We return to Season Two of an animated Spider-Man series that I’m somewhat shocked has been renewed for a third season. As I sit down once again to take in the exploits of the current Spider-Friends, I become puzzled about many things. 1. Why does having the powers of electricity mean you can take over any electrical appliance and make a blender walk? 2. Why would someone with the intergalactic powers of a Nova Corps member sit around inside fascinated by a cell phone? 3. What did Spider-Man think would happen when he used Taser Webbing on Electro? 4. What is the point of Power Man? 5. Batroc the Leaper? 6. What would a man made entirely of pure electricity do with gold bars? 7. Did I really just see a promo for “Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.”?
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN Season Two, Episode Two
Written By: Man of Action and Eugene Son
THE STORY: Spider-Man beats the crap out of Electro, and once he has ol’ Sparky backed up against the gigantic Daily Bugle screen in Times Square, he uses Taser Webs on him (Why?). This somehow merges Electro into the electricity of the screen, and he vanishes. Instead of thinking “Holy crap, I just tasered a B-List villain into nothingness! I’m Spider-Man, I don’t kill people!!”, Peter goes home to hang out with his lovely Spider-Friends. Now, being the modern and hip teens they are, the team members are all absorbed in their electronics. Iron Fist is chillin’ with his copyright-safe iPod, Nova is texting or something, etc. But then the power goes out and Electro reveals his purty blue face on TV, informing the world that thanks to Spider-Man, he is now leveled-up and all-powerful. The Spider-Friends assemble to go after him, but nothing electrical in New York works, Spidey’s motorcycle won’t even start (bummer, he really needs that thing). The team makes their way across the city while Electro tortures them and angry mobs throw trash at them. Batroc the Leaper(!) even joins the party as he takes advantage of the opportunity to do some robbing. Once the team finds Electro, he’s pretty much taken over everything, all the blenders of the world belong to him. He then tries to steal some gold bars, but helpful Nova tells him he could just hack into some satellites and wire money into his bank account or something. So, Electro enters the electrical realm once more and the Spider-Friends return to Times Square. After Batroc the Leaper receives a punch in the moustache, the Spider-Friends trick Electro into creating several versions of himself to fight them. This spreads him too thin, and his powers short out. The original Electro reappears, back in his sexy original starfish mask. Spider-Man punches him, the day is won, and the team applauds Spidey’s leadership. Then they play Pictionary or something, so… Happy ending.
THOUGHTS: I liked this episode more than a lot of the others, it was silly and video game-like but the pacing wasn’t as nauseating as it usually is, which made for a bit more of an enjoyable episode. As I joked in my introductory paragraph, this episode went with some cartoony cliches that are pretty silly. But there was some great action and some of the scenes were fun. Also this episode, we got the one thing this show has been missing: Batroc the Leaper!!! Oh, yeah. Electro’s pretty one-dimensional, he just wants to steal money and he takes over TVs to rant and laugh about how awesome he is. This episode was a little different because it let itself slow down as the Spider-Friends trek across the power-ridden city. But once we get to the final confrontation with Electro, the show gets back to video game rocket-speed pacing. Overall it wasn’t too bad.
I don’t know how electricity powers are supposed to work, but man, they are all over the place in sci-fi and cartoons. A character could be blasting volts from his hands one minute, and then turn into a streak of lightning and enter a computer the next. Does anyone remember Arcade or whatever from Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends? This really reminded me of him. I guess Electro becomes “one with electricity” or something in this episode, which means he can take over anything remotely electrical. There’s a funny scene when the team finally finds him and he’s literally just standing in the street laughing while he plays with his powers and makes blenders walk. This is a minor quibble but I don’t understand why Daily Bugle Communications is this enormous corporation with their very own group of satellites for Electro to play with. They even have this futuristic tower with small screens making up one big picture of J. Jonah Jameson’s ranting face. Anyway, it seems weird that Spider-Man’s Taser Webs merge Electro with the electricity of the world. Electricity is a very ambiguous thing in this episode.
The action in this episode is very well-animated and just fun. Electro is a visual spectacle, I assume he will be in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 also. As we’ve seen from the set pictures of Jamie Foxx, it seems he will be similar to this version, with less starfish-face and more blue-nekkidness. The climax with the Spider-Friends fighting the multiple Electros was cool too, even if it is odd that just because he spreads himself a little thin Electro is fully restored to his original form. I guess that’s where the video game logic comes in. Watching the team trek across a powerless New York was actually kinda fun, seeing those annoying kids getting tortured by Electro and even nearly blown up was great. If you haven’t seen the episode, there’s a part where the Spider-Friends get into a cable car, and Electro juices up the power to the point that the cable car runs into a wall and explodes. After the commercial break, a fourth wall-breaking Spider-Man rewinds the episode and shows how the team escapes. That was kinda neat and fun, and for a split-second it seems like the team just exploded, which, if you’ve been watching this show, you know that is a true joy. I rewound the show to watch it explode again and again. Just kidding. It was funny though.