Monday, September 30, 2013

Rein-Toon-Ation: Spectacular Spider-Man (2008)

Five years after MTV's ill-fated series, Spider-Man returned to broadcast television, but it would only be for a short time.

Spectacular Spider-Man bowed on the CW in 2008, and was the 2nd and last Spider-Man series produced by Sony's animation division, Adelaide, which co-produced the 2003 series with Canada's Mainframe studio. This time around, the characters were drawn in a pseudo-manga style favored by co-executive producer Craig Kyle, a writer at Marvel Comics at the time. In comparison to the webhead's other series, the designs were wrong, in an attempt to emulate the style used by WB on their DC Comics adaptations.

Josh Keaton took over the dual role of Spider-Man and his alter-ego, Peter Parker, who is back at college in this series, which brings up another interesting puzzle. In the previous series, Parker and friends were in high school, so it's safe to assume that this would be a natural progression. However, for villains like Electro, the character designs had been amended yet again. At least Electro was an adult this time. Well, at least I think so, since I didn't see him appear on the show. An interesting casting quirk found Edward Asner, who voiced J. Jonah Jameson in the acclaimed 1994-9 series for Fox, cast this time as Peter's Uncle Ben. I'd say Asner would've been better served continuing as Jameson, but at present, J. K. Simmons, who essayed the role in the Sam Raimi trilogy of feature films, is doing just fine, thanks. Simmons, however, wasn't Jameson here. Daran Norris had that role, as well as that of Jonah's astronaut-son, John, who'd eventually become the Man-Wolf.

After 1 season, Spectacular moved to DisneyXD, following Disney's acquisition of Marvel, and the series finished its run on DXD. Ironically, the series is back on CW today, as part of Saban's Vortexx package. Spectacular returned to CW in August, serving as a lead-in to Justice League Unlimited.

Many have compared this series favorably to its successor, the current abomination known as Ultimate Spider-Man. Not much need be said. Meanwhile, scope out the open to Spectacular, with a cheesy theme song, to boot:

Rating: B-.

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