Saturday, August 01, 2009

Cartoon Reviews 8/1/09

So here’s how it’s going, I’ll handle Wolverine and the X-men, Kevin is handling Spectacular Spider-man (that is until I find out where he lives so every Monday night I can knock him out to review it for him) and we’ll switch off on Batman the Brave and the Bold (though I’ll still try and get in a Spectacular episode review even if it kills me)


Spectacular Spider-man Episode 20: Identity Crisis


Now with that out of the way it’s exciting to see the second half of this epic 2 part storyline featuring the return of my favorite villain, Venom. And wow was he great here, no side-character crap for him this week.


Though since I enjoyed this episode so much let’s just get the bad over with so we can move onto the good right away.


This issue had one too many moments to juggle, and by the time I was sure the episode was over we got another scene that honestly felt like it should have taken place at the beginning of the episode instead. Still it was nice that we get a strong hint that Captain Stacey knows Peter is Spider-man.


I also don’t really care about Flash’ poor attempts to win the affection of Sha Shawn. It lead to a funny moment that I doubt any child under 10 will get (you don’t see most children reading A Midsummer night’s dream, do you?) and really it just feels like something we should be dealing with later on and not now of all times.


Also this isn’t a real complaint but it’s just a nag from a fan who’s soul just died a little when he saw that MJ will no doubt be hooking up with Liz Allan’s older brother (who’s name escapes me, we’ll just call him the guy who turns into Molten Man) as this pretty much assures that Peter and MJ won’t hook up until the 3rd or maybe even 4th if their cruel enough.


Though that’s all I really have to say as far as criticizing this episode, outside of that it was an amazing episode that had my eyes popping out of my head in excitement.


Venom was great here, it was nice seeing a mix of Venom and Eddie Brock as they are both the glorious sinister ass-hole that they where in the comics. Sure Eddie puts on a nice face but underneath there is an evil beyond what you’d expect. I am also grateful that the writers didn’t switch Venom’s motivation and turn him into some tragic villain.


While tragic villains are great Venom never has been one. His motivations are on his own selfish whim and petty desires. Eddie is insane, he’s disturbed beyond help and while deep down at his core there is still some shred of a good person it is often buried by his own delusions and wanton desire for chaos.


One thing I have to give the writers credit for was utilizing Venom’s 2 weaknesses. Venom is damn near invincible to everything such as bullets, blades and probably even radiation but his 2 weaknesses have always been fire and sound. In season 1 we never saw that use of the Fire weakness but here we finally see it and I must admit it was pretty cool.


All through this issue we got interviews with Peter Parker’s friends and family…oh and Flash was there too. These where all hilarious, minus Eddie’s, especially Norman’s. Just his cold solid “NO” had me laughing hard. I know it isn’t really all that funny but something about it came off as funny. These where nice little intervals through the episode and each scene.


Of course the main plot is Spider-man’s identity is exposed (sorta) and the media is hounding Peter (sorta) because Venom told him he was Spider-man. It was interesting seeing Peter deal with the media hounding him and all, and it lead to another heart breaking moment between him and Gwen but as I predicted everything is fine by episode’s end.


The real highlight of his episode was the final fight between Spider-man and Venom. This had to be the best the animation for this series has been yet. It was absolutely amazing and damn near mind blowing during some scenes, mostly with how the animators creatively handled Venom. Sure it was weird that he had a mouth on his stomach or that his tongue seems to be alive but I still loved it.

Another quick compliment to Venom, I like that they gave him a dinosaur roar. It sounds so brutal evil and downright vile that Venom comes off as a wild monster on the loose, which isn’t too far from the truth.


Now as for the fight, it’s long and epic as all hell. I especially loved how they gave Spider-man more of an advantage than just giving him the punching bag style of fighting where he gets the crap beaten out of him until the last minute of the fight. Of course it all comes down to Venom trying to take away Spider-man’s power and Spider-man using it against him.


Of course Spider-man wins (No way! The hero wins? Next you’re gonna tell me the sky is blue) in a very creative way. After getting Eddie to drink the gene cleanser it’s bye to Venom as the Symbiote rejects his body. It was a creative twist, even if a tad out of nowhere.


The Symbiote escapes into the sewers and Eddie is left babbling as he’s taken to an asylum for his mental instability. My little theory is that since Cletus Kassady has already been introduced in a prior episode that the Symbiote will either have a child (the Carnage Symbiote) and that child will make Carnage or the Venom Symbiote will bond to Kassady and he turns it into Carnage. Either way I look forward to seeing what they do with the Symbiote.


