Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Recap: Ultimate Spider-Man "Revealed"

It all comes to a head.

Questions will be answered.

Will Doctor Octopus ever get his revenge on Norman Osborn?

Will Norman Osborn finally create that unstoppable army?

Okay, yeah, that last one doesn’t need to be answered.

We all know Aunt May’s waiting for Tony Stark.
The episode begins with Peter Parker and Harry Osborn living it up in the back of a limo. Instead of popping bottles of champagne with gorgeous women, they're popping cans of apple-flavored soda. Or maybe it's apple juice. I still haven't figured out what this drink is since Wolverine was seen with one in "Freaky."

"Wooooo! Manzanita Sol!"
Based on the fact that Wolverine was drinking it, I'd be willing to entertain the thought that it was something along the lines of Redd's Apple Ale, but Norman Osborn is sitting across from them. Not even he is neglectful enough to ignore his underage son breaking multiple laws by opening up an alcoholic beverage inside a moving vehicle.

Anyway, Peter breaks the fourth wall to acknowledge that this sort of thing doesn't happen every day.

Peter Parker: "Sweet ride, right? You must be asking 'Why is Peter Parker, self-styled-science-geek-slash-superhero hanging in the back of a long, black limo?'"

No, actually, I'm wondering why a "self-styled science geek" only put those skills to use in a couple of episodes.

Peter Parker: "Well, it's not prom night, and I'm not the president."

Somehow, Peter, I kind of knew you weren't going to prom with Harry Osborn while wearing a long-sleeved pink shirt.

Peter Parker: "Today was report-card day. And Harry nailed it."

And Norman's so happy about his son's grades that he proposes a toast.

Norman Osborn: "To you, Peter."

Man, as this show continues, Norman's disappointment in his own son just gets funnier and funnier.

Norman Osborn: "Harry would be nothing but a C student, if not for you. You're a good friend to my son and this family."
Peter Parker: "Oh, you've got it wrong, Mr. Osborn. Harry did all the work. I just carried his books."
Norman Osborn: "Hm. Like I said, you're a good friend."

Before Norman's passive-aggression can reach critical mass, though, the limo pulls up in front of that most fancy of restaurants, Restaurante. They get out of the limo when the universe suddenly notices that Peter Parker is happy. And since this throws off the balance of the universal order, the cosmos corrects that by having his communicator go off. Power Man on the other end says that they need his help.

Peter Parker: "Now? Aww, I about to be treated to the most incredible meal of my life."

I don't know, Spidey. The last time one of your enemies gave you free food, you turned into a pig.

White Tiger: "Yes, now."

So because S.H.I.E.L.D. apparently doesn't have any backup operatives other than a minor in a body stocking, and the Avengers are canonically broken up at this point, Peter finds himself having to tell Harry about a sudden emergency that he's definitely not making up.

Peter Parker: "Some sort of goldfish emergency."

You know, if Peter had used that excuse earlier in the series, then I'd probably be calling his team "the Goldfish Emergency." 

Which works better as an alt-rock band name, so I think I lucked out with “Sandwich Club.”
Peter Parker: "Hey, look at it this way. You'll finally get some good one-on-one time with your dad."

But as Harry watches Peter leave, Norman gets a call.

Doctor Octopus: "The plan is in motion."

So Norman excuses himself as well, though he hands Harry his credit card. Once again, Norman Osborn throws money at his son and tells him to feed himself.

Norman Osborn: "Order yourself something worthy of a B-minus."

No sprinkles, then.
After Norman leaves in the limo, Harry tosses the credit card onto the sidewalk. And I can only imagine that later tonight, some hobo is going to have the night of his life with that thing.

Spider-Man watches Harry walk off from a nearby rooftop as opposed to rendezvousing with his team at that emergency.

Spider-Man: "I hate having to ditch Harry like that. It's stressful having to juggle this 'friends and family' stuff. But with great responsibility comes.... [sigh] great responsibility."

Alright, show, you asked for it.

