Channel Awesome
Spectacular Spider-man 1x10: Persona


Original Air Date
February 6, 2017
Run Time
Perhaps living alien slime should have better security than a glass bubble with one lock on it.

[We open to Linkara in front of his green futon in his basement]

Linkara: Hello and welcome to Atop The 4th Wall, where bad comics burn! Patreon sponsored review time again unlike Pride of The X-Men, this is from an animated series that did get made, the much beloved Spectacular Spider-man cartoon…that I never watched.

Linkara [v/o]: Ok, I admit I did actually watch this and one or two other episodes back in the day, because of a certain element in it. But that was ago and I barely remember it. Nothing personal about the quality of it or anything, it’s just I really liked the 90s Spider-man Animated Series. Seriously, I rewatched a bunch of it recently and it mostly holds up. Well, except for the animation. Near the end, they were desperately cutting corners every which way they could. But the writing and voice acting were superb, having a massive cast of actors and giving some really cool interpretations of villains and story lines, cutting out dumber aspects, and reinventing them in whole new ways. Also, guns weren’t allowed for some reason, so everybody uses lasers.

Linkara: I’d actually kind of be interested in doing a History of Power Rangers style retrospective of that show… except, as far as I know, it’s never been released in full on DVD, just a few scattered episodes here and there and these days, I would prefer not to use TV rips for it.

Linkara [v/o]: But of course, we’re not here to talk about that series or most of the other Spider-man series (Dear lord, Spiderman: Unlimited and New Animated series [By MTV] were weird), but of Spectacular Spider-man. As many have pointed out when I announced the list of upcoming episodes, it was odd that I was looking at one episode considering this is actually the beginning of a storyline. Well, that’s because originally, the patron requested something different, a review of Spider-man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do. A controversial miniseries written Kevin Smith that involves rape and a retconed back-story for Black Cat.

Linkara: The patron and I agreed that it’s probably better to tackle something more fun and, well, not related to a very heavy topic that I am the least qualified person to be discussing. So, instead they picked this episode since it happens to feature the Black Cat.

Linkara [v/o]: The show only lasted for 2 seasons with the reason why it wasn’t renewed being related to rating…and rights issues.

Linkara: Because, when it comes to Marvel and works outside of comics, it’s always about rights issues!

Linkara {v/o]: The producer, Greg Weisman, known more for Young Justice (And no, I still haven’t watched any of it) [He also created Gargoyles], said that Sony, for concessions on the movie rights, gave Spider-man TV rights back to Marvel, except for rights related to Spectacular Spider-man itself, including production elements of it, so neither was really allowed to work on the show anymore and since Marvel and Disney then went on to develop Ultimate Spider-man, it was pretty clear that there wasn’t going to be anymore Spectacular Spider-man. There’s not really much lead-in you require for the cartoon in terms of storyline, I think most of it is pretty self-explanatory: Peter’s a high schooler, he’s got some love interests, power and responsibility, given some of the side characters; there were probably going to be clones at some point, yadda yadda.

Linkara: So, Let’s dig into [Holds up DVD for season 1 of Spectacular Spider-man] Episode 10 of the Spectacular Spider-man, “Persona,” and see how this handles Spidey’s sometimes love interest…also, the black costume.

[We cut to the AT4W opening and theme song, followed by the title card. We then cut to the opening of the SSM episode. Peter heading home, his neighbors’ house is purple while the others are beige or grey.]

Linkara [v/o]: We open with Peter running home to the infinite regression that is a suburban neighborhood. See, this house is purple, it’s totally different!

Peter Parker: [To Aunt May] What did I miss? [He discovers May is in the kitchen, stirring, and the TV isn’t on] Aunt May, I can’t believe you don’t have it on!

Aunt May Parker/Linkara: Peter, for the 9th time, I don’t care that you’re wrestling show is still pushing Roman Reigns.

Peter: They discover alien life and you’re not watching?!

Aunt May Parker: [Chuckles] Oh Peter, aliens are bug-eyed monsters who say ”take me to your leader.”

Aunt May/Linkara: I should know, I had sex with one when I worked at a resort for a summer, just to spite your Uncle Ben! [Nods then realizes] Man, those days were weird.

Linkara [v/o]: Peter is excited because on the hull of the space shuttle, they discovered organic matter, basically evidence of alien live. Not advanced, obviously, but still something alive that didn’t exist on Earth. One really cool thing that the 90s animated series did that seems to have influenced this one, is in how it approached the Venom symbiote. In the comics, the symbiote came from a crossover event…

Linkara: …One that I may or may not be talking about later this year. *Cough* Event comics month.

