Story By: John Semper
Written By: James Krieg, Mark Hoffmeier and John Semper
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi
THE PLOT: The Beyonder takes Spider-Man to a parallel New York that has been ravaged by devastation at the hands of his alternate self. This version of Peter Parker, known as Spider-Carnage, is hellbent on destroying the entire scope of all realities with Jon Ohm’s portal device. Having already taken place, the Beyonder had traveled back in time to assemble different variations of Spider-Man across different universes to stop their evil self, consisting of a six-armed Spider-Man, a Spider-Man with Doc Ock’s Tentacles, a powerless Spider-Man, and a multi-billioniare Armored Spider-Man.
LONG STORY SHORT: Ben Reilly, the supposed clone of Spider-Carnage who fights crime as the Scarlet Spider, leads to Spider-Clones to Spider-Carnage’s base at Crime Central. There, Kingpin, Smythe, Green Goblin and Hobgoblin have all allied with Spider-Carnage, but not without unease. The clones manage to beat on the Kingpin’s forces, but one of the Spider-Clones who’s in the middle of his mutation disease transforms into the Man-Spider and starts attacking (our) Spider-Man and Scarlet Spider.
MY THOUGHTS: Awesome. End of story.
Okay, to elaborate…this is little more than a fanwank of the highest order. Everything’s pushed up to eleven, the stakes have never been higher nor can they get greater, and all the trials and tribulations Madame Webs has pestered Spider-Man with has been leading up to this. And it’s just massive fun. We see Ben Reilly. The Carnage symbiote. The Goblins, Green and Hob, working together. The return of the Kingpin/Smythe team. Armored Spider-Man (who earns another name beginning with an “A” based off his attitude). Impact Webbing. Octo-Spidey. Aunt May dead as a doornail. What’s not to love about this episode?
The animation was solid, deservedly so for the episode. It starts off with a bang, NY having been utterly gutted by Spider-Man and Jameson and Robbie as sole survivors. I remember the first time I saw this episode how intense everything felt. It literally looks like hell on Earth, and while it may hearken back to that one Web of Spider-Man issue in the Clone Saga (the Beyonder could seriously have been a stand-in for Judas Traveler in this case) it was a lot better because unlike that issue, things of interest were going on. It was also strengthened by Ed Asner’s performance when he’s berating Spider-Man. He’s not blustering, he’s deeply enraged yet almost awed at how much damage he thinks our Spidey has done.
Obviously the best part about this episode were the clones, proving how fun and exciting such a concept can be when done right. Much of the credit goes to Chris Barnes, how manages to make each and every voice sound distinctive from each other while still being Spider-Man. This guy deserves an Emmy for his talent. Our Spider-Man differentiated from Scarlet Spider, who you could tell had gone through different but equally trying experiences and came out sounding like he had just gone through a very long journey. The Armored Spider-Man sounded hilariously macho, with a rough timbre to his voice while still sounding like Peter Parker. He also had the best lines in this episode, bar none.
“In my reality I’m a multi-billionaire. Aren’t you?”
“I never back down from a fight. Probably because I never lose.”
“Relaaax, it’ll work out. Things ALWAYS work out..!”
What makes this episode such a big fanwank is that the writers are literally poking at the general concept of the show and having fun with it. Armored Spidey isn’t just successful, he’s a jerk. In his jerkiness however, he reiterates how Spider-Man is such an unconventional superhero and breaks the fourth wall every time he does it. If Peter’s life were this great, he’d have no doubt turned into this guy. At the same time, it’s the fact that his life is what it is that draws us to him. It’s so much fun to watch, especially with our Spidey’s reactionary line of “Did he say a Spider-ROBOT?!” right before the explosions start going off.
More on Ben Reilly, I thought he was perfect here. Again, CDB does a fantastic job differentiating him from Peter while still having it be the same voice. It’s all in the soul of the voice, which is weird considering that, hypothetically, two have the same soul. This also presumably let’s us know that at some point Curt Connors was let in on the secret identity of Spider-Man, since Ben went to him unmasked to find out who was the clone and who was the original. Ben’s look was interesting too, since he resembled the more classic Peter Parker design from the comics with the flat top and single bang. Original designs for Peter in this show were supposedly going to be in this mold, resembling Dick Grayson’s design from Batman: the animated series. As much as I like the Nick Hammond Peter Parker, I do wonder why the more modern animated versions of the character never tend to look like him from the comics.
We see the long awaited return of the classic Kingpin and Smythe team, although you have to wonder at what point exactly did they both agree to work together again since they really did hate each other’s guts. I suppose having a maniac like Spider-Carnage in their lives made the choice simple. Speaking of whom, Spider-Carnage was a great psycho. He sounded like CDB mixed in with Scott Cleverdon who played Carnage, but I didn’t look at the credits to check. One of the funnier scenes in my opinion was the scene of him destroying all reality, because it came off as incredibly random. But I did like how they played it up, when he’s telling the Kingpin and other villains that he’ll give them “what they all deserve”. His dialogue was very cunning and double meaning, which made the threat of him all the more sinister considering at some point in time he did manage to succeed in killing everyone. Having the ultimate villain be an insane Peter Parker could be more fitting, since Peter is forever at war with himself and his decisions. Having a whole set of Spider-Man fight Spider-Carnage is certainly something for all the psyche majors out there to chew on.
There is literally nothing wrong with this episode whatsoever. I can deal with a few milliseconds of reused footage if they give me the Scarlet Spider and a bunch of Spider-Man fighting Green Goblin, Hobgoblin and the Fisk/Smythe duo. The animation was great, the writing was excellent, and it all goes down in the next and final episode of the series…
Best Quote Contender-
Kingpin Henchmen: “Kingpin! It’s Spider-Man!…FIVE OF ‘IM!”
All images taken from marvel.toonzone.net and drg4.wariocompany.com respectively.