Eddie just glared and glared at Peter whenever Gwen felt pitiful. Call me crazy but I think Eddie might possibly, sorta, maybe have a weird thing for Gwen. Its hinted that they’ve known each other for a long time, but he does jump at the chance to be her date for the Fall Formal. Its just, I feel that if he were more concerned on how Peter was acting, he’d go right up and ask why he was at the dance with Mary Jane. Remember, he talked to Peter after the Lizard incident over the phone. He’s not iggin’ the guy entirely. This also comes back later down the season, so I’ll leave it alone for now. One last thing about character body language is I liked how amiable Flash was during this episode. He’s never really the teasing Flash too much, he automatically owns up to the bet like a man. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the reason he bullies Peter is that he wants him to stick up for himself, right? It makes sense that he’s not furious when he sees MJ. I mean he also wants a piece of MJ himself, but not once is he mad that Peter got a hot date. We know Flash is a good guy deep down, but if he really was jealous of Peter, he’d be more confrontational like Sally was. She was jealous that MJ looked better than she did, I imagine (I’m not a woman, I’m guessing with my male guessing instincts). Liz was also jealous, but thats because she’s mildly attracted to Peter herself. We’ve seen this in previous episodes. The way Flash wasn’t antagonistic at all made me really like the character, and I’m glad that everyone’s being written so complexly in this show. These are just high school kids, but they’re treated believably. That always makes stories more enjoyable.

 

 

Nothing says intimidating like a purple costume, a manpurse and eyeliner!

Nothing says intimidating like a purple costume, a manpurse and eyeliner!

Getting to the Green Goblin, I think this is the closest villain the show has nailed in terms of ripped from the comics. He’s absolutely spot on the entire episode as he always smiles his quirky smile, he jokes just as much as Spider-Man, his speech sounds almost Shakespearian, and his sense of humor is always very dark and macabre. I also like the design, which harkens back to one of my favorite stories in the “Death in the Family” story in Peter Parker: Spider-Man vol. 2 by Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos. Its not as..dated as the original design, and yet it still gets the idea across. Really, solid job all around with the Goblin. Praise must also to Steve Blum for his terrific voice acting. As a Cowboy Bebop fan, I’m happy that I couldn’t hear Spike Speigel in any of the Goblin’s lines. Thats the work of a true actor.

This chaarcter shows up later in the series. Can you guess who it is?

This character shows up later in the series. Can you guess who it is?

Another interesting thing I found in this episode is that while Tombstone’s very much a big bad, he may not as out and out evil as he is in the comics. Now I don’t mean him helping Spider-Man to look for the pumpkin bomb in the ballroom near the end. If you go back and watch when he first appears at the party, he says that the party is a fundraiser for the “Lincoln’s Children’s Center”. Now that could easily be a front for some drug smuggling operation or whatever, but given how Tombstone grew up as a kid, its not entirely impossible for him to try and better the lives of children who may have had similar backgrounds as he did when he was they’re age. I really think that that could be the case, and if it was intentional by the writers then bravo. Another complex character trait in what could easily be a two-dimenional character.

This is starting to run long, so I’ll finish up by saying there’s one annoying flaw that’s unfortunately in the episode.

Guess this makes her the Spider-QUEEN! Ah ha ha ha!......Okay, I'll stop.

Before the last commercial break, Peter runs out of web fluid in mid air. When we get back to the show, he re-ups his web-shooter’s cartridge on his left wrist. And for a while, he does only web swing with his left hand. But then we see him web swing with both web shooters working. We see it at least twice. Then when he’s on the construction site, he re-fills his right web shooter. Gah…what really sucks about that is that the animation in this show was great through and through. My favorite part was when Goblin blasted Spidey out the window, he web snags the building, swings in motion and somersaults while crashing through abother window. That was great. But someone really should have caught the web shooter thing there. Whatever, its not THAT big a plot hole.

Barring that animation flub,this really was another terrific episode and I love it just as much as the last one. I don’t care about the web shooter thing, let’s give this a

5/5 web heads

*Best Line Contender-TIE!

Spider-Man: “We talking Manhattan, or all five? Nah. Sorry, I make it a rule not to partner with anyone green.”

Mary Jane: “It’s Randy, right?

Randy: “Very.”

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