Linkara [v/o]: Whereas when Venom was put into the animated series, it was inadvertently brought back in a space shuttle. The same method is basically presented here, though with less of the Kingpin trying to steal moon rocks. Anyway, the news reports that the organic material has been shipped to Empire University for study by Dr. Curt Connors and, of course, this means Peter has an in with his bud, Eddie Brock.

Eddie Brock: [On the phone with Peter] That’s right bro, the ooze has landed!

Eddie Brock/Linkara: [Pretending he’s on the phone] And once we discover the secret of it, we’ll be Ninja Turtles too!

Eddie: And…uh, Dr. C’s back in the game, he’s been of lost since…you know, the Lizard thing.

Eddie/Linkara: But then he got a new GPS and he’s been fine since then.

[The symbiote is in a big glass cage and Dr. Curt Connors looks closely at it.]

Linkara [v/o]: Hey Doc, I know there’s glass and stuff, but maybe don’t put your face right up near the writhing, moving puddle of slime.

[Cut to a clip from Red Letter Media’s review of Prometheus]

Mike Stoklasa: [To Jay Bauman] What was that black goo?

Linkara [v/o]: Unfortunately for Peter, the other scientist working on the project, Dr. Martha (Connors, Curt’s wife)…

Linkara: because every superhero has a Martha in their lives.

Linkara [v/o]: …has forbidden anyone else outside their team from approaching, especially not reporters or photographers. Peter decides to take advantage of being Spider-man to get a look.

Linkara: Because using your powers for personal gain has never bit you in the ass, has it Petey?

Linkara [v/o]: However, he’s a bit late to the party, because the Black Cat is already sneaking in herself. With the teaser over with, that brings us to the theme song; which is, of course, friggin’ awesome! Any theme song that highlights how fun it would be to actually be Spider-man (you know, aside from all the baggage) is good already, but it’s got a sweet guitar riff to it while simultaneously almost feeling like it’s under-playing things a bit. It’s almost mellow at how awesome it is.

[Cut to Linkara, wearing sunglasses, arms crossed, and looking off to the side, looking cool as he listens to the SSM theme.]

Linkara: Yeah, I’m cool, no biggie

Linkara [v/o]: Black Cat is of course here to steal the ooze and…uh, maybe don’t look so happy about the disgusting black sludge trying to reach out to you?

Spider-man: East, cay lady, I don’t want to fight.

Black Cat: Name’s Black Cat and cats don’t fight spiders.

Linkara: Of course not, cats whack spiders with newspapers! Haven’t you read a single Garfield strip, dude?

Linkara [v/o]: The 2, of course, get into a fight with a glass aquarium getting smashed and tripping the laser sensors. Man, you’d think businesses would just make those laser detection systems that can be seen through fog, pointed in multiple, instead of just the floor given how often this happens in fiction. Also, not sure what the deal is with fur on Black Cat’s arms. It’s a neat aesthetic, but how does that make her a better burglar and doesn’t the increased amount of white take away from her being the “Black” Cat? Anyway, Black Cat’s a playful sort, so she offers him a take on the job if they work together.

Black Cat: A certain captain of industry offered an indecent amount of cash to steal that slime [at this point, the symbiote escape from it’s now open cage], something about unlimited scientific attention.

Linkara: Damn it, Tony Stark, there are other solutions to hair loss that this!

Spider-man: Are you sure he was a full captain of industry and not some industrial cadet showing off for the girls?

Linkara: Actually, he was an admiral, but he felt the need to be more humble.

Linkara [v/o]: As you saw a moment ago in the clip, the goop escapes and during the fight, Spidey unknowingly steps in it. It grips to his boot as Dr. Connors arrives, causing Black Cat to flee. In the confusion, Spidey figures that she must have somehow gotten the stuff. Hey, guys, the thing was writhing around under it’s own power, you saw it doing so yourselves, maybe it slithered away! By the by, that was a great fight. I didn’t show it off, but there was a lot of good banter, it kept moving and both were shown as fairly even fighters. Honestly, the only thing I disliked about it was something I had noticed in the theme song: artificial camera shaking to make the fight more intense. Sometimes going handheld makes sense, but this is an animated series that’s heavily stylized and I don’t think the realistic camera jitters and blurs are good for that, it just makes me feel like my eyes are going out of focus for whatever reason. Anyway, naturally the Daily Bugle blames Spidey and the Black Cat as accomplices, which pisses off Eddie Brock something fierce, since clearly Peter was there and didn’t call the cops. However, even more pissed of is Peter, who storms into J. Jonah Jameson’s office and asks why the hell he lied about it.

J. Jonah Jameson: [Yells] THE BUGLE ONLY PRINTS FACTS! And whatever it takes to connect the facts together.

J. Jonah Jameson/Linkara: We call those alternative facts! [Beat] No, No, not even I can say that seriously and I once invested in a robot to capture Spider-man with my face on it.

