Fresh off the heels of personal tragedy, Spider-Man is chosen to lead an intergalactic fight against the forces of evil! But since everyone knows the Fantastic Four are jerks, can the team he’s selected survive the initial introductions?
THE PLOT: Madame Web introduces Spider-Man to the Beyonder, an interdimensional being with God-like abilities. He summons several villains from Spidey’s rogues gallery in addition to the Red Skull and Doctor Doom to take over a peaceful planet. Spidey then summons the Fantastic Four, Storm, Captain America and Iron Man to help battle the evildoers.
LONG STORY SHORT: The group do not initially get along thanks to Ben Grimm, but work together to survive an attack from space slugs and the Lizard. Reed Richards manages to merge Curt Connors mind with the Lizard’s body, who then decides to help Spider-Man.
I know this is the beginning of the big, sprawling three-part Secret Wars epic but this didn’t get me pumped as much as “Six Forgotten Warriors” did. Partly because we just came off of a huge, heartbreaking saga with Mary Jane, so a Super Hero team-up doesn’t really grab me as much as seeing Peter deal with that. MJ isn’t even mentioned in this episode, and you’d figure she would be after Madame Web promised to return Peter to her WHICH BY THE WAY!-She said back at the end of “Turning Point” that she couldn’t. Now all of a sudden she can? Either she’s lying about the former or the latter. In any case it just makes her more unbearable.
This might seem like a cardinal sin for comic book fans, but I have not read the original SECRET WARS. Much of the 80s era of Spider-Man is pretty murky for me and the SECRET WARS story is foremost among those stories that for some reason or another I’ve just missed. So when comparing between that and this, I may get several things wrong. One thing I do know is that Spider-Man was certainly not made the leader for the team of heroes. That’s a complaint that I hear often, but I suppose it all depends on how sacred you find the original story to be if you can’t handle that notion. The whole idea of the Beyonder picking a fight between good and evil to be fought and observed, in the context of the show comes off as…juvenile. It feels very childish, and maybe that’s the point but I didn’t really buy into it. It seemed more like the Beyonder and Web just wanted to mess with Spidey for a while.
It was fun to see Spidey choose his allies like a kid chooses classmates for a team of dodgeball players. Cap and Iron Man were no brainers, though one questions why Spidey holds IM so near and dear to his heart considering they only had one run-in for only a few hours. The Fantastic Four appear for the first time after several references made to them way back in season one. Their designs were a mixed bag, with the Thing being the oddest, worst offender. He was tough to look at half the time. And he stupid way of punching first and asking questions later only padded out the episode with more needless muscle bragging. Everyone knows the F4 are jerks but I didn’t care to see it taken to such extremes.
I did like how the Lizard was handled, from his random bursting through the wall trying to kill Spider-Man to how his min was switched so he could help the heroes out. I like the Lizard at the best of times, and Curt Connors is always a fun ally to see from time to time. Having him fight alongside Spider-Man is pretty cool in my opinion.
2.5/5 “MARY JAAANE!!!”s