From this point on, every time Peter neglects his great responsibility (not simply when he makes a mistake, but when he actively chooses to ignore or defy his great responsibility), I'm making a note of it.

Watching his friend from a rooftop when he should be rushing to an emergency? That's one.

Spider-Man: "At least one part of my life is running on all cylinders. I'm figuring out this whole 'Ultimate Spider-Man' thing."

I think that's what the writers said when they started working on Season 2.

Anyway, Spidey webs on over to the emergency and decides to pause the action while he explains who they're all fighting.

Spider-Man: "Wizard, Thundra, Klaw, and Trapster. Otherwise known as the Frightful Four."

As established in the series premiere and "I am Spider-Man." Which is why Spider-Man's telling us who they are again. I mean, we can't possibly be expected to remember something they've only told us twice.

Apparently, the Frightful Four are attacking an Oscorp warehouse. And the Sandwich Club is actually doing a much better job than usual holding their own.

Spider-Man: "The team has really gelled. See how we're fighting? It's a thing o' beauty. And I'm their leader."

Which calls attention to the fact that he's not actually leading them. Heck, he's barely even fighting. And when the Wizard comes down to attack him, he gets upset.

Spider-Man: "Do you mind? I'm trying to talk here."

After punching him across the room, he continues.

Spider-Man: "If I could just get the Peter Parker side of things working as smoothly, I'd be golden."

I'll admit that this is more of a metafictional example, but Spider-Man is shirking his responsibility to talk to the audience instead of assisting his team. That's 2.

Anyway, the Trapster reveals that this whole thing was a trap and unleashes a swarm of Octo-bots before running away with the other three villains.

Spider-Man: "I skipped out on a $500 hamburger for this?"

But it's time for Spider-Man to lead that team of his, so he shouts out the game plan as only he can. So come on, Spidey. What's your big strategy?

Spider-Man: "Alright, people. We've trained for this! Let's take 'em out!"

...Yeah, I can really see why they needed Spider-Man to lead them. It's not like they would have known to use their training to fight these enemies.

I know I'm being pretty harsh right now, but Spider-Man has barely contributed in this fight so far. And not only that, but he barely contributes in the rest of the fight, which lasts around 45 seconds. The Octo-bots get primarily taken out by Nova, who simply flies them away. And the rest are smashed by Power Man.

Heck, even White Tiger, who demanded Spider-Man's presence, points out the fact that they really didn't need him at all.

White Tiger: "That wasn't so tough. Spidey made these Octo-bots sound like they'd be real trouble."

Except Spider-Man isn't there. At the moment, he's home in bed, acting out the end of The Wizard of Oz with MJ, Harry, and Aunt May. And Nick Fury as a scarecrow, Jameson as a lion, and Nova as a flying monkey.

What, no love for the Tin Man? That's just begging for an Iron Man cameo!
When Spidey wakes up, the color returns and he finds himself in a rather familiar evil lair. Yet again, Spider-Man has found himself at the mercy of Doctor Octopus. Sans tentacles, after that whole incident in "The Iron Octopus."

Spider-Man: "I'm not even sure I can call you 'Doc Ock' anymore. 'Doc Jellyfish' or 'Doc Slug' maybe, but that's as far as I go."

Looks more like Doc Fetus to me.
Spidey attempts to secretly contact the team, but Ock seems to have swiped his S.H.I.E.L.D. communicator.

Doctor Octopus: "Unlike you, I learn from my mistakes."

Heh. I knew there was a reason I liked Ock.

And he assures Spidey that there won’t be any interruptions. Just Spider-Man, Doc Ock, and his revenge. …And a plus one that Ock doesn’t mention. Perhaps there is more to this revenge than meets the eye?

But even though Doc Ock's threat carry a lot of weight, since he seems to be the most competent out of all the villains so far, Spider-Man keeps the sarcasm flying in the face of his imminent demise.

Over with the other members of the Sandwich Club, they're on the radio with Fury. He informs them that he's got people searching for Spider-Man's communicator. Unfortunately, Doc Ock set to give out several ghost signals, making tracking it down harder. But one of the smashed Octo-bots unleashes a smaller, slower drone, which the Sandwich Club follows in the hopes that it's returning to Ock's base.