Linkara [v/o]: Peter tries to have Dr. Connors corroborate his story, but Connors lied to the cops and said he didn’t discover the robbery until that morning. We soon learn why, as we cut to Connors in an abandoned building, only to rip off a mask and reveal he’s actually the Chameleon in disuise.

Chameleon: [Answers phone] Hello, general.

Linkara: Ah, so it was a general of industry.

Linkara [v/o]: Someone had hired him and his 2 cronies to steal the sludge, but of course, Chameleon has to refund the down payment because of his failure. As it happens, said cronies are actually Quentin Beck and Phineas Mason aka Mysterio and The Tinkerer. The Chameleon starts planning something new to make up for his failure.

Quentin Beck: Which captain of industry or high-ranking political you’re posing as this time, Chameleon?

Chameleon: This time, I have someone a little different in mind.

Linkara: Turns out, he just thought up a great routine for Ameriva’s Got Talent.

Linkara [v/o]: Spidey, meanwhile, swings around and ponders all the questions raised by this, not realizing that the alien is slowly spreading over his clothes…making me winder why the hell it took so long to spread. I mean, it’s been a day, but only now does it decide to spread over him. Did it think Peter’s civilian clothes were too tacky or something? Anyway, it finished spreading over him, revealing a pretty cool version of the black costume. Kinda similar to Spider-man 3’s version with the white or silver webbing over him. And after we return from the commercial break, it’s suddenly nighttime. Geez, when the symbiote did the commercial transition, it apparently bonded with the sky!

[Cut to Mystery Science Theater 3000]

Mike Nelson: Space is warped and time is bendable.

Linkara [v/o]:  Black Cat shows up next to Spidey, who only now notices his costume change. Black Car wants to team up with him, since she considers it a frame-up since she didn’t steal the ooze either. But, all I can do is be distracted by the fact that for all we know; in this universe, Black Cat is an adult and she’s hitting on a teenager.

Linkara: This was the less squicky option, wasn’t it?

Linkara [v/o]: Spidey realizes that it’s the ooze that did this.

Spider-man: [To himself] Face it Spidey, alien life is permanently bonded itself to your suit.

Linkara: And not necessarily permanently, dude. I mean, I’m sure enough OxiClean and a few rounds in the washer will make it rethink all this.

Linkara [v/o]: A plane flies out of control, the pilot trying to force it to crash in Central Park, but he’s flying to low. Spidey manages to get in close enough to adjust the plane and rescue the pilot before it crashes, realizing that the new suit is enhancing his powers; more strength, longer reach of his webbing, and longer leaps.

Spider-man: [To himself] If I can use the ooze to help more people as Spider-man, maybe it’s ok that I sort of unintentionally stole the slime from the Connors lab.
Linkara:  I mean, if you think about it, black is more of a spider’s color than red and blue.

Linkara [v/o]: The suit also has another nifty power, easy quick changing. When he enters his home ,Aunt May suddenly collapses.

Peter: Aunt May, what’s wrong?

Aunt May/Linkara: Sorry, it’s those de-aging pills I take for each new movie, they knock the wind out of you.

Linkara [v/o]: Later, we see what the Chameleon’s plan actually was, as he is now dressed as Spidey [In Spidey’s traditional red and blue suit, unaware of the new suit] to commit robberies, using the other two’s tech to simulate his powers.

[Spider-man/Chameleon is robbing a bank, Quentin Beck posing as one of the customers. A guard gets ready to draw his weapon at Spider-man/Chameleon]

Quentin Beck: ]Whispers into his ear piece] Behind you.

Spider-man/Chameleon: My insect early warning system’s tingling! [Fires a rope and bola at guard]

Linkara: Spider-man, with the proportional ability to loudly exposit about his own powers.

Linkara [v/o]: The Tinkerer is even using his own camera to take the photos of the robberies and send them to the Bugle for free to help with the bad press. Then again, it’s J. Jonah Jameson; he probably would have drawn stick figures of Spider-man in crayon if he thought it would convince people he was evil. Anyway, that night Spidey meets up with the Black Cat again, who has already figured out that the robbing Spider-man isn’t the real deal thanks to him being in the black costume. Black Cat thinking like a thief, figures that the imposer will hit up a nearby boat full of rick people, an election fundraiser for the mayor. They’re soon proven right as we see the Chameleon has snuck onboard, disguised as Norman Osborn and the other 2 disguised as workers on the boat, slowly knocking out the police protection fot the event. So, how do our heroes intent to get on board?

[Black Cat drives a jet ski, with Spider-man behind her]

Spider-man: Sweet Ride!

