Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Retro Review: Spider-man Unlimited Vol 2 #4


Remember the Spider-man Unlimited cartoon from '99? No? Well your lucky then. The premise of Spider-man Unlimited was that astronaut, and son of J. Jonah Jameson, John Jameson travels to a newly discovered planet, counter-earth. Counter-Earth is a duplicate of Earth on the other side of the sun. Oh, did I mention Carnage and Venom had snuck on board with John for some reason? Why you ask? Oh don't worry about that, Venom and Carnage never have any clear motivation throughout this whole show. Well anyways Spider-man hi-jacks a rocket to go help John. Before doing so he gets a new suit from, I think Reed Richards, made of nanites that has stealth and other powers to help him on his adventure. Basically his suit has symbiot powers minus the whole turning him into an asshole thing. When he gets there he discovers Counter-Earth is run by the High Evolutionary and his race of animal-men called Beastials who oppress normal humans. The show, while it definitely wasn't very good, had some things going for it. I can appreciate that they were trying to do something different and I really like the nanite costume.


Alright so enough background, let's tear into the comic book tie in to this show. Specifically issue 4. Why issue 4? Because it's the only one I could find. So this issue starts out with Peter riding hover bikes to the park with his landlord Naoko and her black son. I can't remember if her son was back in the cartoon or not but he is in this comic. Anyways they get to talking about what is outside Manhattan and Peter decides to explore beyond the city. He ends up in a swamp and is attacked by octopus tentacles (hence the cover) then he wakes up in a bed where he is greeted by an old back guy and a man with an octopus for a head. No it's not C'thulu that would make this comic way to interesting, its just a guy with an octopus for a head. He finds out he is in the hidden city of Harmony where humans and beastials live side by side. He is then told he can't leave because the city's location must be kept a secret. Then while trying to get out he is smuggled out by a blond girl who may or may not be the counter earth version of Gwen Stacy.

Fuck me where to begin, first of all this comic is nothing if not boring. But there's a bigger flaw here, isn't the whole point of Marvel making a comic tie in to one of its cartoons to be a bridge for kids to get them into comics? To turn kids watching cartoons into comic book readers? If so this comic book does a terrible job of that. Lets put aside the issue of whether Spider-man Unlimited was a good enough show to get kids into Spider-man. Spider-man encounters  (maybe) counter earth Gwen Stacy but he never explains to the readers who Gwen Stacy was and why they should care. Also wasn't Spider-man Unlimited supposed to be a continuation of Spider-man: The Animated Series? Gwen Stacy wasn't in that show (except for a brief cameo by an alternate reality Gwen in the Spider-wars episodes). Also we never even say whether this even is counter-earth Gwen. This story goes nowhere, has no point, and certainly wasn't going to get any curious kid hooked onto comics.

Thankfully in recent years Marvel has gotten much better as all ages comics, especially with its Marvel Adventures line. Its debatable how well of a marketing job Marvel does when it comes to actually getting those books to kids but at least the books themselves are well executed.

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