Friday, March 16, 2012

Spider-man: The Animated Series, Top 10, Pt.1

     There were many superhero cartoons in the 90’s that are considered some of the best-animated series ever created. Shows like the X-Men and the Ironman Animated Series revolutionized superhero cartoons in the Marvel Universe, but one show was the face of the Marvel franchise and that show was Spiderman: The Animated Series. It featured many guest heroes and villains from across the Marvel Universe, along with storylines from famous Spiderman comics. The show had spectacular animation and season long story arcs, which made it more enjoyable to watch, with most episodes ending on some sort of cliffhanger. The series lasted 65 episodes spanning over 5 seasons and within those 5 seasons we watched Peter Parker learn hard lessons and mature into the superhero he would need to become in order to takedown the world’s deadliest villains. Out of 65 episodes I have chosen my Top 10 based on the characters, plot and the best action scenes of each episode, so enjoy.

10. The Mutant Agenda
     The first “team-up” of the series came relatively close to the beginning of the second season when Spiderman has his first encounter with the Uncanny X-Men. After Spiderman’s neogenic mutation worsens, he goes to Charles Xavier in hopes to find a cure for his disease, but when Xavier refuses to help him, it causes a feud. I loved the entire second season and how its story arc was based around the growth of Spiderman’s mutation disease, which was expanded upon in this episode. Eventually, Spiderman is forced to work along side the X-Men to rescue Beat who has been captured by the Hobgoblin and scientists who want to exterminate the mutant race. With the X-Men as guest stars, the villainous plan of the Hobgoblin and the progression of Spidey’s deadly mutation, this episode has earned its place in the Top 10.

Favorite Moment: Spiderman and Wolverine come face to face in a dark alley, but after a few punches here and there, the Hobgoblin interrupts their fight and forces the two to consider forming a temporary alliance to stop him.

9. The Final Nightmare
     The “Man-Spider” mutation has ended, for now, but Spiderman has a new set of problems with the emergence of the Vulture. The Vulture has always been one of Spiderman’s greatest and most famous foes with the ability to fly and the advanced weapons built into his wings, but I do feel that this series didn’t use him as much as they could have, seeing as he was only in about three episodes. This time around, the Vulture uses the Tablet Of Time to steal people’s age and essentially make temporarily young. Peter is forced to adapt to being a 60 year-old man with the powers of a spider when the Vulture uses the Tablet against him, but with the help of his old friend Curt Connors, Peter is returned to his proper age and was completely cured of his mutation disease. The Vulture did return to exact his revenge on Spidey, but that’s not for a couple seasons.

Favorite Moment: A very old Peter Parker runs into his Aunt May on the street and she doesn’t even recognize him. He helps her with her groceries and she says that he’s a “nice man” and that he “reminds him of her nephew”. And to think Peter had problems before.

8. Enter The Green Goblin
     With Superman, comes Lex Luthor. With Batman, comes the Joker. And with Spiderman, comes the Green Goblin. There is no one Spiderman dislikes in his rogue gallery more then him. He has tormented his life, even killed his girlfriend in the comics and he makes his very first appearance of the series in this episode. The Animated Series did things a little differently then the comics. They introduced the Hobgoblin as the first “goblin” villain and in this episode, the muscle enhancing gas that Norman Osborn created effects Osborn’s mind, turning him into the Green Goblin. One bizarre part of this episode that I may never understand is that the gas ends up reaching the Hobgoblins suit, hanging up in the next room, and it somehow transforms it into the Green Goblin’s costume. But whatever, less work for Osborn. This episode released further information about the Osborn family and their connection to the Kingpin and his criminal objectives and we saw the introduction of the Green Goblin. Throughout the episode they had hinted that Harry Osborn would be the Goblin, but I’m glad that they stuck with the character’s original origin, which worked better for the episode and eventually for future of the series.

Favorite Moment: A Goblin-like figure breaks into the Daily Bugle building and kidnaps Jameson on his glider. Spiderman hops aboard the hovering machine only to discover that it wasn’t the Hobgoblin, but (soon to be arch nemesis) the Green Goblin.

7. Goblin War
     The race for the Time Dilation Accelerator is on (I’ll explain). The “TDE” is a machine that creates a type of black hole, which can be used to travel from one location to another or even to enter other dimensions. Anyway, Spiderman, The Kingpin and Hobgoblin all want the machine for personal reasons; Spiderman to destroy it, and the criminals want to use it for crime, obviously. Just when things couldn’t get more complicated for Spidey, the Green Goblin enters the madness and after a stellar showdown with the Hobgoblin, he takes possession of the machine. When they introduced the Hobgoblin into the series, I wondered whether there would even be a Green Goblin at all, but once they introduced Norman Osborn as the second Goblin in the last episode I talked about, there was nothing I wanted to see more then a fight between the two Goblins and sure enough, this episode delivered and we finally got to see who the “true” goblin was.

Favorite Moment: The Hobgoblin has taken control of the Kingpin’s tower, claiming himself to be the new “Kingpin Of Crime”, but the Green Goblin bursts into the building to challenge what he believes is the “goblin imposter”. The two villains battle each other aboard their own gliders, creating a sensational fight scene.

6. The Wedding
     When Mary Jane Watson fell of a bridge and into one of the machine’s portals, Peter had thought he had lost her forever, but months later, she returned and not too long after that, they decided to get married. Peter and MJ’s wedding was surely a day they would never forget, but not because of the wedding itself, but because of who crashed it. Alistair Smythe, The Scorpion and The Green Goblin all invaded Peter’s wedding. Luckily the Black Cat arrived to help Spiderman defeat the large group of villains. This episode was loosely based on the Annual Spiderman comic, which was also about their wedding. Mary Jane also knows about Peter’s Spidey secret, which comes in handy when she has to cover for one of his “disappearing acts”. Overall, it was a great episode, almost entirely filled with fight scenes and an enormous number of guest heroes and villains, and it is the only episode of the last season that isn’t tied into a long story arc, but it was a great way to start the final season.

Favorite Moment: It seems that no one wants Peter and MJ to get married when a large number of villains crash their wedding, forcing Peter to change into Spiderman and work together with the Black Cat to defeat Smythe, the Scorpion and the Green Goblin.

     These were just 10-6 of the Top 10 episodes from Spiderman: The Animated Series. In the near future I will reveal my Top 5 episodes of the entire series, which are full of Goblins, Clones, Carnages and more, so you wont want to miss it.

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