Night Of The Lizard
Return Of The Spider-Slayers
Doctor Octopus: Armed and Dangerous
The Menace of Mysterio
The Sting of the Scorpion
Kraven The Hunter
The Alien Costume Part 1
The Alien Costume Part 2
The Alien Costume Part 3
The Hobgoblin Part 1
The Hobgoblin Part 2
Day of the Chameleon
Out of all the animated variations of Spider-Man over the years, the 1994 edition is by far the best. With a good blend of lighthearted humour, colourful artwork and impressively shot action, Spider-Man is brought to life in a series that stays true to the comics while making key differences to keep the tone consistent for a younger audience. With a largely episodic format and a few misplaced jokes, the first season is a little rough around the edges but there’s a great amount of work done to build a believable universe that does the web-slinger justice.
For those unfamiliar with Spider-Man, the story revolves around unpopular science student Peter Parker (voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes) who finds his world turned upside down when he’s bitten by a radioactive spider. Haunted by the memory of his dead Uncle Ben whose death hangs heavy over him, Spider-Man battles various foes throughout the series whilst trying to juggle his academic studies with various love interests including Mary-Jane Watson (Sara Ballantine) and Felicia Hardy (Jennifer Hale). It’s a good message to give to kids too and partly the reason this hero is so relatable in this animation that’s strictly geared toward the younger generation. Instead of an overarching story, the first season plays out with a series of stand alone episodes used to introduce each of the main villains in the Spider-verse while teasing potential futures for each of them.
The wit and resourcefulness of Spider-Man mixed with the struggles of Peter Parker has always been a difficult balance to get right and although the first season can be a little clumsy at times, this iteration of Spider-Man is certainly the closest to really feeling like a true representation of Spider-Man. There’s some great quips and jokes thrown in here and although some do fail to hit the mark, the comedy never feels contrived throughout the 13 episodes.
As well as the humour, the crime-infested world Spidey inhabits is well fleshed out too. The first season depicts a power struggle between Wilson Fisk aka The Kingpin (Roscoe Lee Browne) and Norman Osborne (Neil Ross) who vie for control of the city battling Spider-Man as well as each other. This hits its peak during a penultimate two-parter that sees The Hobgoblin (Mark Hamill) right at the heart of their bitter rivalry. There’s a surprising inclusion of mature themes here too typified by Peter’s heavy heart over the death of his Uncle Ben. Understandably the series isn’t quite as dark as some of the comic books themselves but there’s still enough here to make Spider-Man accessible for an older crowd as well as young.
From Venom (Hank Azaria) to Hobgoblin through to Mysterio (Gregg Berger) and Doctor Octopus (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.), there’s a great variety of enemies introduced here and each of the story lines are well fleshed out and do the source material justice. Although the season does end a little anticlimactically with a stand-alone Chameleon episode, there’s enough here to whet the appetite ready for more in depth, intricately written seasons to come. There are certainly a few dud jokes and a couple of the stand alone episodes are a little mediocre but Spider-Man finally feels like its comic book counterpart.
Verdict - 7.5/10