Who among you Spider-Fans was praying that we see Sandman’s Frightful Four costume in animated form? Was it you? Thanks a lot, man. We got it.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN Season Two, Episode Twenty-Four
Written By: (The writer was once again not credited, what is up with that? Find the writer for me somehow and you will recieve a No-Prize. AKA a warm internet hug from me.)
PLOT: S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are rifling through Curt Connors’ lab, taking inventory and such, and they are using Andy the Awesome Android (I’ll explain who that is below if you don’t know) to safely dispose of dangerous chemicals and substances. Andy has a bad reaction to one of the chemicals, and starts to spew fire. This fire accidentally releases the Sandman from his glass contraption, and Spider-Man immediately takes action. Realizing that his webs are useless in this situation (come on, Spidey), he is taken by surprise when Sandman puts out the fire and saves everyone. Flint Marko reveals that he really wants to help people now, but we find out through some exposition that his sand ability makes him emotionally and mentally unstable. Spider-Man has faith in Marko, and lobbies for Nick Fury to give him a chance to be a part of the Spider-Friends. His words are pretty convincing, so S.H.I.E.L.D. gives Sandman a containment suit (the Frightful Four getup) to keep him on their side. During a test walk outside, Spidey gets a message from Fury that a S.H.I.E.L.D. base is being attacked. Peter makes a snap decision to take Sandman with him on the mission, and they find that the attacks are coming from Swarm. They fight of course, but Flint gets way out of hand and beats Swarm into smithereens before Spidey can talk him down. Peter decides to give him yet another chance, and they agree to go to a baseball game together. Before they can, they chase Batroc the Leaper through Times Square. Somehow J. Jonah Jameson starts yelling at them from his billboard screen, calling them both criminals and menaces. This really ticks Sandman off, and he ends up going berserk. He basically says that being a hero is much harder than just kicking the crap out of everything, so he just starts kicking the crap out of everything. The Spider-Friends show up, and Nova offers to turn Sandman into glass again. Spidey says no, he has to take care of this because it’s his responsibility. He then uses Andy the Awesome Android to suck Sandman up like a vacuum, and Andy spits Marko back out into his containment suit. Spider-Man expects a punishment from Fury, but Nick admits that he is proud of Peter for attempting to help the Sandman.
THOUGHTS: I hereby declare that a petition shall be created for the studio to change the title of this show to “The Mixed Bag That Is So Mixed That It’s Actually Impressive”. Not the catchiest title but seriously, the things that were good in this episode was actually fairly awesome, while the things that sucked, well, they sucked like Andy the Awesome Android. Which, as I’m sure you know, is a good way to sum up a majority of these episodes. I’m just going to start by talking about Andy the Android, because I can tell by that puzzled look on your face that you’re immensely curious. Believe it or not, Andy first appeared during the same year that the Amazing Spider-Man began, in Fantastic Four #15 published in June of 1963. He was created when the Mad Thinker attempted to use Reed Richards’ technique of splicing unstable molecules. Mind blown yet? No? Then I will keep going. Andy continued to fight nearly every hero in the mainstream Marvel U, appearing in X-Men, Tales of Suspense, Iron Man, Rom, Thunderbolts, Heroes for Hire, She-Hulk, and even Exiles. Eventually this vile android named Andy was shot into space by the “Zero Cannon” in a battle between the Intelligencia and the Sinister Six. BUT, as you can tell, Andy is a pretty essential Marvel staple, so he was brought back to life by MODOK. Yeah. But in THIS show, he first appeared in the Season One episode “Awesome” (that I will be reviewing fairly soon), in which he was just Curt Connors’ experiment that Peter stole to use in a science fair. To make a long story short (even though I already made it a paragraph long), Andy the Awesome Android can suck anything around him into his mouth while getting increasing huge. Oh, and he’s indestructible.
With the history lesson out of the way, let’s talk about Sandman reforming. If you read my last review, you’re probably aware that Norman Osborn was in this same situation last week, proclaiming himself as the new heroic Iron Patriot. You’re probably also aware that I didn’t really buy his transformation, like at all. But does the same apply to Sandman? …Yes but almost exactly backwards. I was actually completely buying Sandman turning around, it’s his emotional instability and thus his return to the dark side that came off as cheap to me. I have a message for the writers: You can not fit an emotional turn-around like this into one TWENTY MINUTE cartoon! I’m sorry, you just can’t. At least make it a two-parter or something. Sandman’s dialogue was just… At the beginning he says in a friendly tone: “Call me Flint!”, but after a brief battle with Swarm he abruptly changes to: “No! I am the Sandman! Call me Sandman!”, and it’s just ridiculous. There’s not even much to say. Just like last episode, the transformation is thinly one-dimensional. But honestly I did like this one a whole heck of a lot more than the Iron Patriot episode. I can get to what I liked later, I’m going to keep being negative.
Frightful Four suit!! Animated! No! Noooo!!! I hate that suit. But hey, at least it had a purpose. When I read old Fantastic Four or Spidey issues where Sandman is wearing that suit, I always giggle like a school girl because there is just no way Flint Marko would wear that thing. But S.H.I.E.L.D. made it for him in this episode, and it’s like his house-arrest bracelet. For all we know, Coulson could have sketched this out, it seems like a design he would come up with. Other than his costume though, Sandman looked pretty awesome. I haven’t reviewed the previous episodes with Sandman yet so I’ll just say it here: I really like the way they animate Sandman in this show. His movements are so fluid and I have no idea how you accomplish that with 2D animation but really, kudos to the animators. Cartoon Sandy has never looked sweeter.
The very highest point of this thing for me was the climax. Sandman was tearing crap up and it was a joy to watch. Spider-Man was actually focusing on being responsible for once, and that will always be a pro in my eyes. The Spider-Friends were actually pretty cool! Would you believe that? They kind of just shut up and started saving civilians while Spidey took care of the main problem, which is definitely a role I wish they would play more often. Nova actually said something I enjoyed before Spidey’s final confrontation with Sandman, giving him and Spidey a nice brotherly non-forced moment. I was impressed. The action was great, the characters were enjoyable, and the animation couldn’t have been smoother. However, using Andy the Android the end the battle was a quick and silly move, but it wasn’t horrible. Just remember when Spider-Man used a vacuum to beat Sandman in ASM #4 and this shouldn’t annoy you too much.
Before I finish up, I was going to let you all know that Sandman was voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. He has voiced an obscene amount of TV shows and video games, many of which are Spider-Man related, including:
A few characters in the 90’s show.
Doc Connors/Lizard in Spectacular Spider-Man.
Mr. Fantastic in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
TONS of characters in the 2000-2001 Playstation Spidey games.
A few characters in Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance, Superhero Squad, and LEGO games.
He’s also very well known for being the voice of all of the clone troopers in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, as well as voicing Ra’s al Ghul in Batman: Arkham City, so that is one very cool guy.
PROS: Incredible animation, alright story, Peter being responsible, non-annoying Spider-Friends, great climax.
CONS: Lame transformation in Sandman’s heart, Andy the Android was a bit of a cop-out, I’m pretty sure there is a studio mandate for at least one Times Square billboard to get destroyed in every episode.
GRADE: 4 out of 5 Awesome Androids. This one was really a whole lot better than the previous installment, and I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. Thank you for reading Web-Heads! DROP ME A COMMENT, YO!