Speaking of Ock's base, Doc Ock collects a new sample of Spider-Man's blood. Spider-Man's curious as to why Ock wants his blood, so Ock starts spilling the beans about his previous experiments with earlier samples.

Spider-Man: "That looks a lot like... Venom!"
Doctor Octopus: "Yeeeesssss... You could consider him a close relative."

After a jarring cutaway gag to Thanksgiving with Venom, Ock admits that Venom wasn't perfect. Namely, it was uncontrollable. But that was at the beginning of the season. With all the data-gathering and experimenting Ock's done since then, he's confident that he can create something better this time.

And so, Doc Ock does... science. Of some kind. His monitor zooms in on the red blood cells in Spidey's sample until the DNA, and the blood, turns green. Maybe he added Gamma radiation?

Or some kind of green apple drink?
But when Doctor Octopus turns around, Spidey's escaped. And then he reappears in front of Doctor Octopus for no other reason than to gloat about escaping while Doc Ock simply stares. This gives Spider-Man ample time to prepare for the Octo-bots when they arrive to try and subdue him.

After defeating the Octo-bots by crashing them into Doctor Octopus's support rig, Spider-Man's spider-sense goes off.

Spider-Man: "Okay, Doc. What else you got up your tentacle?"

Once again, spider-sense is proven to be utterly pointless.

He's ignored it to eat an enchanted hot dog, he failed to act on it before a remote-controlled Iron Man armor attacked, and his only reaction to it this time was to ask Doc Ock what he was planning while someone else reached out to deliver an electric shock to him from behind. Doc Ock's right. Spider-Man doesn't learn from his mistakes.

Why do the writers even keep bringing it up if they're just going to ignore it?
Reeling from the pain on the ground, Spider-Man looks up to see none other than Norman Osborn, using an improved version of the gauntlet from "The Iron Octopus."

Spider-Man: "Are you telling me in that I-Just-Tazed-You-Bro sort of way that you work for Doc Ock?"

Remember in "The Iron Octopus" when Dr. Octopus revealed that he'd been working for Norman Osborn this entire time? And Spider-Man wasn't sure if Ock was telling the truth, but vowed to keep a closer eye on Osborn just in case?

Remember all that?

The writers apparently didn't. Because Spidey is not only shocked that Norman Osborn is evil, but he assumes that Norman is working for Octavius. Maybe he’s just woozy from having too much blood taken?

Norman Osborn: "Work for him? Oh, hardly. Otto is my employee. I hired him to obtain your DNA."

So... you guys are just going to leave the quadriplegic dude on the floor?
After zapping Spidey again, Norman rants about how he'll harness Spider-Man's power to put it to better use.

Norman Osborn: "Imagine! An unstoppable arachnid army under my control! I will crush the competition! Neither S.H.I.E.L.D. nor Stark will be able to challenge Oscorp supremacy!"

Okay. What does this plan even mean? Let's take it sentence by sentence.

The "unstoppable arachnid army under my control" bit implies that he'll use said army to take control of America, or the world, or some such. And yet his very next sentence about crushing "the competition," rather than "my enemies," implies that his plan still involves Oscorp dealing weapons (i.e. Arachni-soldiers) to the highest bidder. And the third sentence could really go either way, depending on whether he sees Tony Stark as a weapons dealer or a superhero.

It's almost as if the writers didn't think Norman's motivations through here because he was about to undergo a major change in motivation....

We'll have to wait a while before we see any sort of... "Web Warriors."
Spider-Man wonders how he could have missed the clues before thinking back to Norman Osborn ripping up articles about Spider-Man, angrily swiping at holograms of Spider-Man while driving to dinner, and even just tossing a bunch of headshots of Spider-Man into Harry and Peter's campfire.

Spider-Man: "Well, when you put it that way...."

