I mentioned it a few months ago, but there’s yet another Spider-Man cartoon hitting the airwaves. Despite the fact that the previous incarnation of a Spider-Man cartoon was just shy of perfect it got cancelled – perpetuating the myth (or curse) or Spider-Man shows never making it past two seasons. In fact, the original Spider-Man cartoon managed to pull off three seasons and every other attempt at a series since then has never pulled off more than two, except for the awesome early 90s cartoon which had a mostly excellent five seasons.
Spectacular Spider-Man, the previous incarnation, was good. It had good writing, good animation, and reimagined some of the characters in ways that were different enough from the comics to be fresh, while still keeping certain universal elements from the various characters. The fact that it was so good is kind of the problem with regards to the newest shot at the board, Ultimate Spider-Man.
Ultimate Spider-Man, despite the name, only has some passing similarities with the comic line. The biggest similarity is more of a thematic thing. The Ultimate Marvel line of comics is more intertwined with the other characters of that universe, and this new show is the same. Instead of it being all about Spider-Man it’s about Spider-Man teaming up with a group of other heroes from the Marvel universe to become a superhero team, similar to the Avengers.
It’s also wildly different in presentation. This is a show that is far more tongue-in-cheek than others; instead of a normal half hour story driven superhero show its home to plenty of cutaway humor and freeze framed narration. In short, it’s good. It’s surprisingly good, given how out there the synopsis sounded a few months ago. But it isn’t awesome, or more specifically, it isn’t Spectacular.
The types of people who are going to have an opinion on this show are the types of people who are super, super pissed off that this is what took their precious away from them. Their show had a Peter Parker voiced by the legendary Josh Keaton. This show has a Peter Parker voiced by Drake Bell, one of the multitudes of stars to rise out of the tween actor phenomenon. Their show didn’t actively ignore Gwen Stacy and, in fact, had her as a prominent character. This show has Mary Jane Watson again. Their show was better, dammit, and this is the thing that replaced it.
But it’s good. It’s only three episodes in, but it absolutely worth your time. Hell, it has Agent Coulson in it. How couldn’t it be worth your time?