Spider-Man's worse nightmare has returned! That's right folks Venom is back! But, there’s a new player on the super powered player on the scene, Colonel Jupiter. Will he be friend or foe to the wall-crawler?
Following the events of the previous episode, Peter's worse fear has come. Eddie Brock has discovered where Pete hid the symbiote and has become Venom again. But this time, Venom isn't targeting the personal life of Spidey. Nope, he's going after his superhero one, ruining Spidey's name by beating up on both cops and criminals. Through all this a side effect not much thought of during season one rears it's head in Col. John Jameson. The accidental trip back with said symbiote has left John with super powers (namely super strength and he's growing larger). However, all these new powers have a nasty side effect; he'll go insane if he's not cured. Thus enter his new identity as Colonel Jupiter, wearing a suit that Curt Connors hopes to contain the effects. So we get the two main plot points from last season all coming together for this episode.
And here lies the true tragedy with the episode. Viewers who've watched John Jameson since season one will find a tragic end awaiting him in this episode. Alas to say, I have to say it's an even more sadder ending then what happens to him in the comics (see Spectacular Trivia). But the tragedy is equally compounding for Curt Connors as it's just another notch the growing supervillains he's accidentally created (as he's forced to face in this episode as well).
That's pretty much the focus of this episode, tragedy. Every single character in this episode is pretty tragic, even more enhanced with clippings throughout the episode of various students at Midtown High trying out parts for St. John Deveraux's production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Even the main villain of this piece, Venom you kinda feel bad for realizing what he originally was in this series before becoming this menace. Again, if your a long time viewer of this series a ton of emotions will hit you, but if your new (and just started this season) then the impact won't be as much alas.
Though back to Venom. I've never been a big fan of the character. In fact, not many actual comic writers who write Spidey comics are either. That can be seen with the various twisting and
As for the actual C-plot involving the try out, we get more focus into the recurring plot of Flash Thompson trying to woo Sha Shan Nygen. And that's about all we get of that which no doubt will be approaching near season's end. So more Shakespeare mixed with Spidey will no doubt bring more tragedy (or is it comedy? Given how much nothing ever goes right in Peter's life even with a happy ending?). But this does lead to the best comedy in the episode, involving Flash interrogating Pete on how nerds' think. Not to mention a recurring joke is continued.
But the real treat this episode involves the counterpoints between those who think Spidey's guilty and those who think Spidey's innocent of the crimes Venom commits. Again given the past it's interesting the police headed by George Stacy actually think Spidey's very much innocent by the evidence of looking at the past. But J. Jonah Jameson and his paper believes otherwise, and it's interesting exchange between the two train of thoughts of what other's think of Spidey and his antics.
Again, I have to give much kudos to the voice actors in the episode particularly Daran Norris, who surprisingly voices both J Jonah and his son John. You can barely even tell both are the same actor and that's a nice little job Daran does conveying the separate personalities of the two. Even more, how John starts out all too good before the alien spores take a serious toll on his mental state. Not to mention you get a more serious sense of why Jonah actually hates Spidey more with this episode. And can you actually blame him for it?
Then there's this episode's climax, which turns from somber to, OH MY GOD. Trust me, after watching this episode's finale you'll just have to wonder how in the world Petey will get out of this mess. All and all for long time viewers of this show this episode pays off by bringing the goods of some long-standing plots. Newcomers might be scratching their heads at what's going on, but if you're on the ride thus far this really was pardon the pun a spectacular episode.
5 out of 5
- Col. John Jameson didn't really bring alien symbiote back to Earth, even if this is the second time this has been used in Spider-Man cartoons (this was done very much before in the early 90s Spidey tune). Surpringly, some comic book fans will be shocked to know that this actually did happen in the comics, even though his second accident is the persona he's more known for aka the primal beast called the Man-Wolf. John Jameson first appeared in Spider-Man comics almost from the very beginning in Amazing Spider-Man #1. As for his Man-Wolf persona that didn't appear until Amazing Spider-Man #124. But the more surprising revelation when looking back on this all is that wasn't the last persona change for John as well. He also went by the moniker of Stargod. How he became that identity is that pretty much the ruby that made him become Man-Wolf transported him to the dimension, which the ruby was spawned. John found he had new powers with this new identity, and earned a life as a true hero in this Other Realm. However, John decided to return home to Earth and lost all said memories of his time there. These events happened in Creatures on the Loose #30-37 (becoming Stargod) and Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #3 for his return to Earth.
- Some might consider Colonel Jupiter to be homage to the Incredible Hulk, but in actuality the event did happen in the comics to John in Amazing Spider-Man #41-42. The event furthered the hatred J Jonah Jameson had of Spidey leading to the further creation and funding of the Spider-Slayers and supervillain the Human-Fly. Jonah first financed the Spider-Slayer in Amazing Spider-Man #25, before using them again in Amazing Spider-Man #167-168 and fell in love with the Doctor of that project, Marla Madison, later marrying her. Jonah's funding into the creation of the Human Fly took place in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #10. The other supervillain created by Jonah in an effort to kill Spidey was the Scorpion, who has been confirmed to appear in Spectacular Spider-Man if it is to have a third season.
- Comic book fans of the 90s will find it ironic the asylum John is placed in at the end of the episode, Ravencroft. In the early 90s, John became head of security at the asylum when it began to house super powered in-mates (namely Carnage, Chameleon, Carrion, and Shriek). He even dated briefly head official of the asylum, Ashley Kafka in the comics, the doctor assigned to him by episode's end. Ravencroft was first mentioned in Web of Spider-Man #112 before fully being established in Web of Spider-Man Annual #10.
- While the show uses the regular comic version of the symbiote, this version of Eddie Brock actually shares more in common with his ultimate persona. In Ultimate Spider-Man, Eddie and Pete once considered each other more like brothers than actual friends. This version of Eddie first appeared in Ultimate Spider-Man #33, before becoming Venom and fighting Pete in #36-37.