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SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN season 2: Episode 2 review

Episode 2: Destructive Testing

I’ve been on a little mini vacation from the site due to a very interesting rental of sorts, but now I’m back to what I do best… Piss off the interwebs with my style of reviews. Since I passed off future Wolverine and The X-Men reviews to Joe (I’m tired of hating on it, so I thought it was Joe’s turn) and I’m taking Spectacular Spider-Man for myself. Episode 2 of the second season is called “Destructive Testing” and features a old favorite of mine, Kraven. So while watching this episode I was really excited to see another classic villain from Spider-Man’s cabal of foes, which to be honest isn’t that great a list. Kraven was always really interesting to me because he was essentially a superior hunter that grew bored of chasing animals and wanted what he considered to be the ultimate prey, Spider-Man. He’s the main villain of my number one favorite story in a Spider-Man book, KRAVEN’S LAST HUNT. So you can imagine I was ready to love him animated like I have in every Spider-Man cartoon over the years. Well, I did and I didn’t.

Kraven Foiled

To catch a predator

Kraven shows up twice in this episode, the first time he’s just the usual Kraven. Overconfident and smug is the kinda Kraven I expect. It’s the kinda Kraven I got…at first. After Kraven is bested by Spider-Man he gives his scent to his Lion friend who then goes around the city looking for him. Kraven finally reaches The Conners lab and runs into a pretty jerk off of a scientist who is trying to co-opt Conner’s research(the same research that made him the Lizard) and use it. Well I think you know where we’re going here, Kraven decides that he wants the same treatment that he believes Spider-Man got from this guy and becomes a Thundercats reject. As soon as they made Kraven into a man cat I checked out. I’m getting the feeling that every normal human Spider-Man villain is gonna have to go through some experiment to make them more attractive for childrens’ action figures. The episode overall wasn’t too bad, but the Kraven thing ruined it for me.

WTF?

WTF?

CHARLES’ GRADE: C+

PROS: KRAVEN (IN THE BEGINNING)

CONS: KRAVEN (AT THE END)

"Don't you think it's a little weird to be hugging a kid from behind like that?"

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Charles’ Comic Pick of The Week: Comics for 1/21/09

PICK OF THE WEEK

Things are getting crazy for Hal Jordan and company. With the ramp up to Blackest Night this book has finally started to show some of it’s cards. This issue picks up right after the revelation that the Blue Lanterns want Hal to lead them in the coming war. I liked that Geoff Johns addresses the fact that on the surface Hal Jordan doesn’t seem to fit the Blue Lanterns mold. I’ve always thought of Hal as a just a brash military guy, but when I think about it he does have a ton of hope inside him. I went back and read the beginning of Johns run and you can see that when times get really tough, Hal always has hope and determination that he’ll get through the worst of it. At the end of the issue we get a small Blue/Red/Green/Yellow Lantern toss up. The scenes between Hal and Sinestro were perfect, in that I believe Johns has made the once kinda goofy Sinestro into one of the scariest villains in comics. The device Johns uses of having a bit of the future revealed to us never gets old to me, it just wets the appetite for more.

Pick of the Week Runner Up

I’m not sure how long I’m going to be able to read a book with Spider-Man’s worst villain running his own brand of Avengers but it’s very interesting. I’m really not a fan of Marvel Characters looking like actors, but I can excuse it in this book because at least the faces don’t randomly distort(Invincible Iron Man). The reason this got runner up is because this book actually made me feel something, even though it was mostly anger. I’m just excited to see “my” Avengers team the New Avengers kick these guys asses. Brilliantly evil idea to have villains dressed up in Avengers costumes. Even though it is essentially the same idea Busiek came up with for the original Thunderbolts (which I loved), it made me so upset that I knew this book was going to be either P.O.W or runner up.

Rest of the stack

I’m glad Deathstroke is gonna be doing big things in ’09 but this book kinda sucked. It was mostly just Deathstroke sitting in a bed and seeing all the loved ones he’d either killed or wronged. So far the Faces Of Evil one shots are 1 for 3.

Still can’t believe I’ve read almost all of a Ghost Rider storyline. It’s been consistently good writting and art wise. Man it’s starting to feel like the 90’s again, except actually good.

