Ultimate Spider-Man


Season 1, Episode 3

Written by Man of Action

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

"Alone Against A.I.M."

Season 2, Episode 2

Written by Kevin Burke, Chris Wyatt

We're now past the pilot phase of Ultimate Spider-Man, and "Doomed" likely isn't going to convert any folks turned off from the two-part first episode.

And maybe, that's OK — the show, with its rampant fourth-wall breaking and frequent dream sequences, is clearly committed to its very distinct style, and though it might not be for everybody, it still presents a unique vision that's different from the many Spider-Man cartoons that have come before. And when it works, it can be genuinely funny, like the multiple cutaways to Spidey's jet pack fantasies or Agent Coulson taking his duties as Midtown High's undercover principal much more seriously than expected.

It's also proving to deliver action along with the humor, with one playing into the other fairly naturally in "Doomed." Spider-Man and the rest of the team want to prove their superhero worth, so they go after the biggest bad guy possible — Dr. Doom — which has unpleasant and unintended consequences. Nova is set up here as an obvious rival to Spider-Man throughout the episode, which is contrasted nicely by the friendship between Power Man and Iron Fist, familiar even with both characters re-cast as high school students. (White Tiger remains on the fringe as the pragmatic one looking to keep to herself.)

Dr. Doom is a curious choice of villain for an early Ultimate Spider-Man episode, if for no reason other than he was also featured heavily in last week's Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes second season premiere, in what could very well be a complete coincidence. Despite the tone difference between the two shows, the portrayals were pretty consistent with each other, though the "real" Doom was seen only briefly this week.


Speaking of EMH, "Alone Against A.I.M." played much more like an episode from an Iron Man solo series, with Pepper Potts, James Rhodes and Maria Hill all playing major roles; Skrull-Cap and Black Panther are the only other Avengers present. The bad guy of the week is A.I.M. creation Technovore, a technology-consuming creature based on a fairly obscure '90s villain.

As Technovore worms his way through Stark Industries, technology becomes compromised, a big problem for a guy like Tony Stark. Ultimately, it provides the backdrop for Maria Hill to pester Tony more about superhero registration, showing again that not only is some approximation of Secret Invasion brewing, but a Civil War also appears to be on the horizon.

It's fun to see Rhodey cut loose in his full War Machine regalia in this episode, and even if it doesn't necessarily seem like he's going to become a frequent member of the cast, based on that superhero-packed image released last month, viewers haven't seen the last of him.

Worth noting:

- Shorts this week were a "What Would It Take" on Captain America's shield, a new "Marvel Mash-Up," a "Marvel Master Class" on Thor (is it ever not fun to hear people say "Mjolnir" out loud?) and a "Fury Files" on Luke Cage. That last one was notable for fleshing out the background of the Ultimate Spider-Man version of the character, and the fact that the comic book art shown was of Victor Alvarez, the Power Man introduced in the comics during 2010's Shadowland event.

- It's always interesting to see which latest kid-targeted products are advertised during shows like these, and Sunday's commercials, along with the usual Bratz and Nerf spots, included — a TurboTax ad? (Tax Day is only a week away, and apparently not even kids ages 6 to 14 can escape it.)

- Spidey's list of past villains he's taken out included the Melter, Toad, Whirlwind and (as seen last week) the Frightful Four — a list noticeably devoid of classic Spider-Man villains, who presumably will be introduced over the course of the series.

- As seen in the image above, Tony Stark was building the energy shield from Cap's Steve Rogers: Super Soldier days during a meeting, which was probably nothing more than a wink to the fans, but, well, sometimes winks are cool.

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