What’s this? Spidey Prime Time? We started the year off with Superior Spider-Man and the Mark Bagley Boston Comic-Con announcement. We can’t help it if Peter Parker has webbed his way into our hearts, especially since most have gotten around to renting The Amazing Spider-Man movie from last summer. The Disney/Marvel machine certainly doesn’t need the attention of the press like indie creators do, but we like to keep you informed about what you are missing and recommend some quality television for your kids. That’s why we are here to suggest the season premier episodes of Ultimate Spider-Man on Disney XD. It’s the sort of thing you can have on for the kids while you geek out on Agent Coulson from Marvel’s Avengers co-starring as the Midtown Science High principal. The second season premiered this week, putting Peter in the leadership role, one we always know he is capable of, but always has trouble with.
Head of Television for Marvel is comic book writer Jeph Loeb. Loeb is known for spectacular his retelling of many Marvel and DC origins in his day, and a breakout run at Marvel that introduced the world to a Red Hulk. Jeph is also no stranger to TV and movie development with a Hollywood carreer that spans from Teen Wolf to Smallville. We’re lucky to have all of the animation and television properties of our favorite Marvel characters being signed off by Loeb because he truly has seen all aspects of the business. This year, along with Ultimate Spider-Man we will see Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (introducing a Blue Hulk) and a predictable but anticipated Avengers Assemble series.
While some are missing the awesome Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes show that was canned last year, Assemble looks to be an action-packed replacement.
What’s new in Ultimate Spider-Man? Like Marvel NOW!, S.H.I.E.L.D. is an ever-present entity to glue the heroes of the Marvel Universe together as a police force and governing agency overseeing the activities of the superheroes. Since Peter Parker is a teenager in the TV universe, Nick Fury takes a young and underdeveloped Spidey under his wing to train him to be a better hero.
What you may appreciate is the new Ultimate gadgets, whereby Peter gets upgraded computerized web-shooter tech and the old-fashioned Spider-Mobile being replaced by a Spider Cycle.
I know, shilling for the toy dollars but this answers how Spidey can get from Queens to Midtown after hearing of trouble on his phone!
Season One dealt with the training and growing pains of a new hero. Now that that is taken care of, we get to see how he interacts with the other heroes on his team. White Tiger, Sam Alexander (Marvel NOW!‘s Nova written by Jeph Loeb), Luke Cage the Power Man and Danny Rand the Iron Fist now all live beneath a very active Aunt May’s roof after getting kicked off of the destroyed Helicarrier in the Season One finale.
This ‘second family’ is a carry-over from the popular and long-running Ultimate Spider-Man comic from Brian Michael Bendis launched way back in 2000, offering a more grounded reboot of the character that drops the anachronisms of a 1960s comic hero in this modern age.
Bendis and Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada are listed as Executive Producers on the show, and their influence over the show is appreciated.
The cogs over at Marvel TV seem to be building toward a rival to the Timm-verse versions of the DC heroes.
Best friend Harry Osborn is the nice guy trust fund kid that of course has no idea that his dad is the Green Goblin. The Helicarrier is wrecked after an intense fight between the team, Goblin and a Venom possessed Harry. We’re looking forward to that new twist on one of Spidey’s most popular villians, Venom. Right now in the comics, veteran and former high school bully Flash Thompson wears the licorice symbiote suit under the watchful eye of the U.S. Government.
Season Two starts with two intense debut episodes. Loeb goes on record with John Siuntres at the WordBalloon podcast that there is an overall story arc to the show, but each episode stands on it’s own by design. Doctor Curt Connors, aka the Lizard appears in the first episode of Season Two, along-side a very creepy Doctor Octopus.
Curt has the same celluloid relationship with Peter as he does in the recent movie, as a mentor and friend.
When jacked up on Doc Ock’s serum, Dr. Connors he is the menacing Lizard ready to give old web-head a run for his money. Oh, and the best part of the entire show is the breaking of the fourth wall. For example we see Spidey trip out into an 8-bit video game sequence in the first show. Why? Because Peter Parker is spacing out.
Episode two stars the team versus a new and improved Electro, rumored to be played by Jamie Foxx in the next Mark Webb movie. In an age of social media and mobile gaming, the lesson to be learned by young Spider-Fans is that of managing the distractions in your life, electronic or otherwise.
Only by Peter identifying this problem and using the tools at hand to distract the energy cloud that is Electro v2.0 is he able to get the kids to team-up successfully and beat the baddie.
This is truly fun for all ages, we’ve got a great cartoon here. A really good cartoon for comic book fans but one that doesn’t rely on any previous Spider-Knowledge. The super-hero movies have have set a bar for special effects and dramatic storytelling. Tapping into the popularity of these characters, and with Marvel following up Avengers with Guardians of The Galaxy in 2014, it’s a good time to relax with some cartoons.
The realigning of Marvel 616 with movie and animated properties will strengthen the webs and give a whole new generation the opportunity to fantasize about crawling on walls and wonder what trouble that “Old Parker Luck” will get Spidey and his amazing friends in.
BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE! CHECK OUT LEAGUEPODCAST.COM — BOSTON’S COMIC BOOK AND POP CULTURE PODCAST — “Thinking about Comics since 2009″!
League of Ordinary Gentlemen #139 — Boob-erang!
Jaush, Clay and Dursin weave a web about Superior Spider-Man, Star Wars, Star Trek Into Darkness and our new favorite movie, Dredd? Direct Download / Mp3 Stream (opens in new window).