I liked how the Tim Drake I’ve been reading for most of my life is growing up. This seems to be a thing that only DC can do with younger characters. I’m looking for Franklin Richards to finally man up and stop being a little kid, it’s about time. Robin telling Gordon, “It may not have been the way he would have done it, but he’s not here” was great. Very sad next issue will be the last Robin issue.

This just grinded the interest I had in this recent JLA story to a halt. Energy vampires aren’t interesting or cool.

I thought I’d enjoy a story with Namor and White Queen, but not so much. I thought her convincing Namor that she killed Shaw so that Namor would finally help mutant kind, with him being the first mutant and all, interesting. Overall the jumps in time and setting where a little to jarring for my taste.

All this double and triple cross stuff is starting to bore me, but I am still reading it. Oh and was the “death” of Cyber supposed to mean something? I hope not that’s about the 3rd or so time he’s died, he’ll be back next year.

We’re finally gonna end this stupid spider tracer killer,menace, and norman-lily storylines…thank god. I’m sure I’m gonna enjoy this “big story” more than the last big one, mostly because we won’t be having any awful Anti-Venom stuff. Just ready to put these uninteresting dangling plot lines to bed. Now to get rid of that weird Freak guy.

I’m more interested in seeing why Superwoman is working with General Lane than who she really is. Mostly because whoever she is isn’t going to really matter at the end of the day because she’s a kandorian.

Charles’ Pick Of The Week: Comics for 1/14/09

PICK OF THE WEEK

New Krypton has been really good, so with the end of this arc I expected it to be good. Even with my expectations being high going in it didn’t disappoint. Would I change some things about New Krypton as a whole? Yes, but it’s been a great ride for these 10+ issues. The Superman creative teams have done something else, they’ve effectively changed Superman’s world in a way we haven’t seen before. The future looks bright for the Superman books in the coming future, here’s hoping they don’t screw it up once Geoff Johns leaves.

Pick of the week Runner-Up

I’ve really come to love this book. If Action Comics didn’t have that last page that made my mouth drop this would have been pick of the week. I admit that last issue I started to grow tired of this arc, but the ending to the big mystical story was really great. The scenes between the traitor Captain Midlands and Pete Wisdom were great and effective. I’m even looking forward to seeing where Blade’s story is going to go, considering I’ve never been a huge fan of the character. This book tends to remind me what’s great about Marvel characters.

Rest of the pile

I went into this issue thinking it was a write off issue with all the focus seemingly being on a 7 page back up story featuring Barack Obama, but aside from that awful story it was a really good issue. I can’t totally explain it but for some reason the main story featuring Betty Brant and Peter’s friendship hit me on a bunch of different levels. Reading this I couldn’t help but put myself in the Peter role and put (I hate to say it) Old best friend Vanessa into Betty’s role. While Vanessa and my friendship has kinda fizzled (my non effort to keep it going aside) and reading this and having went to her baby shower last night, it really got to me. If only my reasons for countlessly flaking on her and my other friend Shamara were because I had Super Powers and had a responsiblity, then I wouldn’t feel like such a ass. Maybe this issue will teach me to be the kind of  friend,  I somehow convinced myself and to a point them, I thought I was.

I loved Prometheus when Grant Morrison first created him. I still count the issues of JLA he appeared in as some of my favorite issues of all time. The idea that he could kick the JLA’s ass single handed was awesome, but then they kinda forgot about him. That is until this one shot. I loved how they retconned how he’s been showing up and getting beat up by nobody’s, although it was a tad bit unethical on the Martian Manhunters part. Plus only two years has passed since he showed up in DC continuity? Wow, those issues are about 8 years old in real life…a lot of crap has taken place for it only to been two years in continuity. The appearance of some old D-listers was great and to see Prometheus not break a sweat killing and paralyzing them was perfect (R.I.P-Anima, you kinda sucked).Really good, I’m excited to see him get his revenge.

