Ultimate Spider-Man Season One, Episode Four “Venom” Review


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Today, we head back to Season One to discuss possibly the must frustrating episode to date: Venom. Peter Parker, symbiote host, has been neglecting his best friend Harry. Like every television teenager, Harry deals with these feelings of neglect by throwing a huge party. Unfortunately, the only thing being passed around at this party is a big scary Venom suit.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN Season One, Episode Four

“Venom”
Written By: Joe Kelly & James Felder

THE STORY: The ever-creepy evil scientist Doctor Octopus is always cooking up something evil, and now he has Spider-Man’s DNA (how?). In less than ten seconds, Doc Ock has “isolated the most dangerous parts of Spider-Man’s DNA”. Unfiltered aggression. Pure Venom. Yes, that’s the explanation. Meanwhile, Peter has been hanging with his Spider-Friends, leaving Harry Osborn feeling quite neglected. Harry decides to throw a big party at his house with those crazy Midtown kids. Doc Ock’s Venom (Suit? Symbiote? Let’s say blob) trashes his lab and heads back to the DNA source, Spidey. Venom reaches Harry’s place, and takes over Flash Thompson. After a brief fight, it starts jumping from host to host, taking over each of the Spider-Friends. Once it gets to Spider-Man, the team works together and blows Venom up with electricity. Later, Peter and Harry chat in Harry’s trashed apartment. Harry finds a tiny piece of leftover Venom, and puts it in a plastic water bottle.

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THOUGHTS: Ugh. I wish you could see my face right now. Perhaps you thought that my plot summary above was funny in all the stupidity, but I was cringing as I recall the events of this episode. This whole episode made me cringe. I really and truly couldn’t stand it. The action wasn’t great, the story literally made no sense, and the resolution was so rushed it made the whole episode feel like a waste of time. One of my very favorite comics (judge me if you will) is the Venom story in the original Bendis/Bagley Ultimate Spider-Man run. The emotions in the story are excellent, the flow of the story fits it well, and Venom is truly made scary again. Did this episode live up to that at all?

     No!!! Of course not! At this point, the series seems to be taking stories with so much potential, and compressing them down into pathetic versions that mean absolutely nothing. I mentioned before, I love the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series. I was so excited for this show, but it really is something else entirely under the same name. When I ask people my age if they’ve seen this show, the general reaction is, “Oh, yeah. That sucks.” These are people who don’t read comics, so this is the “Ultimate Spider-Man” that they know. That’s very unfortunate.

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     “I’ve isolated the most dangerous parts of Spider-Man’s DNA.” What. Does. That. Mean?! I’m a comic book/sci-fi fan. I love Doctor Who. I’m used to pseudo-science. But this… This is just unforgivable. The story make no effort whatsoever to explain why Otto could (in less than ten seconds) pull a monster out of Peter Parker’s DNA. That’s lazy. That is lazy storytelling. I won’t even begin to explain why this makes no sense, because I think you can easily tell. Watching Venom take over different hosts is just… Not as dramatic as it should be. You know that this isn’t a creepy alien from Battleworld, this isn’t an out-of-control experiment from Peter’s father. This is a plot device that makes no sense to begin with.

     The resolution of the story is rushed and again, lazy. The team uses electricity to blow Venom up. Um, okay? The audience is supposed to be interested in the fact that Harry finds some Venom at the end but I just rolled my eyes. And again, we have Peter taking nothing seriously, even though he sees a monster possessing his friends. No, let’s just keep joking. Ugh.

PROS: I honestly can’t think of one.

CONS: Stupid origin, stupid resolution, stupid story.
GRADE: 1 out of 5 Venom tendrils. This episode was really just horrible all around. Sorry. Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment!

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(10) Comments

  1. Jonathan

    I agree with your points on the Venom storyline, as it was completely and utterly wrong and in-genuine to the character. That being said, there was one good part to this episode that made it tolerable; the Harry-Peter plot. I felt that plot was done very well and did a good job of expressing Harry's feelings of abandonment. 3/5 for me.

  2. Sbee613

    I actually watched all of the first season somehow (blame the medication) and the way they portray spidey in this is laughable he never takes anything serious he's depicted as a buffoon that's supposed to be a science whiz that has to rely on everyone else for all his tech. And don't even get my started about the "spider-cycle". And as webhead said the breaking of the fourth wall is tiresome even halfway through the second episode I was thinking I'm glad he can't hear my response and those little angel and devil spider-men that are on his shoulder when he hasnanchoicemismso corny and childish. Sorry for the rant but I was a HUGE spectacular spider-man fan and was baffled when they canceled it for this.

  3. webhead37

    When it comes to this show, yea the story is stupid, yea the side characters are walking stereotypes and yes the breaking the 4th wall joke gets so old so fast in the show, but the main reason I hate this show is I can't stand listening to Drake Bell. I can't stand his voice as Spidey! It's so whiney and it feels like someone is grinding the insides of my ears to the point I'm going deaf

  4. Enigma_2099

    @#3 Add a "Just think" to the front of my post. ANYTHING would be better than what they're doing with this show.

  5. Ethan Smith - Post author

    @1 Yeah, I feel the same way. Just wait until the episode where Harry carries around the suit in a watch. @2 I don't know how you feel about the USM comics, and I know many people dislike the choices in the series, but I feel like the characters were handled well and in a realistic way. I think this show would be MUCH better if it were based on the Bendis/Bagley run.

  6. Donovan Grant

    I really did not like this at all either. I'm all for different takes on certain characters, but the symbiote being a Doc Ock creation that takes over Harry Osborn is my bridge too far.

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