Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man "Awesome"

This episode was flat-out called “Awesome.” You know, I’m reminded of the old sailor’s superstition that if you give a ship a boastful name like, say, “Titanic,” then you’ve doomed that ship to suffer a terrible fate. I think the same idea might apply to this episode is all I’m saying.

Look at what you've wrought.
Spider-Man decides to plagiarize his Science Fair project, hijinks ensue, and the Juggernaut gets severely nerfed.

I’ve reviewed episodes with little plot before. And I’ve even praised episodes like that. Because usually they take that opportunity to flesh out the characters instead. But this episode is just badly paced. Three-quarters of it are buildup, and the rest of it is just the Sandwich Club corralling a giant baby like this was a remake of Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. Only less funny, somehow.

It’s clear that this episode was supposed to be a fun romp, but it wasn’t funny, and it wasn’t really much of a romp. Once the Android becomes a real threat, it gets taken care of within a few minutes. And it’s not like the whole episode was building to the Android’s rampage. For the first act of the entire episode, the Awesome Android is nowhere to be found.

I said that the chibi-transitions were a bit weird, but I think I know why they exist. If I had to guess, I’d say that this episode was envisioned as a wacky adventure with a threat that kept growing out of control in increasingly humorous ways. But regardless of the vision, the end result is a badly-paced mess of an episode.

Don’t lie, because your lie will grow out of control.


Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Peter Parker has reached the pinnacle of irresponsibility: stealing for a Science Fair project. How am I supposed to believe that he made his own web shooter when he can’t even be bothered to whip up a density column? Take a large beaker, fill it with water, oil, alcohol, and soap; they’ll form independent layers. Add different kinds of plastic beads, which will float on the different layers. Boom. Project.

Peter Parker is a piece of crap. And for the most part, he’ll keep failing to learn any sort of lesson, despite being the poster boy for responsibility. Our hero.

Luke Cage/Power Man 
After a reader left a comment pointing out a specific part I might want to go back and re-watch, I went ahead and retconned this examination of Power Man into the Review. I can only imagine I was too fixated on Peter's recurring irresponsibility to notice what was going on with Luke because... dang.

So, that part where Luke and Peter salvaged Ava and Sam's project to weaponize it? Here's a quote.

Power Man: "I believe in two things, Spider-Man. You're only as good as your word, and second chances. And I wouldn't be much of a friend if I didn't offer the same to you."

A noble sentiment, but previous episodes have shown that he really isn't much of a friend for various reasons. And let's break that statement down even further.

"You're only as good as your word..."

Well, then that must mean you think Peter's a piece of crap. He's been lying to you about completing the assignment for weeks, then he came along with a stolen project to pass off as his own.

"...and second chances."

You gave Peter a second chance. And a third. And a fourth. And so on. you reminded him every single day since the project began. Peter has basically proven that he doesn't deserve to be trusted.

And yet, Luke heads off with Peter to get yelled at by Coulson and/or Fury about the Awesome Android incident.

Luke is 100% innocent in the whole deal. All he did was trust Peter to do the science project. Peter not only betrayed that trust, but caused the day's events by stealing the Android. Sure, you could argue that Luke's disappointment in Peter led him to steal the Android, but that would basically be condemning Luke for expecting Peter to keep a promise.

I mean... holy crap, how did I miss that? No, more important question, how did the writers miss that?

Awesome Android
A pale imitation of his comic book self. An invention stolen by the evil Mad Thinker (as opposed to the irresponsible Peter Parker) and used as a weapon until it gained a conscience. Turning him into a giant baby is just a bad joke.

And where were his cool mimicry powers?
Nothing special, apart from those odd scene transitions that seem like they’re left over from whatever idea meeting resulted in Spider-Man literally turning into toast onscreen.

Final Thoughts
This was not a good episode. But this time, it’s for different reasons than usual. Other episodes might fail because I can’t root for the so-called heroes, or the plot makes no sense, or so on. But this episode fails structurally. It’s badly-paced, has no plot to buoy up the lack of humor, and has no humor to buoy up the lack of plot. Also, Peter Parker is even more irresponsible than usual.

Next time, Spider-Man will return in… Goldfinger. See you then!


  1. I wonder why the makers of this ep used Awesome Andy at all. The only time he's ever been his own character was when he reformed and worked at She-Hulk's law firm. Wouldn't the Cosmic Cube served a better function as the plot device?

    Not to be pedantic, but Juggernaut's powers have never been lost due to being out of his costume, it's usually been from the loss of the gem that powers him. Losing the helmet only serves as means to use psychic powers against him.

    1. I think they were just flipping through the list of characters they were allowed to use and saw the word "Awesome."

      And yeah, I probably should have called them out for the Juggernaut losing his powers. But I didn't know if maybe the whole helmet thing was some wide-spread factual error, like how the "Captain America's shield is part Adamantium" mistake ended up in one of the Official Handbooks to the Marvel Universe.

    2. As such, I've adjusted the post accordingly to acknowledge this. Thanks!

  2. ...Wow. I have never seen a blogger miss so much in a recap (No offense).

    1. Actually, this was the review. The recap (which covers the events in more depth) can be found here:

    2. Watch this again, then listen to what Power Man says during the final fight and afterwards.

    3. Hm... yeah, I should probably address Power Man's behavior in this episode.

    4. There, that should do it. And while we're at it, I'd love to hear your own thoughts on the matter