Final Crisis has been a mixed bag of excitement and confusion on my part. I don’t know if it’s me but a lot of the time it feels like stuff is happening off the page, which is odd because for all intents and purposes this is a self contained story for the time being. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think this kind of story should have been told throughout all the books in DC. With the few mini series being really late (where the hell is Superman:3-D #2 and Legion of Three Worlds #3?) it creates a clusterpuck of a story. Now that being said I really enjoy that it’s a challenging and interesting read. Grant Morrison is known for ending strong, but I can’t possibly fathom this story really making any sense at the end. The best example of this event I can give is that it’s like watching a avant garde foreign film with the sound off and the subtitles turned off. It’s enjoyable on some level, but don’t expect it to make any sense.

Green Lantern Corps is a really good book and this was a fairly strong end to a good arc. Now I loved the idea that The Guardians seem to be alienating their Lanterns with this 3rd rule. I’m surprised that DC has decided to go the route of seemingly making the Green Lanterns not look to appealing. I really like the Green Lanterns not being shown as the only option for peace and order in the galaxy. This gives all the different colors (not so much the Red, Yellow, Orange, or Black Lanterns) a chance to be a better option. The stuff hinted at between Kyle Rayner and Sornik Natu was kinda out there, but I’m down to see where it goes.

Well, I can say that Chuck Dixon put in a lot of work to put in a ton of military jargon…but that’s about it. This issue had pretty much nothing of not in it what so ever. Hopefully next issue something interesting will happen.

Another issue down. I hate to bad mouth this mini because it’s a weekly book, but I can’t say anything overally positive about it either.

I usually like when Merlyn shows up because he’s hardcore, but it looks like his appearance was just to have a round about way to introduce some Green Arrow crazy stalker chick.

Charles’ “HULK VS.” Rapid Fire Review

So I watched both the ‘Hulk Vs.’ movies this morning and have to say I wasn’t too impressed by either. While the Wolverine is the better of the two it’s still pretty average. I hate to say it again, but Marvel’s animated movies have either sucked or been average for years. Out of all the movies they’ve made I’ve only really liked one. So How would I fair going into this one hoping to finally get one I could rave about?

the curse of the random elongating Wolverine mask strikes again

the curse of the random elongating Wolverine mask strikes again

With the Wolverine movie I kept wondering why characters were acting in odd ways. By that I mean, Sabertooth and the rest of Weapon X know they can’t kill Wolverine for good but they keep using it as a threat. I mean they know this guys just survived fighting the Hulk and they still put on some kind of nonsensical bravado about their prowess. The movie was bloodier than I expected, but not insanely so. I found it hard to be anything other than a detached audience during most of the movie, because I forgot how many of Wolverine’s main bad guys have healing factors. I thought to myself, if one more person gets a limb chopped off and just puts it back on like nothing happened I’m going to scream. Also the odd sounds Lady Deathstrike made when she first stabs Wolverine were really creepy, it was as if she was getting off on it. Deadpool was the best part of the movie, but with him being known as “The Merc with a mouth” he didn’t talk nearly as much as I’m used to. Omega Red could have just not been in the movie for the amount of time he was off screen during fights. Just overall it was a “Meh” for me. I know the next time I see Joe he’s going to say I’m over critical but I just wanted a good fight Wolverine vs. The Hulk, but it wasn’t even remotely exciting. The fight between The Hulk and Wolvie in ‘Wolverine and The X-Men’ was better, and that one wasn’t very good. I love my Wolverine as a bad ass killing machine, but adding blood doesn’t make a good or even entertaining Wolverine story.

To even go into the Thor movie is painful, because it’s so bad. Now the odd thing is, I didn’t mind the “Thor Speak”. Considering they kept the “Ye’s” and “Thou’s” to a minimum. I’ve read quite a few Thor vs. Hulk stories and I’ve never seen him get the crap kicked out of him like that. I “loved” how Thor literally only gets in about three licks in during the first part of the fight and during the second fight he doesn’t even get a hand on The Hulk. Wow. Overall this DVD was a disappointment on every scale for me. I’d rather watch Ultimate Avengers 2, Invincible Iron Man, Next Avengers, or Dr. Strange and all those movies sucked.

Charles’ Rapid Fire Grade: D-(Hulk vs. Thor) and C-(Hulk vs. Wolverine)

Pros:  The dialogue matched the mouth movement, The movies were fully colored, they had music

Cons: The movies

Wolverine uses his claws and Thor is a punching bag!

