The SmarK DVD Rant for The Spectacular Spider-Man Volume 8

Sony is really committed to releasing these as single sets rather than concentrating on a full season release, so you have to give them credit for that. The show is also written like a comic book, in three-part story arcs that lend themselves to releases like this, so it’s easy to jump in without much trouble. This volume features three episodes connected by a school play, closing out the second season.

Episode 24: “Subtext”

Told in flashback, this one features Spider-Man trying to save friends from a burning building. We learn that it was caused by Peter’s friend Mark Allen, brother of girlfriend Liz Allen. Mark’s got a gambling problem, and he’s given an indestructible skin of burning armor to pay off his debts. Unfortunately the Green Goblin is behind the transformation and turns the poor kid into the Molten Man (“What, you can throw lava now?!”). The kid was never really a threat to our hero, but it was a fun episode regardless.

Episode 25: “Opening Night”

Spider-Man is assisting Norman Osborn test an inescapable prison (which has J Jonah Jameson delighted) and thus might not be able to make the opening night of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The simple test of course goes really wrong, thanks to Black Cat breaking in while Green Goblin takes over control of the security features. Spidey stops by the main portion of the prison (“How could I resist taunting all the crooks I put away?”) and you just know what’s going to happen there. Spider and Cat fighting with embittered supervillains is intercut with the play, while Goblin narrates in rhyme. Spider-Man playing the rampaging villains off each other is great stuff, as Goblin escapes one last time to set up what would turn out to be the series finale.

Episode 26: “Final Curtain”

Harry Osborn confesses to being Green Goblin (due to a drug addiction that transforms him), but then points out that he was kidnapped by someone else wearing a Goblin costume. Norman also says that witnesses saw both he and Goblin together, which eliminates him as a suspect as well. Spider-Man confronts the screwed up Osborn family (and learns about the not-so-secret wine cellar in a really funny reveal), but Green Goblin attacks while both Osborns are in the room. The evidence seems to point to scientist Donald Menken, but there’s one last swerve before the big reveal of who’s REALLY been pulling the strings. In between a city-spanning fight, Peter also flashes back to breaking up with Liz in order to date Gwen Stacy, and at least with the cancellation of the series you can take heart knowing that it wouldn’t have ended happily anyway. Tremendous end to the series, and it’s kind of sad that the show is over because it really left you wanting more.

Overall, a big improvement over the first volume that I reviewed, and a show that I would have liked to see continue and develop. As for the DVD, there are no bonus features aside from endless previews for other Sony crap (Open Season 2 AND 3!), so it’s hard to recommend as any kind of standalone disc. Who knows if we’re ever getting a season 2 set, though, so you might want to pick up the individual volumes just in case. Mildly recommended.

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