Sandman's back trying to get his big score. Can Spider-Man stop him while also sorting out the new developments in his life?
Ah with the Master Planner Arc finally over we start anew, sort of. This episode isn't really part of any arc. I would label it an episode that continues on what the other ones thus far have started and stirs the pot while also introducing new plot developments. Though Sandman and attaining his big score is the big plot, we have several other minor subplots starting up or continuing. Once again we're back into the Eddie Brock subplot that started the moment the Venom arc from last season ended. To add to that, we have the return of Harry Osborn, who in this episode and already Pete is having flashbacks to his Green Goblin past. Then there's the little nugget of the Master Planner adding his little cut in addition to the Big Man (aka Tombstone)'s from any score Sandman completes. In addition, we get the introduction of Mark Allen, Liz Allen's brother (more on him in spectacular trivia). All of it is festering as some of these plots reach an end and others are allowed to continue on.
Nevertheless, really this episode is more a focus on Sandman and Flash Thompson. Honestly, I have to admit, when I was a reader of the comics I was a fan of neither character. So originally when I heard what the plotline was about, I couldn't help but be a little, "Oh great. Two characters of the Spider-verse who I have no emotional care for." Then I watched the episode, which changed my entire view on both.
The story is told while in-between we're given most of the characters who occupy Peter Parker's young life. It adds layers to what characters think about other characters, while also seeing them at their most brutally honest. And that's what this episode is about. The truth of certain characters that truly lie underneath all that covering. We get that with both Sandman and Flash. Just when you think you figured either out this episode would surprise you with some new character revelations. At the end of this episode you won't look the same way at the other character again. But amongst the two, Sandman really is the highlight of this episode. If you weren't a fan of the character you will be at the end of this episode.
As for Flash's party save for the end to it, most of it's done to humorous effect, but also to give some surprising revelations on its own. Some are humorous. Some are wow I can't believe it surprises. And some are oh my God. I won't spoil what those are, but it just adds more to the Peter Parker/Flash Thompson dynamic then the two being just rivals. Then there's Harry Osborn's return in this episode which was caught me off guard even if he was plastered in the intro. Given how long Harry has been gone from the series (seven episodes), out of nowhere he's back and already the wheels are moving with new plots involving him besides the lingering shadow of the Green Goblin. It should be pretty interesting to see what's going to happen next with these plots with Harry around now.
Which brings me to one of the greatest shining moments of this episode, the humor? It was really above average in this episode. Each joke and humorous line will no doubt elicit a chuckle or loud laugh. This episode really does play with your emotions and by the end of this episode no doubt you will have a lump in your throat. It does that good a job. But back to Sandy and the fights he has with Spidey in this episode. Again, each fight is highly memorable thanks to the amazing style of choreography done in this episode and the unique uses of Sandy's powers. Honestly, why didn't Rami think to use Sandman's powers this way save for but one (which is used in the episode's climax)? However, that's a fanboy grudge on the abomination that is Spider-Man 3 and this episode just proves what a powerful Sandman could be without the strings that the people behind that movie attached to him.
Truth be told. I really can't find any flaw with this episode. I tried watching this episode numerous times over (and I have). Still, the episode just wins me over with everything I’ve listed. There's just nothing bad at all I can say about it. It truly does deserve the rating it gets.
5 out of 5
- Eugene Thompson's reason for his nickname, Flash is entirely different in the comics from this series' version of it. There's a little more adult reason why he's called it. I'll leave it at that and if you want to know more just read Amazing Spider-Man #574 for what's currently going on in Flash’s life and how he got his nickname.
- Mark Raxton is better known to Spider-Man fans as the Molten Man. He first appeared in both his civilian and alter ego in Amazing Spider-Man #28. The Molten Man is a sometimes villain, sometimes ally to Spidey. It just depends if any larger villain is actually controlling him (usually a Green Goblin).
- St. John Devereaux appeared in an earlier episode of Spectacular Spider-Man, 1.11 Group Therapy. The theater he played at was the battleground for the first meeting between Spider-Man and the Sinister Six.
- Sha Shan first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #108. Her comic alter ego was no high school teen, instead meeting Flash during the Vietnam War. Hence the reason she hasn't appeared since and is pretty much now a forgotten character in the Spiderverse.
- Hobie Brown is also known to Spider-Man fans as the crime-fighting vigilante the Prowler. He first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #78.
- In the comics Sandman had a long period from the late 1980s to late 1990s where he was an actual superhero and wasn't a villain. Even more, he was an actual reserve member of the Avengers and part of the team called the Wild Pack. Alas to say, Sandman eventually returned to his nefarious ways in Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #12. As for why he did, a really bad short story involving his Frightful Four partner the Wizard in Peter Parker Spider-Man vol. 2 #12. He's remained a supervillain since then again.