Supervillain Auction! It’s a buy-out of power over New York as Hammerhead, Roderick Kingsley, Silver Sable and Dr. Octopus all vie for the top bid with Spidey and the NYPD caught in the middle. Who will gain control?
Written By Nicole Dubuc
Directed By Kevin Alteri
Music by Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion
Animation By Dongwoo animation
THE PLOT: Donald Menken holds a criminal underground auction of a computer chip which somehow holds the key to the city. Roderick Kingsley, Sable Manfredi, Hammerhead and Otto Octavious all are the major players in the bidding, while unbeknownst to them all Frederick Foswell is bugging them for information to relay back to the police and the Bugle.
LONG STORY SHORT: Kingsley wins the bid, but it gets to the point where Hammerhead and Sable(now calling herself Silver Sable) pretty much war over the chip with the Rhino seeking to destroy it for Doc Ock. In the end it is destroyed, but eventually revealed to have been a fake and the real one lies in Norman Osborn’s possession.
MY THOUGHTS: I wasn’t really feeling this episode. It’s not so much that it immediately follows what is currently my favorite episode of the series (so far), but that when you get right down to it the classic “Gangwar” story isn’t automatically very interesting, or to me it isn’t. That’s not to say I went in with a bad attitude, or that I’ve never liked any gangwar stories told in Spider-Man mythology because it is a fairly reccuring storyline. It was mainly due to the McGuffin
that was the computer chip being chased after. It went from Hammerhead’s possession to Silver Sable’s to Spidey’s and back and forth over and over again. It really didn’t make for an incredibly interesting viewing experience. And because that was really the bulk of the episode, I found my attention beginning to wane.
I think that mainly is due to the use of a McGuffin in the first place. If it were a nuclear bomb or something, then that immediately changes the nature of the story entirely. But A) we didn’t really know exactly how the chip worked. B)It was introduced in this episode and bid for which throws the audience in a state of in medias res. C) It was cool that Norman had possession of it at the very end, but does that really matter? It made him richer, so what? He’s already a millionaire. While the episode wasn’t focused solely on the chip, its what the characters were whining about and if it isn’t exactly clear why it’s so great or if its worth isn’t felt, than the use of the McGuffin is essentially a non-entity. I just didn’t care for it.
Moreover to the cast of characters, this episode highlights on recurring and one newly introduced: Hammerhead and Silver Sable. And they both spend their screentime in the episode fussing and whining. I liked that we finally got the see Hammerhead mix it up and go toe-to-toe with Spider-Man. His tough talk was wearing pretty thin because he never backed it up. But his banter with Sable was very tiresome. We got some character background in that he used to work for Silvermane and went with Sable, then got dumped after Silvermaine fired him, but that never felt like it was important to the story. Okay, this is nitpicking but if they can waste time reminiscing then it shows how little of importance what they are fighting about truly is. We could’ve gotten those lines of backstory at the auction. It seemed to take up space during the huge fight. Specifically with Silver Sable, I found her to be completely annoying. For one thing it should be said that this is another character changed from the original comics to where she’s now Silver Manfredi’s child. At first that annoyed me, but then I figured that this is still the beginning of Spider-Man’s career. There’s plenty of room for characters to develop and change from who they are now. That’s probably why Hammerhead isn’t a crime boss himself. But that realization still didn’t help her dialogue. It seemed to consist of nothing but whining and “My father” this and that. I thought we got past this with Alicia Silvermane in the 90s cartoon fifteen years ago. I guess we haven’t. It was funny to start marking down after a while how many times she got slammed by the side of a car or knocked in the face. Not that I’m for violence against women or anything, but it did seem like it became a running joke after a while. I will also say that her character design was much more attractive than the Black Cat’s design, which may hint at the characters’ respective ages. Cat has bigger, wider eyes while Sable has smaller, more striking eyes. Maybe it’s just because she’s evil.
We also get Roderick Kingsley introduced here as a crime boss. Again, another change from the comics. He’s pretty much a non-entity in that he serves as nothing but a crime boss, but then again its probably just setting him up to be Hobgoblin down the line. Hopefully next season.
Unlike the villain’s part of the plot, I liked the rest of it fine enough. I like Peter going into the field with Foswell to catch a story. It was something promised back in the last season but seemed to have gone by the wayside. It was alos interesting to see more screentime with Foswell/Patch. That’s a character who is specifically from the Lee/Romita days and was a very vibrant supporting character until…well, read Essential Amazing Spider-Man vol.3 Let’s just say I hope his seen resentment towards Jameson that we see for a quick second goes somewhere.
Also on the plus side is the dosage of Liz that we get, which I’m always for. I liked that she was shown to be a really good girlfriend in her understanding of Pete being late for their date. It’s a switchup of the typical “Mean Girls” route that she could have taken given that she’s a cheerleader who’s in the in-crowd. It was also funny for Peter to reference Gwen despite the fact that this was the first episode in which Gwen didn’t make an appearance. She didn’t even show up in the opening credits! (*Edit: Okay, she was in class at the beginning, but she had no lines) But this leads to a problem I’ve had during the second season that’s been slowly growing since the start. I feel that we’ve been losing Peter Parker in the bulk of the episodes. That’s what the show needs to keep consistent. It was solid in the first season, but now that there are more characters established the show hasn’t kept up with Peter/Spider-man’s thoughts as much. This was made very apparent in the last episode where Peter HAD to have been the focal point of the episode, but wasn’t because of Flash Thompson’s shoehorned subplot. Even when the main plot is about a gangwar in which Peter knows less than the audience, I feel that the episode should still end with his thoughts about what’s going on in the background that he doesn’t know.
This is especially true to the now blatently obvious fact that George Stacy knows perfectly well who Spider-Man is. He dropped hints like breadcrumbs in this episode, and I feel Peter should be wondering, especially since this is still early in his career what Stacy does or doesn’t know. What if he told Gwen? Shouldn’t that register to Peter a little bit?
All and all this wasn’t a bad episode, but it didn’t really register as solid as others have in the past. The animation was very nice, and the fight scenes were engaging. But it was still par for the course for this series. Hopefully the Gangwar arc will improve upon this season.
*Best Line Contender- Spider-Man: “Hoho! I got the thing on the thing! Whaddu I win?”
Spider-Man: “I win me?! That makes no sense.”
all images taken from marvel.toonzone.net