Reviewed by: Michael Hickerson (Slice of SciFi Editor)
What: The Spectacular Spider-Man Season Two
When: Mondays at 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Disney XD
Slice of SciFi Rating: 5 out of 5
The Best Animated Super-Hero Show Since “Batman: The Animated Series” Returns For A Second Season
On our last voice-mail show, a caller asked the Slice of SciFi crew what shows they were tuning into this summer. And while a couple of the series I’m most looking forward to returning won’t hit our screens until July, there is one series that recently returned to the American airwaves for its second season. I’m referring to the long-awaited second season of “The Spectacular Spider-Man.”
You could be forgiven for forgetting the show was coming back, if the episodes weren’t so darn good. The series debuted last spring on the Kids WB! before the cartoon network went belly up. Now the show has waited in limbo for over a year, finally making its debut last week on Disney XD. American fans were forced to wait while the series aired in other parts of the world, including with our neighbors to the north in Canada.
And it may have been a long wait for new episodes, but it was worth it.
The series began its first season in the fall of Peter Parker’s junior year. He was still coming into his newly acquired powers and responsibilities as Spider-Man as well as juggling the social life that drove many of my favorite early issues of “Amazing Spider-Man.” Season one ended with a bit of a love triangle with Peter and Gwen Stacey kissing for the first time and Spidey defeating Venom.
Season two picks up right where season one left off, in the winter time and close the winter holidays. Peter is still dealing with the implications of kissing Gwen and wondering how to talk to her about it. And, of course, the rogue gallery of villains won’t make it easy for Peter to balance his newly budding social life (including interest by former Flash Thompson girlfriend, Liz Allen) with having to keep New York safe.
As with season one, the stories are broken down into three episode arcs that while viewers don’t necessarily have to see them all to enjoy the story, there are rewards for following the story long term. Knowing my Spider-Man history, I can see where the producers may be going with some of the long-term story arcs this year and yet I’m still intrigued to see how they’ll put their own spin on things. The series walks a fine line between paying homage to the classic stories by Stan Lee and Steve Dikito while offering their own spin on things. It’s a bit like “Ultimate Spider-Man” does in the comics.
The first three episodes, featuring Mysterio, Kraven the Hunter and then a new version of the Sinister Six have been a lot of fun and thrilled this Spidey enthusiast to his core. While I have fond memories of “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends” from growing up and a soft spot for the 60s animated version of Spider-Man, this is the series that finally gets all the elements that made the comic book so special absolutely right. The stories are great and the series is a visually stunning as ever. It’s amazing to watch Spidey swing, jump and battle the various villains here–the animation style here is miles beyond what we saw in the 90’s with the Fox cartoon version.
The only problem is that with Disney XD not being part of many basic cable packages, a lot of fans are going to miss out on seeing the show. And that may keep the series from getting a third season–which based on hints as to who some of the villains might be by producers, I desparately want to see. If you’ve got the cable station, put this one on your summer “to watch” list. It’s a lot of fun and one of the best superhero animated series since “Batman: The Animated Series.”