You guessed it, I am refering to the soon to be released Hulk Vs. Dvd featuring everyones favorite Canucklehead (Yea Charles I used it), and the Thunder God.  After just watching both features I felt I needed to get in there before Charles and give my perspective.  So Lets get to it.

Hulk Vs Wolverine

The DVD starts out already hot and heavy into the action which is always a great way to start off an animated feature.  The fighting is bloody and brutal which surprised me at first, but not so much as what surprised me as when the fight went to round 2.  Get this… WOLVERINE FINALLY USES HIS CLAWS!!! No posing with his claws to try an show how tough he is, no using his claws on doors, walls, gates, etc.  Nope, he actually uses his claws to carve into just about everyone he fights in this.  Apparently, Marvel finally got the memo and lets Wolverine really slice and dice the way we all had wanted him to.  Now I’m not stupid, I know the rating on the shows and the rating on this DVD are way different and for that purpose alone they couldn’t have Wolverine being a butcher, but still its nice to see.

The 37 minute feature goes on to have a plot surprisingly, I originally thought it was just gonna be a slugfest.  It involves alot of characters I never would have thought, including Professor Cornelius, Sabertooth, Deadpool(who is actually pretty funny), Omega Red, and even Lady Death Strike, as Logan-less Weapon X Team.  Other characters are hinted but not revealed which is a pretty interesting way for Marvel to kind of bridge together them an Wolvie.

The DvD menu’s have nicely animated backgrounds, containing alot of character art and clips from the feature but thats really as glamorous as this dvd gets.  Special features aren’t really anywhere to be found.  No Hulk/Wolvie documentary, no art concepts, nothing of that nature.  Just typical commentary and a trailer/sneak peak at the new Wolverine and the X-Men series which if you ask me and Charles could have been left out.

See these? Im gonna cut you with em.

"See these? I'm gonna cut you with em."

Hulk Vs Thor

Hulk vs Thor.. Well.. If your thinking that that title alone will inspire a jaw dropping, bone breaking, earth shattering, clash of the titans like battle… you are way off.  Through means I wont divulge, Hulk finds his way into Asgard as a pawn in Loki’s scheme to destroy the Thunder God and quite frankly, almost does.  Thor proves that when matched up to the Hulk, punching bag is as good a rating as he’s ever gonna get.  Considering that Thor is Marvel’s answer to DC’s Superman this was extremely disappointing.  Blondy gets in a couple of nice shots, but Hulk really wipes the floor with him.  Oh and if you have a hatred for “Thor-speak” as our leader here at Tippingthescales.com does, thats gonna be another irritance.  Considering they are in Asgard, thats the only way they talk.

The story continues through out Asgard and to hell and back (literally) as Loki and Thor team up to save the soul of Bruce Banner from Hella, Mistress of Hell.  This part gets a little tense as we see things as Bruce would have liked them to be instead of as they are.  That part touched me and I felt alot of sympathy for the character.  The writers did a great job in that aspect, showing Hulk/Bruce banner as a brooding, conflicted, and sympathetic Hero.  That was probably the best thing about this feature because the fighting certainly was not.

Again there is no bonus content to speak of on this feature either, aside from the well animated menu background and commentary.  The feature is 45 minutes and probably so because of the extremely long intro credits scene.

Yea.. Pretty much how the whole fight is.

Yea.. Pretty much how the whole fight is.

All in all aside from missing bonus content, this really was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Sure the Thor fight was really lame but it wasn’t all bad.  If you ask me this was Marvel’s answer to DC’s awesome Superman:Doomsday feature, and they did one hell of a job.

DVD cover.

DVD cover.

PRO: Wolverine uses his claws, Hulk is a sad man, Deadpool was funny.

CONS: Thor got his @$$ whooped, No bonus content.

SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN season2 “BLUEPRINT”

While I can’t say I was thrilled with all the decisions at Marvel in 2008 I can say that there was one thing Marvel put out that had me feeling like the good old days. That thing was Spectacular Spider-Man. It was a show that did it’s own thing and kept the spirit of the comics in mind. Now it wasn’t all good times, everytime Green Goblin and Tombstone showed up I hated it, but it was more good than bad. I even got Joe to actually listen to me and he started watching it, no small feat indeed because Joe never listens (I’ll be looking forward to your texts during the new Smallville episode this Thursday…lol). So at the end of the 1st season Spectacular Spider-Man kinda blew it’s “load”. They had Venom show up for a two episode arc that left Peter feeling drained and gal pal Gwen Stacy confessing her love.  The 2nd season opener takes place right after that. Schools back in from Thanksgiving break and Peter and Gwen still haven’t talked about the kiss. Well Peter hasn’t talked to Gwen, but Gwen dishes to Mary Jane. All that soap opera stuff aside, we have to have a villain show up.

So Mysterio blasts onto the scene, pretending to be a sorcerer who can make people pass out and other such feats. I really like Mysterio, he’s always been a semi favorite of mine. Seeing him animated is always good but there’s some problems. As a fan I know all about Mysterio so the drawn out mystic stuff got annoyning after awhile, something about the constant magic speak grated on my nerves a bit. Also Mysterio is a odd villain in that once you know he’s faking he’s not so threathening anymore, he’s kind of a really annoyning clown. That being said it was still good to see Spidey and him duke it out. Except the part when Spidey thought he was in a kung fu movie, that I coulda done without.

The end showed how much this show “gets” Peter Parkers life. Just when he’s excited about getting a freelance contract with the Daily Bugle, Norman Osborn calls and tells him that he’s back on at Conners lab. The way they pile on the stress to Peter is classic Spider-Man. I have to say I don’t know if I’m going to be able to be cool about the constant need to have them introduce a new big bad over the phone to an accomplice. But as long as it’s a better reveal than the bait and switch they had with Tombstone being the “BIG MAN” then I’m fine. Oh and the appearance of The Tinkerer was great, being that he was one of the first villains Spidey faced (back in the 2nd issue of Amazing Spidey all those years ago) and him being linked with Mysterio, also like in the comics. Good classic Spider-Man, keep it coming.

CHARLES’ GRADE: B

Stan The Man Lee...Nuff Said

Stan "The Man" Lee...Nuff Said

This show really knows its history. The Tinkerer and Mysterio teamed up again

This show really knows it's history. The Tinkerer and Mysterio teamed up again

BATMAN:THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD “ENTER THE OUTSIDERS”

Episode 6 starts out with a quick team up with B’wana Beast and Bats fighting Black Manta. I don’t really know B’Wana, I’m more familiar with his replacement, Freedom Beast. So watching this I had no idea whether it was true to the character or not, I know his design but know nothing of his overall attitude. I kinda questioned having them fight Black Manta, but since I don’t know any B’Wana Beast villains I got over it. B’wana is a very strange character with a very strange power, he can take any two animals and put them together to create a new one.

METAMORPHO, BLACK LIGHTNING, KITANNA

Left to right: METAMORPHO, BLACK LIGHTNING, KITANNA

With the opening team up done we get to see Batman boxing with his old trainer WildCat. Now Wildcat is a old school favorite of mine and I can’t get enough of him. Seeing him in this was kinda weird because his “cat” suit made him look more like a dog in the face. Batman and Wildcat have some quality time until Batman gets a tip that The Outsiders are destroying a mall, so Wildcat and Bats rush off to bash some heads. Now I’ve read a lot of Outsider comics so this is once again a double headed episode for me. I have to admit I wasn’t really feeling The Outsiders being villains(I’ve only ever known them as heroes), but I understood what they were doing and where it was going to end up. I liked that Metamorpho gave them the most trouble during the fights, because truth be told Metamorpho should have no trouble taking out two guys who don’t have powers. I really liked the design they went with for Kitana, because there’s something unnerving about a little asian girl, who doesn’t speak and can slice through just about anything. Overall this episode was pretty run of the mill, you have a group of young villains who are being manipulated by someone and they find it out at the end and they help save the day.

CHARLES’ GRADE: B

PROS: THE OUTSIDERS, WILDCAT

CONS: THE PAINT BY NUMBERS STORY

BWanna Beast

B'Wanna Beast

I look like a dog, not a cat

I look like a dog, not a cat (except the eyes)