Written By: John Semper
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi
Animation Services By: Toyko Movie Shinsha (TMS)
THE PLOT: Continuing from last episode, Robbie Robertson reveals his past life as a bomb expert and diffuses the dynamite that threatened his and Spidey’s life. Working together, Robbie and Peter learn that Richard and Mary Parker were killed as double agents loyal to America after they came into possession a “doomsday device”.
LONG STORY SHORT: Everything comes to a head when the son of the Red Skull reveals himself to the group, including the mercenary Silver Sable and her Wildpack. Kingpin reclaims the doomsday device, but as Peter and Robbie return to the states Peter vows to reveal his parent’s true legacy to the world.
MY THOUGHTS: Continuing from last week, my enthusiasm for this arc has not dissipated. This is a great intrigue story that never slows down nor goes too fast for plot exposition to be lost. What makes this a standout in, yeah I’ll say it, the entire series is the crisp nature of the writing. Going beyond badly repeated animation, goofy character designs (everyone in this show is jacked) and lame accents, this episode’s writing shows a certain maturity that keeps me invested. It’s a combination of both the mystery that gets bigger and better with each scene and the terrific use of continuity. The ending in particular, and it’s been said before, was very comic booky in the sense that the immediate situation was resolved but there are still things to be done that will pick up in the next adventure. At the end it does say “To be Continued”, but I would have liked it if they had left that out and continued the ongoing story arc on its own. The arc is still really fun regardless.
This is John Semper’s baby, and if there’s one thing one can take away from his involvement in the series over all else, it’s that Semper LOVES the Kingpin. The guy shows up roughly 75% of the time, and more often than not he has the best lines. He certainly has one of the best voices. This episode in particular showcases ole Kingsy with a little more attention, not really seen in the series aside from “Man Without Fear” back in season 3. And its a curious thing because I don’t think Kingpin ever strays too far from being a straight up villain. He’s almost always doing villainous things, and even when he’s not he’s being a jerk to J. Jonah Jameson or Norman Osborn. The way he’s been written however is great because he’s…he’s just really cool. That’s the thing about the Kingpin in this series, he’s awesome. Not in the sense that he’s a David Xanatos kind of character, but somewhere between that and Lex Luthor from the 90s Superman series. He almost always relishes in his villainy and is having a good time without going too over the top and becoming a parody. At the same time he’s certainly complex. Think back to one of the few good things about the Tablet of Time arc in season 2. His villainy cost him his marriage, and he was devastated over it. It could be a reason that apart from the Daredevil team up in the middle of season 3, he really didn’t appear all that often at all from the end of season 2 to the very beginning of season 4. Going back to the Daredevil team up, that was a personal episode for both the Man Without Fear and Fisk, because Fisk sold out his son the cops and kicked out Smythe because of it. It’s fair to say that he events which pretty much ruined his home life left him a darker character because the scope of his evil grows larger almost exponentially. At the beginning he wanted to control just all crime on a global level. At some point he wanted to actually become immortal (which I still can’t get over) and in this episode he flat out tells Spider-Man that he wants to rule the world. Very cliched stuff to be sure. But think back to all that’s happened to him in the series.
Consider also the line he gives to Reinhold as he’s being electrocuted.
Reinhold: “The odds are against you!”
Kingpin: “I’ve been beating worse odds all my life!”
This is a layered character with goals and machinations that seem simple on the outset, but have deeper meanings once you put certain events into perspective. Plus, he’s still never been caught despite overwhelming evidence to his real identity.
We also get more of Robbie’s character in this, learning that he worked overseas in certain military operations. At first I was curious as to whether this was mentioned in “Tombstone” when Robbie gave Spider-Man his secret origin, but there was a significant time skip in the flashback from when he graduated college to when he was working as a reporter. There could have been time in between to learn how to defuse bombs, you never know. Even though that was revealed, there’s still some unanswered questions concerning his behavior which need to be answered. They probably will with this Omar Mosely person who must have been the guy Robbie called on the phone in part one. Even if he isn’t, its another part of this mystery I’m eagerly anticipating to be revealed.
We’re given more of an introduction to Silver Sable and the Wildpack, which were much bigger in the 90s (hence their reasoning for being in these episodes) than they have been in recent years. First appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #265, this version of the character is the most faithful in all her three cartoon incarnations, with the others being of course the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon and the MTV Spider-Man show. In both of those shows, she was a straight up villain, and while I suppose I can wrap my head around the reasoning for doing that as Spidey doesn’t have too many female adversaries, I like the original character the best and I like how she was done here. Semper did a good job with her characterization, making her cool and tough without it being overdone. It was also a really nice job including of irony that juxtaposed Spider-Man and Sable arguing over her mercenary methods and her not caring who she works for with her employer seemingly revealed to be the Red Skull. In the comics, the Wildpack as a group is dedicated to bringing down Nazi war criminals such as the Red Skull, and the look on her face was justifiably priceless.
As much as I enjoyed this episode like I did the last one, there were a couple of gripes. One is Doc Ock’s complete transformation into the Kingpin’s dog with the line “The Kingpin will reward us handsomely for bringing Spider-Man to him alive!” I just…ugh. That was bad. Also, to reiterate earlier points, the animation wasn’t the best and there were times when the repeated shots reached a whole new low. Spidey and Robbie are talking to each other in the warehouse, and all of a sudden Robbie’s back at his home so his mouth can match up with his dialogue. And again, the Russian and German accents in this episode were really overplayed and cheesy. There wasn’t any nuance brought forth by the actors, although the guy the Chamelon impersonated did sound exactly like Kraven the Hunter, which was amusing since he’s Russian as well.
One last thing. Just like in the previous episode, the Jameson scene was gold. It wasn’t so much what he was saying as it was Ed Asner’s performance. He sounded so appalled and disgusted that Peter came back with nothing to show for his trip, although you have to wonder if he ever yelled at Robbie for the same thing.
As said before, this was another solid entry into the Six Warriors saga and here’s hoping it only gets better from here.
4/5 “MARY JAAANE!!!”s
Best Quote Contender-
Kingpin: “I must say Spider-Man, seeing you here is certainly a treat…”
Spidey: “If I were you Kingpin, I’d lay off the treats!”
All images taken from marvel.toonzone.com and drg4.wariocompany.com.