I have no idea whether or not those were supposed to be flashbacks or imaginary bits. And honestly... I kind of hope that they're flashbacks. Because I actually would consider that to be funny. Certainly funnier than the majority of the cutaway gas in this series.

So congratulations, show. Your rapid-fire humor hit the target.

Norman shocks Spidey again before getting a little up close and personal.

Norman Osborn: "I've been following you for so long I know everything about you. I almost feel like we're family...."
Spider-Man: "Ugh... you have no idea."

But before Norman can slowly peel away Spider-Man's mask, Doctor Octopus has already gotten inside an octopus-suit, which he uses to inject Norman with the new sample.

Norman Osborn: "What did you do!?"
Doctor Octopus: "I just gave you everything you ever wanted Norman."

Norman immediately falls over and goes through the standard transformation pains. On the ground, moaning, groaning, grunting, twitching, et cetera.

Spider-Man: "It doesn't pay to turn your back on anyone today."

Over with the Sandwich Club, the mini-octo-drone is taking forever to get anywhere, so White Tiger suggests that Nova should supercharge it.

Nova: "Good idea. Glad I thought of it."

As they follow the supercharged drone, Norman keeps convulsing as Spider-Man gets tied up by tentacles.

Norman Osborn: "After all I've done for you...."
Doctor Octopus: "'For' me? 'For' me? You treated me like a slave! Destroyed my lab with me in it! You turned me into this. All you've done for me is give me pain."

Unless they're selling Tylenol.
And so, Ock gave some of that pain back by injecting Norman with what Norman thought was a Spider-Soldier Serum.

Doctor Octopus: "I've injected you with a fusion of Venom's and Spider-Man's DNA."

And this time, Ock should be able to control the resulting... whatever Norman becomes.

As Ock and Norman have their moment, Spidey attempts to escape, only to be slammed into a wall by Doc Ock.

Doctor Octopus: "After all of your schemes of catching Spider-Man and stealing his DNA, you never realized he belonged to you all along! His powers are a product of Oscorp technology. Although I have yet to discover how it happened, Spider-Man is your greatest accomplishment!"

And so the story pauses so a chibi version of Spider-Man dressed up like a stereotypical director can tell that old tale.

Spider-Director: "Spidey origin, Take 3,043."

And he takes us through a very abridged version of the origin. The cutaway might be about as jarring as most of the comedic cutaways, but at least they're admitting that we've seen Spider-Man's origin a million times before. Props.

Ock puts a shock collar on Norman to prepare for his transformation while preparing to turn Spider-Man inside out to see what makes him tick.

Doctor Octopus: "Fortunately, I no longer need you alive for that. In fact, dissection is desirable."

Although the spinning buzzsaw seems to indicate that the dissection will start off as vivisection for at least the first few seconds.

But before Spidey can get carved open, the Sandwich Club arrives to save the day. Doc Ock starts fighting them, even though Spidey tells them that Ock's merely distracting them from Norman's little hulk-out session. The DNA of both Spider-Man and Venom merges with Norman's own, somehow turning him into what is essentially a bald Hulk with spikes and elf ears.

Wait, what?
Obviously, Norman was going to turn all Green and Gobliny... but Spider-Man and Venom? How? what combination of Spider-Man DNA and Venom gave him green skin? Or pointy ears? Why doesn't he have anything resembling spider-powers?

I don't know, Doctor.
It's a safe bet that you'll turn into a white guy with a British accent, judging from past experience.
Now, Ock's ensuing speech here seems to hint that Norman Osborn's gobliny new look is actually a result of his exterior transforming to match his evil, evil heart. But since future episodes will feature this mixture as a "Gobin Serum" that goblinizes anyone injected with it, I'm throwing up my hands in defeat and moving on. 

Spider-Man: "What am I gonna tell Harry?"

We then cut to an imaginary bit where Peter doesn't so much tell Harry as he does just say "You're dad's a monster" in retaliation for Harry beating him at video games. Then Green Goblin-style Norman comes over and tells Harry he left a thousand dollars for him to buy food. Which, as we've seen repeatedly, is exactly how Norman looks after his own son.

