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Spectacular Spider-Man 2.04: Shear Strength

On the eve of a New Year, the Master Planner and his master plan stand revealed in the conclusion to the first arc of Season 2. Can Spidey stop them?

Wow, not even thirty seconds into the episode and we already get the revelation on who the Master Planner, talk about service. So yeah, anyone who hasn't read the saga will obviously know who the Planner is. In addition, pretty much this entire episode is one big adaptation of that comic, which is actually surprising that this is the first actual adaptation of this famous Spider-Man story. Though he doesn't steal an atomic device as in the comics, the Master Planner's master plan is of course world domination. Not to mention his lair is under water and the very climax of the battle between them and Spidey contains the second epic moment from the comics (the first being Uncle Ben's death and Spidey of course learning "With great power, come's great responsibility"). Therefore, those into the comics will be in for an added treat when watching this episode. {nomultithumb}

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Now for those who haven't ever read the comic pertaining to this story, well you're in for a nice upgraded adaptation. Continuing with the previous episode, we have several members of the Sinister Six (namely Vulture and Electro) working for the good Master Planner (besides the Tinkerer who lays out the tech work). The master plan itself is worthy of who is the Master Planner, which is trying to get all the technology in the world (though he already has the all of New York under his control). To achieve their goal, they need Gwen Stacey to blackmail her father into working for the Planner. Which during the course attracts Spidey's attention. So the stakes are pretty much as high as you can get.

The animation is very smooth in the episode and one can barely make out any errors this time around. The action again is taken up a notch given this is the conclusion to this mini arc and it's a satisfying one for the most part. Much like the previous episode, the action continues to be amped up with Electro versus Spider-Man, until the fight finally is between the Master Planner himself and the Web Slinger. As for that episode, I can't help but notice that the Planner has a nice Erik Larsen touch with his arms. In which their insanely long and insanely deadly, just as the Planner should be.

Again, the music and the voice acting are taken to a completely new level as well. Josh Keaton (Spider-Man/Peter Parker), Peter MacNicol (Doctor Octopus), Crispin Freeman (Electro), Robert England (Vulture), Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy), and Clancy Brown (George Stacy) all bring their A game to this episode. Amongst them, and Josh Keaton's perfection on Spidey is Peter MacNicol continues his spectacular of voice action of Doc Ock, so much so that no doubt some fans will put him up there being THE voice of Ock now much like Mark Hamill and Clancy Brown where for the Joker and Lex Luthor in the DC cartoons. He matches the right tone of cockiness, scientific know how, overall hatred for Spidey, and ruthless of the character of Ock just perfectly. Plus given Ock's fate in the episode we're in for some more fun from him.

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As for the adaptation of the actual key moment of the Master Planner, it's just but icing on the cake for a perfect episode. The writers did a fantastic job giving an even better motivation for Spidey then in the comics (it was Aunt May that snapped him out of it, unlike this episode so yeah ew). Back to Josh Keaton again, he absolutely nails the lines and the moment. Thus, the episode succeeds giving the fact that this feels like a season finale, yet this is only the beginning of the season still. Truly, this episode earns the title of this show being truly spectacular. As for the episode's end, again it reminds us what it took place during, New Year's Eve and we get a nice gaw moment between the newest couple in the cartoon. And with that it ends the lingering plot (for now at least) of the whole love triangle between Pete, Gwen, and Liz coming to a head. Not to mention once more we get a nice holiday themed ending with famous New Year's song played.

Now what about this entire Master Planner arc? Well, it introduced some real entertaining characters. The fights where spectacular (darn I'm using that word again), the music began to it's upward climb, and the characters you just love or hate (COME ON PETER STOP PLAYING WITH GWEN'S HEART THAT WAY!).There's still a ton of Season 2 to be had and already with this epic finale to it's first arc it seems this season already has a huge hurdle to jump on how it can top that. But seeing as how their already hinting Venom's return and with Tombstone still looming over everyone. I can bet they will find a way to outdo themselves here and no doubt, myself and other viewers cannot wait for that.

 5 out of 5

 

Spectacular Trivia

- Morris Bench the demolisher whose with Peter, Norman Osborn, and Donald Menken is known in the comic book world to become the Hydro-Man (think Sandman, but his body is water instead of sand). Hydro-Man first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #212.

-The Master Planner arc in comics is Amazing Spider-Man #31-33. This episode is pretty much an adaptation of # 32-33 with Spidey finally confronting the Planner in his underground lair on New Years. After Spidey beats the Planner, he is buried under some machinery only to find the strength to get out of it when thinking of Aunt May (who was on the verge of death, though this was the first real time it happened to her, before it became a joke for fans of the comic). Of course, the roles are now thankfully updated to Spidey thinking of Gwen's life, not his Aunt.

-Much like this episode, the comic wasted no time in revealing the identity of the Master Planner.

-Erik Larsen was an artist on Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man. He drew Amazing Spider-Man #287, 324, and 327 before being promoted to full time on the book when Todd McFarlane left the book from #329-350. He then left that book to work on Spider-Man (again replacing Todd McFarlane) and wrote #18-23. In his run the Sinister Six returned twice (Return of the Sinister Six Amazing #334-339 and Revenge of the Sinister Six Spider-Man #18-23). Larsen is well known for redesigning Doctor Octopus giving him longer arms and had him ditch the costumes for business suits and giving Venom his elongated tongue.

Larsen currently works for Image Comics publishing his independent character, the Savage Dragon.

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The Outhouse is sponsored this week by Late Nite Draw. Recently featured on ComicsAlliances' Best Art Ever, he is a Chicago-based commissioned artist with a self-published Digital+Print one-shot coming out in October about the abominable snowman called ABOBAMANIMABBLE, and is also available for commissions. Check out some amazing art by clicking here or by clicking the banner at the top, and support the people who support The Outhouse.


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About the Author - Zechs


Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.

 


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