Spectacular Spider-Man: the animated series #22-“Probable Cause” Review


probablecause These aren’t your daddy’s Enforcers.

Credits
Written By Kevin Hopps
Directed By Micheal Goguen
Music by Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion
Animation By Dongwoo animation

THE PLOT: Tombstone’s back on the scene, and is preparing to go to war with Dr. Octopus and Silvermane for control of New York. To impress his beloved boss, Hammerhead re-hires Norman Osborn while the Tinkerer re-fits the original Enforcers abilites to take out Spider-Man once and for all.

LONG STORY SHORT: Hammerhead leads to the Enforcers getting caught by the police. Elsewhere, Flash learns of Harry’s drinking and drugging and is forced to report to his coach who then takes away the school’s championship trophy, the very one that Flash played so hard to win.

 

 

Since they were priviously locked up, let's hope "Shocker", "Ricochet" and "Ox" aren't prison names.

 MY THOUGHTS: As the Gangwar arc continues, we see the return of the “Big Man” a.k.a. Tombstone as well as his boys the Enforcers. Right away, this piques my interest in the Gangwar storyline because Tombstone was a major player last season, and we’re now halfway through with this season so it feels as though the world is being rounded out full circle. I also liked the growing tension between Tombstone and Hammerhead, as Tombstone berates Hammerhead for fouling up previous assignments and saying he pretty much doesn’t trust him anymore. Stuff like this is what interests me about the feud between the Mafia and the “freaks”, and not so much the fight to control the city. Inner conflict between sides and eventual betrayals and bids for personal gain make it interesting. So this episode was definetely a step above the last one. But even still, I found it to be in the same vein in terms of general interest. There are a handful of cool moments such as seeing the new Enforcers and the opening scene with Hammy and Tomby, but beyond that this was another instance of me really finding more interest in the smaller things than the action oriented parts of the story. The bulk of this episode is Spidey trying to stop Shocker and pals from stealing gold bricks. That’s…okay, I guess. It wasn’t bad, but nothing really stood out for me. The stuff I gravitated towards was the interplay between Captain Stacy and the school kids he brings along in the investigation of the Enforcers. Harry and Flash proved to be a very interesting couple, we definetely needed more Liz and Gwen scenes, and we even got some slight character growth with Sally Avril, who I defy anyone in the viewing audience to tolerate for more than a minute. Even she was revealed to be a human being, showing concern for Peter after thinking he got blown up. The stuff like that was what held my interest. The Enforcers part, not so much. 

Though I will say that if Montana was made to be Shocker just so we could get a ramped up Enforcer gang, that’s…interesting. Honestly, I do like the Enforcers but only from their Ultimate Spider-Man appearances. Here, they’re just bland. Ox and Fancy Dan don’t have any character beyond their abilites, and Montana’s an annoying stereotype. “Well bug, a man’s a man when he blah-blah-blah” who cares. Don’t get me wrong, he’s voiced very well by Jeff Bennett. But the lines they give him are so stock and cheesy, you cannot take him seriously. Again, Weisman is on record saying that Montana was made into the Shocker instead of Herman Schultz because the latter wasn’t much beyond his technology. Well Montana isn’t much beyond his texas twang. If this is going to be like THE BATMAN and introduce a second character to take up the mantle, then its okay. But I don’t think we needed to change Shocker’s identity if this is the extent that we’re being given.

 

 

 

 

Such looks of shock, awe, disgust, intrigue and congestion

 Also with the Gangwar arc, we see the continuation of two things. The first is the bloody obvious hints that George Stacy knows Peter’s secret. The second is that Peter’s not getting enough screen time. Yeah, he’s in most of the episode but he’s paired up with other characters. Again, a mainstay of Spider-Man is that we’re alone with his thoughts. Exactly when that stopped being the case here, I don’t remember. But now that we have a subplot where the captain of the police department may know who Spider-Man is, we really have to see Peter’s thoughts on it. We see physically that he may be catching on, but we don’t know for sure because we’re never given time with him. The only scene I remember where he’s thinking to himself is at the beginning when he’s thinking back on how great his life is. I know I said that Peter was a short-sighted character, but this is getting to be a bit much.

 

 

 

 

I'd pop in a He-Man reference, but there's no sword or silly haircut to work with.

The most interesting part of this episode for me was the Harry/Flash scene where Harry confesses to Flash that he was on Globulin Green during his time as a football player, and Flash subsequent confession to his coach. I liked how Harry called Flash out on the whole clique thing being squashed and Flash saying that he treats Harry badly because he felt Harry deserted the team. That was a great bit of character revelation, and the fact that Flash was the one who confessed after telling Harry not to tell anyone was even better. Flash has been the MVP of the season, sharing a lot of screentime with Peter/Spider-Man. Here I felt it worked because every character has been going through his or her own little arc. Even Rand seemed dissapointed that Flash told the coach, which I thought was interesting in itself. With the episode ending on a question to whether the Green Goblin will return or not, I hope that we’re spared scenes of Harry dowing the formula again and again like we weren’t last season. Those scenes worked better when it was a secret. Here in the context of this season, it would fall flat.

There’s not much else to say about this episode. Again, the gangwar arc is fairly straightforward. I didn’t like the animation models, though the animation itself was okay. Pretty cartoony throughout, which I’m of two minds. Really it shouldn’t matter to me because it is a cartoon after all. Gangwar continues next time…

 

 

BLONDE MAGNET

 

3.5/5 webs.

*Best Line Contender-

*Ricochet picks up a gold brick* Spider-Man: *webs his hand* “Ha, now if I wanted you to get away with the gold…”*gets hit*

all images taken from marvel.toonzone.net

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