Overall this episode was a definite improvement over last week’s where we basically lead into this story. I’m not really even sure if this needed to be a 2 part story but I still loved the hell out of it. Definitely one of the best episodes of the second season yet, I’m excited to see where we go next week.


Final Score: 9 out of 10


Wolverine and the X-men Episode 14: Stolen Lives


After ANOTHER DAMN DELAY (don’t even know why, the first season is done and wrapped up actually) Wolverine and the X-men is back, hopefully on schedule, and we return with…oh goody, another Wolverine-centric episode. We haven’t gotten enough of those yet.

While I came at this episode with a bit of a cynical “the X-men are nowhere in sight this is gonna suck” attitude I actually loved this episode a lot more then I thought I would. Mystique is a main character which alone should have tipped me off to how good it would be.


For those unaware Mystique is a shape-shifter who is mother to Rogue, Nightcrawler, damn near every other mutant it seems nowadays. It seems Wolverine and the X-men are changing that up a bit by giving her a past that ties directly to Weapon X. I don’t know all of her past but I’m pretty sure this is new.


The main plot of Wolverine and Mystique teaming up to save Christy (daughter of Maverick) is all right but the plot itself isn’t what I liked about this episode rather it was the character moments and a rather heart felt ending between Wolverine and Mystique.


The action was great here though it’s mostly just Wolverine and Mystique offing faceless goons which is all right but I always feel the best X-men fights are the real struggles. For that even when Maverick and Sabertooth show up it isn’t much of the epic struggle I was expecting. Wolverine just gets knocked around a bit.


I have to give the writers credit for actually showing Wolverine hit the ground and nearly break every bone in his body. I also appreciated how they actually showed him in pain, it’s nice to see detail like that go into this character. Also it was really cool seeing how his tracking senses work.


We get a glimpse into the future of the series with X-23 showing up and she’s her pale dark stalking self. Hopefully this isn’t just a tease and that she’ll become a full character on her own sooner than later.


I must admit I did like seeing the doctor who made Wolverine into what he was. He was such a glorious bastard in Hulk vs. Wolverine and with that being a prequel to Wolverine and the X-men it makes perfect sense that he’d show up sometime here.


Maverick is saved at the very end which was nice but to be honest I know almost nothing about the character and the writers haven’t done enough of a job to make me care that he’s back with Christy. Happy ending for her but I remain emotionless on it.


The part that made this episode shine for me had to be that Mystique was James Howlett’s (Logan’s old self) lover that escaped Weapon X with James “sacrificing” himself in the sense that his memories where soon wiped afterwards. It was a touching and even emotionally powerful moment to see Mystique grieving over the man who saved her life, when technically he was standing right next to her.


The writers did an excellent job here fleshing out Mystique for her appearances later on in the series. She has a tragedy in her past but that doesn’t water her down as a villain or make her any less interesting or credible. If anything this new development almost makes her more likable and interesting than her comic counterpart. (At least she doesn’t have that deep manly voice like she did in X-men Evolution…ugh)


The animation here was nicely done. I’ve had mixed feelings over the style of the show and sometimes the animation hasn’t worked well for me. Here though I was very impressed and for what it was I found it to be a good looking episode.


Overall this episode wasn’t really all that great to be honest. The X-men are still MIA (except for Emma at the very end) and I have a bad feeling that this isn’t the last Wolverine only episode ahead. Still for what it was I enjoyed it a lot and recommend this episode be seen by any fans of the great character Mystique


Final Score 7.5 out of 10

4 comments:

Rokk Krinn said...

Great reviews, Andrenn!

I can't say enough positive things about Spectacular Spider-Man. This is such a fantastic cartoon. The creative team really get "it" and know how to deliver classic Spider-Man tales.

Now, Wolverine and the X-Men is a different story. I just have not been able to warm up to this cartoon.

Andrenn said...

@Rokk Krin: Thanks Rokk!

Agreed that Spectucular Spider-man is a great Spidey tale.

while I think Wolverine and the X-men still has a while to go for the most part i like it.

Kevin said...

Spot on reviews Andrenn.

The Spectacular Spider-Man is just awesome and even though I'm not a big Venom fan I did like this episode a lot.

While I did like this weeks Wolverine and the X-Men episode I getting really tire of having every other episode being just about Wolverine and the X-Men playing little to no role in the episodes.

Andrenn said...

@Kevin: Hopefully next time the X-men will be prominent again.