The Goblin attempts to fight back, so Ock activates the shock collar. Which is when the Goblin simply rips it off before taking his aggressions out on his creator while the Sandwich Club starts running out of the burning lair.

Spider-Man says that they're not really retreating, they're just regrouping with S.H.I.E.L.D. But the Goblin unleashes a few electric shocks that stop them before they can get away. The entire Sandwich Club gets taken out, save for Spider-Man. Which means that once again, the team is being sidelined to focus on Spider-Man's story. I'll talk about that more when I review Season 1 as a whole.

For now, Spider-Man and the Goblin fight each other until Spider-Man has the big guy at his mercy.

Spider-Man: "I should beat you into a paste... but I'm not going to. It's not your fault. You don't have to be this... this Green Goblin.”

Have you tried not being a Goblin?

Spider-Man: “Let me help you."

But the Goblin refuses and just tries to punch his way out of the building while Spidey tries to reach the man within.
Also, I just noticed that his gauntlet has the ability to grow to cover his now-giant fist. Convenient.
Spider-Man: "Whatever Doc Ock did to you, it didn't change the fact that you love your son!"

What show were you watching, Spidey? Norman ignores, insults, and berates his son any chance he gets with no hint that he even cares for the kid. It's you he loves like a son.

But the Green Goblin yells out his first words in defiance....

Green Goblin: "Osborn no more! Only Goblin!"

...and attacks again. But Spidey shoves Green Goblin taser-glove right back in his own face before crashing through the wall, revealing that Doc Ock's new lair was inside Oscorp the whole time. And on an upper level, no less.

More fighting ensues, and the Green Goblin swings Spider-Man around on his own web, which I find particularly funny in retrospect, since that's one of the attacks Batman used against Superman in Dawn of Justice.

I found Dawn of Justice to be particularly funny, too, but that's beside the point.
Eventually, the place is in flames and the Green Goblin has Spidey at his mercy.

But there's still multiple seasons to cover, so the Goblin won't be putting a quick end to this.
Green Goblin: "Spider. Goblin. Same blood. Spider. Goblin. Family."

The Green Goblin escapes the burning building as S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives to mobilze around Oscorp as the Sandwich Club stands outside, somehow, tending to their injuries. So… I guess they escaped. Off screen.

Spider-Man emerges from the smoke and ashes sans Goblin, meaning that the big guy's still out there somewhere. Spidey passes out as Harry sees the wreckage of his home while walking there.

Harry Osborn: "Dad!"

Welcome to the plot, Harry! Glad you could make it. Goodbye.
From on a nearby rooftop, Green Goblin looks down at his son, no doubt already planning out the events of the next episode....

Later, on the helicarrier, Nick Fury commends the team for their job, but Spider-Man's having none of it. Not only did he let Harry down, but the monster Norman turned into is still out there.

Peter Parker: "Let's face it, Fury. You tried to make me the Ultimate Spider-Man, and all I am is the Ultimate failure."

I'm restraining myself from turning that into a metaphor for the show as a whole.

It doesn't help that Peter says it directly to the audience.
Nick Fury: "We'll get Osborn."
Peter Parker: "We? You don't get it Fury. There is no 'we.' It's my DNA, my friend's dad, my problem!”

Peter Parker: “I was a solo act. But against my better judgement I joined this crew and now I put everyone I care about in harm's way. No one else gets hurt because of me. It's my mess, I have to clean it up. I'm gonna take care of the Green Goblin and... I'm gonna do it alone."


  1. Compared to other evil teams, Frightful Four just didn't quite caught on, didn't they? Fantastic 4 have a pretty strong villain gallery, and yet what suppose to be their anti-thesis is now reduced to Osborn's lackeys. You don't see DC having The Rogues as Batman's punching bags while Joker schemes.

    - Faceless Enigma

    1. Well, the Frightful Four needs to get SOME use ever since Marvel decided to break up the team to spite Fox. I see your point, but I'm just happy to see them.