The thing that surprised me about this animated version of Spider-Man was not that it ran for over 60 episodes during afternoons in the early ‘90s, but that there was a decent level of voice talent on the show. Ed Asner (Elf) is the voice of J. Jonah Jameson, Roscoe Lee Browne (King) does Kingpin, and the voice of the Venom character is done by Hank Azaria (The Simpsons). And they put together a fairly decent storyline also.
The saga involves the story of Venom, a cha…acter created from a rock brought back in the space shuttle from a recent mission by Jameson’s son. The rock takes on properties of the person who has it as it slowly twists their mind. Peter Parker (and his Spider alter ego) feel frustrated that they don’t get the deserved recognition before taking on the Venom costume, Shortly afterwards, Parker’s newspaper colleague Eddie Brock, who has a inferiority complex to Peter. His frustrations become a larger threat to Spider-Man and pose a danger to others, so much so that additional heroes and villains are brought in to help.
It’s not a bad storyline, with some compelling scenes and surprising additions to the episodes, including Carnage, War Machine and Iron Man, and the episodes take a bland turn when Eddie/Venom has feelings for a therapist he’s seeing to prevent any return of Venom. Doing it all for a girl in a animated series seems a little bit weak and a letdown, but on a whole, the episodes, 6 in total, could easily leapfrog to a Raimi-produced live action feature in the future.
With a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, there aren’t too many surprises to speak of, and there’s nothing too dramatic on this disc.
While it’s no surprise that the feature is in fullscreen, the colors don’t appear as colorful and vibrant as other animated shows have. The fact the show is over 10 years old may have something to do with that, but it’s a little disappointing.
There’s an adequate amount of extras that, for a kid, would be pretty informational to the show. Stan Lee’s Soapbox has the writer’s views on various topics in and out of the book, and is a pretty quick extra at under 10 minutes. Next is a series of clips and interview footage that cover the venom character, his origins, motivations and anything else you can think of. Lee also introduces each episode, and there are previews for several Buena Vista releases.
Making for some good action and drama for an animated series, the Venom plot arc in the animated Spider-Man series is very good and for the recommended viewing age, very creative at that. The animation could have been a little better but there are no overall lingering complaints.
Special Features List
- Stan Lee’s Soapbox
- Origins of Venom
- Episode Introductions