What’s up everybody? I haven’t done this since Adam West died, but I’ve done some baseball in between that I hope you’ve been enjoying. In the interest of keeping up with
current events, though, I thought it was high time to do another cartoon review to coincide with the new release of SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING. Spoiler, since there’s no podcast anymore, it’s good! I’d give it a…hmmm…quadruple main man! Four stars! It’s not a perfect movie, but I think they did about as good a job with re-introducing Spidey to fans since he’s been the odd man out during this entire MCU build.
But enough about a movie! We’re here for cartoons today! Though there has been about a hundred different iterations of animated Spider-Men, I chose an episode that from a show known as a Spider-Man piece. If you were a listener of the podcast, you know that I was consistently singing the praises of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes which debuted in 2010. It was something I first discovered on Netflix and I was hooked from the get.
I was never much an actual comic book guy, so a lot of my knowledge of superheroes and their universes and the mythologies come from eavesdropping on my friends or through cartoon adaptations. I’ve always loved cartoons, but for some reason, could never do the comic thing. It’s not because of the reading either; I actually enjoy reading and do so rather voraciously, but just one of those things.
There was one day where I sat on my couch with my pot dealer, Joey, and literally watched the entirety of Season 1 in one shot. Twenty-six episodes, one right after the other. We never got sick of it or even thought about stopping. By the conclusion of Season 1, not only were we wired, we couldn’t wait for Season 2. This show fucking killed it in terms of interesting characters, plots and continuity.
It also served to teach me significantly about the background of the Avengers and what they were about since all I really knew was what was being presented through Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There were names that I was semi-familiar with, but things like the Kree, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ultron and quite a bit more were all introduced to me through this show.
I can’t recommend it enough if you’ve never seen it. I wish it had gone on longer, but was cancelled after just two seasons so a new series – Avengers Assemble! – could start in its place that more closely mirrored what was happening in the movies. Tis a shame.
Regardless, the episode we’re watching today is from Season 2 and is called “Along Came A Spider”. Seeing as how I already referenced Spider-Man, I guess you can assume who makes an appearance. I chose this episode of all the Spider-Man possibilities since it’s Spidey getting introduced to The Avengers in a similar set-up to the new movie. Not a carbon copy by any means, but just how The Avengers are already an established brand and Spidey looks up to them. It’s a fun little extension from the regular story, as we’ll get into in a bit, but actually laid the groundwork for a later appearance by Spider-Man (and Wolverine and the Thing and Luke Cage and Iron Fist and War Machine) as part of the New Avengers which is a story and episode review for a later time. OK, so now that I’ve gotten all this background out of the way, let’s watch a goddamn cartoon.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes S.2,E.13 “Along Came A Spider”
Original Air Date: July 22, 2012
The Avengers are still dealing with the fallout from Earth nearly being overtaken by the Skrulls. Captain America, who was kidnapped and replaced by one of the shape-shifting aliens early and then became the spokesman in favor of surrendering to them, has been the subject of repeated hatchet jobs by editor-in-chief of The Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson.
The statue of Cap and Bucky that had been displayed in New York since World War 2 has been vandalized by regular, everyday citizens because of their broken trust after the whole situation with Cap and the Skrulls. Cap is obviously disheartened since we all know how virtuous he is.
It needs to be said, that Season 2 of this show kind of drops the ball in a big way. That comes with the theme song. Season 1 featured the song “Fight As One” by Bad City in your basic montage video that really got you hyped for the show.
Season 2 however deviated by making it a shorter bit with less song and more voiceover that really loses a lot of the effect it had in Season 1 in the opinion of this humble blogger.
See what I mean? You can judge for yourself, but the Season 2 opening just didn’t do it for me.
OK…what were we talking about? Oh…Captain America is sad. Boy howdy, is he sad.
Tony Stark is meeting with J. Jonah Jameson about his slam jobs on Captain America, but Triple J just ain’t having it. Stark brings up that this is the same shit money has been pulling with Spider-Man for years and Jameson flips his shit that superheroes aren’t real heroes like police, firefighters or newspaper publishers.
Jonah says that if Stark wants the mood to change, he’ll need to see proof or get an interview with one of those Skrull aliens. Tony surprisingly keeps his cool because I would have been backhanded this print-media fuckboi twice at this point. By this point, it was 2012. People already been cancelling newspaper subscriptions. There is no need to still be taking shit from J. Jonah Jameson. Stark keeps himself composed because he’s a much better man than I and offers an interview with Captain America so Jonah can print the real story. Jonah seems appeased and orders Betty Brant and Peter Parker (oh my god, that’s Spider-Man’s name!!!!) to go with Stark to get the exclusive with Cap.