Linkara: Ah, nothing like a loud, distracting WAVE RUNNER TM [See Obscurus Lups’s Bawatching to understand] to help you stealthily sneak on board a place that’s currently on the look out for you. Brilliant plan, Black Cat!

[Cut to a clip fro Patton]

George S. Patton: You magnificent bastard, I read you BOOK!

Black Cat: [Still driving the jet ski] Hold on tight.

Spider-man: Don’t worry, I don’t slip.

Black Cat: Not why I said that.

Spider-man: Uh…we’re close enough [jumps onto the boat]

Black Cat: [Watching him climb] Mmm, Kitty senses purring.

Linkara: Ha ha ha! [Then serious[ You know, in the Ultimate Universe, there was an age discrepancy between the 2 and she made out with him, not realizing it. When she found out, she threw up all over him in disgust.

Linkara [v/o]: As the Chameleon starts robbing the boat, Captain Stacy (Gwen Stacy’s dad, in case you didn’t know), actually does recognize that it’s not him due to his height. Not that it matters much anyway, since, of course, our hero shows up to confront the Chameleon. They fight, with Spidey, of course, defeating him.

Quentin Beck: [Disguised as a waiter, with a cup of coffee for the real Spidey] Demitase, Spider-man? [Drops cup, which turns into a smokescreen as thew cup breaks]

Spider-man/Linkara: Oh no, it was decaf!

Linkara [v/o]: They [Chameleon, Tinkerer, and Quentin Beck] slip away in the gas, but Black Cat takes care of the flunkies while Spidey chases after Chameleon, even water skiing behind the escape boat.

[He does this by attaching a web line to the boat and dragging his feet against the water. Chameleon has bombs thrown at Spider-man, who dodges them with ease and even does a big jump.  Linkara looks impressed and holds up a big card that says “7” like he’s water skiing judge.]

Linkara [v/o]: The Chameleon is captured; Jameson is forced to make a retraction.

Jameson: [Whispers into his cell phone] But on page 42…in 4-point font.

Linkara [v/o]: And Captain Stacy says Spidey is cleared, although they still don’t know what happened to the stolen alien.

Spider-man: [To Captain Stacy] Actually, I sort of…

The Symbiote [v/o]: [To Peter’s mind, speaking in his voice] What are you doing? You tell the truth and they’ll take the suit away and you need it’s power.

Spider-man/Linkara: Mephisto, I told you not to call while I’m working!

Captain George Stacy: As long as you wear a mask, some folks will always wonder…

Captain George Stacy/Linkara: [thinking in v/o] I wonder what masks taste like.

Linkara [v/o]: However, it sems the real purpose of the Black Cat helping was to steal a jewel that the mayor had been wearing, revealed to us later when she makes out with Spidey. And so, our episode ends with Black Cat getting away and the sky being overtaken by red and then black. Man, I was just kidding before about the Symbiote spreading to the sky, but clearly this is some apocalypse level crap.

  • This is a reference to the sky looking red with black webs like parts of Spider-man Suit at the end of the 1st dozen issues if Amazing Spider-man in the 60s.

Linkara: This episode…it’s pretty dang good, especially in juggling a lot of elements for a single episode.

Linkara [v/o]: Bear in mind that episode had to introduce Black Cat, make it believable that Spidey would work with her, establish the Symbiote, reintroduce some characters who hadn’t been around, simultaneously have a plot about Spider-man being framed for one crime; which then inspires the villains to do more crime, have exciting action sequences that don’t feel like they ended too soon, and do some setup for some storylines down the road. When you consider they managed to pull off all of this without making the episode feel too crowded and busy, that’s nothing to shrug off. I still prefer the 90s version of these events, since with a with a few less elements in play, it allows for a bit of a slower pace and a growing sense of dread about the costume. That being said, the alien costume saga in that was 3 parts instead of the 4 that “Spectacular” had, so it’s allowed to not have the same kind of tension, sine it has more episodes to explore it, the 1st being how cool and useful it is before the bad stuff goes down.

Linkara: Next time, it’s the anniversary of the original Atop The 4th Wall blog, with the 9th issue of Youngblood. [With false excitement] Yay. But hey, at lest it’s apparently not made by Rob Liefeld. [Tries to be more positive] Yay [?]

[He gets up and leaves the room, we then cut to then end credits]

If the lighting in this episode seems a bit weird, it's because I'm finally playing around with softboxes that I got for Christmas. Expect some lighting experimentation for a few episodes.

The Chameleon: master spy and assassin, but doesn't know that spiders are not insects.

[Afterward, we cut to back to the Spectacular Spider-man episode, Persona]

Peter: Boss, I’d like a word!

Jameson: How about "Scram!” or 2 words, “Scram, kid!” Or 17: “Get out of my office in 2.3 seconds or I’ll staple you to a flag pole!”

[The end]