Spider-Man the animated series, is for many children throughout the world is the first animated series which introduced them to the wall crawler, even if they watched it in 2000’s.
Spider-Man is voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes in this series, but this wasn’t the only work related to Spider-Man he did over the years.
The show originally aired on the Fox Kids Network, and ran for five seasons, with 65 episodes all together. It remained the longest running Spider-Man animated series for a decade and a half, until The Ultimate Spider-Man surpassed it.
Buckle up people, this is a trip down memory lane.
Back around 2007, I spent a lot of my time at my maternal grandparent’s house. There, I saw many cartoons, got introduced to Power Rangers for the first time, and then this new show. Back at that time, Spider-Man was a new thing for me. I didn’t know much about the super heroes much, but what I saw, I definitely liked. This was something which I did not experience with any other show at that time.
Unfortunately, the people who do manage the power supply got in the way, (like they always do.) The kids who grew up in the 2010’s, they just don’t know how much things have improved when it comes to power supply. Back in the 2000’s, every town, village, city, has its scheduled power cut, (as well as smaller, unpredictable power cuts in the before and after the scheduled time.) you have to do everything before that time, wash the clothes, do all the housework, and of course, hope that most of your favorite shows did not fall in that time.
I, however, was not lucky enough with this show regarding the last one. The opening music will hit. I’ll see the first few scenes of the episode, and bam! The power will be gone for the next two hours.
Is it worth it to rant about in a blog post after so many years? You might wonder.
To which I answer, yes, yes it is. I hold grudges, and never forget them. (After all, what’s the point of living if you can’t be a vindictive bastard?)
Also, this show actually was the first introduction to the Marvel and its characters for me. You see, comics are hard to get here in India, and I’m not even talking about the international ones. Even native comics are hard to get here.
So, while marvel and DC have had their fans ever since the late thirties and early forties, nothing like that was experienced by the children here. (I whole-heartedly blame the older generation for this.)
This show filled that gap.
My watching experiences:
I am assuming that if you are reading this article, you know the origin story of Spider-Man at least. So, I will be skipping that. Instead, let’s take a look at the first season.
In the first season, we get introduced to all the villains who will be making appearances throughout the show. From Kingpin, who is the villain I would like to see more of in the future, to Venom. To me, the highlight of the season was the Venom arc, as the symbiote provided the challenge to Spider-Man which he hasn’t faced yet.
The thing with Hobgoblin was amusing, though I heard that people writing the show didn’t like him at all.
Season two starts with a bang, as Kingpin is struggling to maintain his hold over New York City, with another crime boss, called Silver Mane trying to overthrow him. To consolidate his power, Kingpin forms the sinister six.
Meanwhile, Peter is suffering from the random loss of his power, but despite that, he manages to take out the sinister six with the display of cunning rarely showed by the super heroes. In the end, they were fighting among themselves.
Later, we find out that his loss of powers is because he is mutating. During this, we get a crossover with X-men. The mutating Spider-Man ark concludes, when Peter mutates to man-spider, which I have been assured that it looks just as horrifying, as the sounds of Peter’s screams imply.
Spider-Man gets a temporary solution, until Vulture drains his youth, along with his DNA. In a fight with Scorpion and Vulture, that DNA is transferred to the Vulture.
Note: I did not mention Morbius in any of this, because I hate that bastard.
The third season has a lot of super-natural elements, but since Doctor Strange is involved, that is to be expected.
The Green Goblin makes his debut during this season, and my god he has such a squeaky voice. How the hell am I supposed to take him seriously? At the end of the season, both goblins fight with each other, and Green Goblin sends Marry Jane to some other dimension. This event is significant, because after that happened, Peter was so furious, it has to be seen to be believed.
I suppose that it wasn’t just the symbiote who was manipulating his emotions. Peter does have the innate potential to hate, and display anger.
Also in this season, his personal life takes a tern for the worse, so many times he tried to quit as Spider-Man. This went on for the entire season. By the end of it, I was kind of fed up with it.
Venom returns, and he has an offspring by the name of Carnage. Over all, I’ll call this season to be the most depressing of this series.
At least Hobgoblin won’t be making anymore appearances, (or I hope,) because I might have liked his attitude, and his dialogs, but he overstayed his welcome. And I was fed up with him by the end of his run too.
The depression continues in season four, as Peter tries to adjust to his life after losing Mary Jane, and honestly, there should be a psychology clinic for super heroes. I would definitely have opened it, and would have charged through the nose for the likes of Iron Man. (They can afford it.)
Ahem! Getting back to the point, the depression gets cured, after Harry turns into the Green Goblin, and Marry Jane returns… somehow. No clear explanation was ever given as to how she found her way back from that strange dimension.
But the season ends on a happy end, as Peter and MJ are about to get married.
Season five begins with the marriage, which of course, gets crashed by the new green goblin Harry. Thankfully, the madness subsides, and the union concludes happily. (And I died a little inside after typing that.)
At least I got to laugh as Jameson and Kingpin plotted the wedding of Peter. That chuckle gave me some of my life back.
We also get some information regarding Peter’s parents, and Spider-Man gets to go outside of New York, and strait to Russia. There, explosions, and secrets galore follow, during which we get to see the strength of Kingpin displayed once more, as he breaks out of the chains binding him.
We get to see a crossover with Captain America, which, to be honest, I didn’t like much. Peter spends much of the time praising the older heroes. Honestly, this is the problem with legends. When they show up, they take over your show, and you just end up as nothing more than a fawner.
Contrast this with the crossover of Iron Man earlier with that whole genetic fiasco. I feel that one was done much better, because Iron Man didn’t steal the limelight from Spidey, and the same thing applies to the X-Men, and Daredevil.
In the middle of the season, we learn that the Mary Jane with whom Peter is married, is actually a clone of the original, and that the original is still trapped in the same dimension as the Green Goblin. This understandably takes its toll on Peter.
In the season finale, Peter goes against the alternate version of himself, who is fused with the carnage symbiote. He also teams up with different versions of Spider-Man across reality, so I suppose this series was the first one to use this idea. The alternate versions of Kingpin also make appearances, but for some reason, they seem rather easily fooled compared to the main story counterpart, or at least I think that way.
Despite the show taking liberties with the original stories, despite the meddling of the executives, despite the complaints about the animation quality, I recommend this series.
Really, given my personal history, what were you expecting?
My bias aside, this was the first ever show which made me experience some emotions on the character’s behalf as a child. Also, this offers how the marvel shows were used to be in the 90’s. So for all those historic reasons as well, I believe that you should give it a chance, since it is available on the Disney+. Which brings to my following rant:
Why the Hindi dub is not there is beyond me. I mean, you expect to run a streaming service in India, and not offer the content in the native languages? And you just expect people to subscribe to your service? This is even more maddening, since the dub was of an excellent quality, since all the script writers probably weren’t college interns, who mixed up and mangled every dialog with English, making them laughably bad to hear.
Speaking of dubs, the Russian dub is considered to be quite good, especially since they don’t shy away from words like “Kill” or “Death.” That must sting some older Americans.
With that rant over, go watch this series, the voice acting is great. I don’t think that the voice of Dan will be leaving my head as the Spider-Man any time soon.
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