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RERUN REVIEWS: Spider-Man: The New Animated Series 1×10 “Spider-Man Dis-Sabled”, 1×11 “When Sparks Fly”

Okay, nearly done. Last four episodes. Now, seeing as the last two episodes are a two-parter, I’ve decided to give them their own article, as a lot happens and there’s too much to talk about. What’s that? You’d rather just include them in this article and get it over with? TOUGH! I’m stretching this thing out for as long as possible! Maybe if there had BEEN MORE EPISODES I wouldn’t feel the need to do so. That being said, let’s get on with it.

 

“Spider-Man Dis-Sabled”

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This is an intriguing episode. It’s kind of got this whole espionage, assassination thing going on. Which I rather like to be honest. It’s a different story to what we’ve seen before but it still fits within the boundaries of the show. But what’s the story?

Spider-Man foils the assassination of the Mayor of New York by freelance mercenary Silver Sable (voiced by Virgina Madsen). But that’s not all. Beforehand, he accidentally got some footage of her as Peter Parker. And she knows it! Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun. Too many u’s? Ah, I don’t care. Point is, she’s out to get the footage back… at any cost. And any cost includes kidnapping Mary Jane, Harry and Indy.

Before I go any further, let me talk about the bad stuff first. There’s one medium thing I didn’t like about this episode and a bunch of smaller nitpicks orbiting around it. Basically there’s this love triangle being set up between Peter, Mary Jane and Indy, and whilst I don’t mind that exactly it ends up with Mary Jane and Indy essentially being at each others throats. Which is stupid. Even more so when you consider the fact that at the beginning of the episode they are shown to be getting along. Mary Jane makes a genuine effort to get to know her but as soon as they are kidnapped they simply turn on each other. It doesn’t ruin the episode, it’s just a little annoying.

As for the nitpicks… I’m juts going to rattle them off one by one and let you decide for yourselves whether they’re stupid or not:

1. While stealthily invading Peter and Harry’s apartment looking for the footage, Silver Sable tells one of her mercenaries to “douse the light”. Rather than flicking a switch, he shoots the light with a shotgun. And she has no problem with this.

2. After the criminals leave the apartment, Peter (who has hidden the whole time) takes a good couple of minutes to stare at an interesting bullet they left behind, when a few seconds would have been enough.

3. While chasing them later, Spider-Man is electrocuted which somehow shreds his costume.

4. Peter leaves an anonymous tip for the police telling them about another assassination attempt. Which they act upon despite no evidence supporting his tip.

And finally, 5. Peter, for some reason, has photo enhancing software that would be impossible by today’s standards, never mind 2003’s. CSI, eat your heart out.

Okay, enough with the bad stuff, what’s good about this episode? Well, the subplot of the week was Peter and Indy starting to date, which I kinda like, even if it did lead to the whole Mary Jane and Indy fighting thing. Plus I like how the main plot and the sub plot were interwoven together. Peter, Indy, Harry and Mary Jane all get involved in uncovering the conspiracy, making it much more believable when they are all present in the final conflict. Not to mention that I like the whole assassination theme as a main plot.

It’s an okay episode that, if you can get over the minor nitpicks, you’ll probably enjoy.

 

“When Sparks Fly”

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I used to love this episode. Okay, I still do. But nowadays it just reminds me of how much better this version of Electro was compared to the Amazing Spider-Man 2 version!  Anyway, we’re not here to compare this episode to… lesser forms of art. We’re here to glorify a superb story. Speaking of which, what exactly happens in this episode?

Sally, a friend of Mary Jane’s, is being stalker by an incorporeal Max Dillion, whom she had a brief but somewhat intimate moment with before he was turned into Electro. Since his defeat by Spider-Man, Max has become obsessed with Sally and has become determined to recreate the accident that made him what he is and make Sally like him.

There… is nothing wrong with this episode. It’s just as tragic as “The Party” and manages to maintain the audience’s sympathy for Max, despite all the horrible things he does. We’re shown that he does the things he does because he’s lonely, and that all he wants is for someone to understand and love him. But that doesn’t stop him from being CREEPY AS HELL! In a good way, that is. There’s some genuinely tense moments as Max stalks Sally and tries to explain himself. We can see he’s gone off the deep end but there’s just enough humanity, grief and rage in him to make him scary. It’s like seeing a twisted version of a person you once knew. Quietly terrifying.

Again, I really want to reveal as few main plot details as I can get away with, so let me talk a little bit about Harry for a sec. Throughout the season, Harry has made his feelings about Spider-Man perfectly clear. He believes he killed his father and hates him for it. But seeing Spider-Man help people (including himself) throughout the previous episodes must have left an impact on him as, by the end of the episode, he admits to Peter that he doesn’t know what to think about him any more. I know, this seems like an odd thing to bring up, but I really like it. It shows that these characters have developed over time. It’s an important thing, that’s sadly overlooked in many other shows. But not here.

I could talk about this episode more, but I’d just be giving stuff away. Go see it for yourself. Take my word for it, it’s a fantastic episode. Dark, chilling and, of course, tragic.

 

Only two more to go! Damn it. I never want this to end! But sadly it must. Before then, let us know in the comments what you thought of these episodes. Next time… the darkest moment of Spider-Man’s life.

About the author

Scott Meridew