The Avengers are working with SHIELD to oversee a prisoner transfer that is being protested by a horde of angry New Yorkers all calling Cap a traitor. He takes it in stride and they begin moving the prisoners to the Baxter Building. Why there? It’s classified.
During the transfer, the convoy is attacked by the Serpent Society who is looking to free Viper and Cobra. Cap runs off to try to thwart the attack with Hawkeye while Peter Parker disappears to tag-in Spider-Man.
As far as attacks go, the Serpent Society really did a helluva job here. They incapacitate the SHIELD agents with relative ease and even tie up Cap and Hawkeye like it ain’t no thang. Dude even hits Cap with a “we’re supposed to be the snakes, but you’re the one who sold out the whole planet”. Oooooooooh, sick fucking burn.
Just when it looks like the jig is up, Spider-Man comes swinging through and is able to temporarily free Cap. Spidey introduces himself to the first Avenger, but just as he does, the road caves in, crashing into the subway station below ground. Spider-Man, to his credit, is marking out hard for Cap despite having almost killed hundreds of people in the subway.
Cap and Spidey start rounding up all the people they can to bring to safety, but these people want no help from Cap because of the recent circumstances. Spider-Man is trying hard to defend his hero, but Cap tells him to quit it. He gets that he’s not going to earn back people’s trust in an argument.
While leading a group of people through the tunnel, Spidey asks Cap straight out why he doesn’t defend himself against all these negative articles and feelings. Cap replies that they say worse about Spidey which he says is horrible. Captain America then gives us one of the great inspirational monologues that can be given. Just the first 50 seconds or so of this video shall do.
If you don’t want to be such a better person right now, then fuck you, bro.
After another battle with the snakes that leaves the tunnel system further crumbling, the civilians finally stand up for Cap who is being overwhelmed by the entire Serpent Society by throwing rocks at our villains while Spider-Man strains to hold an enormous piece of concrete from collapsing and burying them all in a rocky grave.
Eventually the bad guys realize the state of the tunnel and retreat as Cap tries to figure out a way to get the people to safety since the tunnel has been cut off by falling rock on both sides. At that moment, the Avengers show up by cutting a giant hole in the street above which is then politely removed by Thor giving an easy exit for our heroes.
The next day in the Bugle, the headline says Cap saved people from the Serpent Society AND Spider-Man because J. Jonah Jameson just has to keep fucking with our man here. Cap and Spidey share a moment about how the people down there know the truth about Spider-Man who then takes off to web Jonah’s mouth shut since Cap said it was cool.
I’m not going to pretend like this is my favorite episode in the series because it’s not, but it’s definitely solid and does a very cool job of integrating Spider-Man into the overall universe.
Much like the current movie, Spider-Man is a kid (mentioned as 17 years-old here) who is very much aware of the Avengers standing in the world and looks up to them while being intimidated by being in their presence. I really like the way he obviously looks up to Cap while still being in enough of his own world to not seriously intrude on any Avengers happenings.
Throughout this series, I always come back to how well-written Captain America is. Like I said in the intro, I was never a comic book fan, so if somebody ever asked who my favorite superhero was, I just said Spider-Man. He was the most recognizable Marvel hero for basically my entire life before the MCU began and totally flipped that around.
This show made me love Captain America. Chris Evans is great in the movies and WINTER SOLDIER is probably my favorite of all the Marvel movies to date, but the way the Cap character is presented in this series is terrific. It’s like if you took the DNA from all of the best people the ever existed and mixed it up, you’d get Captain America. It’s exactly the opposite of what Dr. Mindbender did to create Serpentor.
Captain America is an incredible throwback to a time when that values of what it meant to be an American – like a real patriotic America and not someone who just waves a flag or uses buzzwords – were very real and, to paraphrase Phil Coulson, with everything going on today, we could use a little old-fashioned.
All in all, a terrific story where Captain America truly shows off just what makes him Captain America all the while including our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and giving him the rub and some credibility for the future.
Like I said before, I can’t recommend this show enough. It’s easily one of my all-time favorite cartoons and – as someone who was pretty unfamiliar with the Avengers lineage – was a great way to learn a lot of stuff about the Avengers while being incredibly entertained. I believe they’ve removed it from Netflix, but it is on DVD, Blu-Ray or you can stream-for-pay on Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, etc.
It’s out there. Definitely check it out. So worth the time.