The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Well, this didn't take long...

I wasn't going to watch it. I really wasn't going to watch it. But I was hanging out with my brother, we were planning to watch the season premiere of "Avengers - Earth's Mightiest Heroes." and there was an hour to kill. My brother had the remote control. You can see where this is going. This is more than a little embarrassing.

My last post was written as April Fool's joke. I had not seen the show yet, and still had no intention of watching it. I said as much, because, frankly, I wanted to save myself the grief and annoyance of people pointing out my biases, which I admit are very real. I love "Spectacular Spider-Man," I am friends with Greg Weisman. Everyone knows this, I admit it, I am biased. So, with that out of the way.... and admit it, some of you were looking forward to this.

Remember all my reviews of "ThunderCats?" I don't know where to start with this show. "Ultimate Spider-Man" makes "ThunderCats" look like "Legend of Korra." This show sucks big, fat, puss spewing, venereal diseased, scab covered, prison inmate cock! Sweet, titty-fucking Moses, this was a piece of shit! Now I know how all the people who went to see "Batman and Robin" (a movie I've never seen myself) felt. This goes beyond being targeted at younger audiences... this is being targeted at the most ADD of younger audiences!

The jokes were not funny. Not a single one. And the style of the humor... if Seth MacFarlane ever made a superhero cartoon, this would be it. Everyone and everything is played for a laugh, and it's not even a good a laugh! It's like an 80's cartoon made for 2012! One of the villains got beaten by slipping on a bowl of jello! A BOWL OF JELLO!!!!! And why does Mary Jane Watson want to be a Daily Bugle photographer!? And Norman Osborn is one of my favorite villains of all time... and they made him so, so... generic! Boring! And honestly, who cares about the Frightful Four and why are they the villains in a debut episode of a SPIDER-MAN SHOW?!? And, oh shit... are they really going for the "I've been in love with MJ since we were four years old" take again... I think they are. Fuck.

On top of all this, the show is so schizophrenic. You cannot be "Family Guy" one minute and try to be "Batman" the next. As another reviewer, Dread, said on superhero hype:

If the show wanted to be a sheer comedy it might work a little better, but it also wants to play certain moments dead straight which clash against it like a ballerina at a death metal rave.

The voice acting was pretty wretched also. Drake Bell makes me miss Christopher Daniel Barnes! He sounds like he has marbles in his mouth! Steven Webber as Norman Osborn is so generic. Tara Strong as MJ is okay, nothing great, but not terrible. Aunt May sounds like she's thirty-five years old. Ugh... well, I suppose I liked Clark Gregg as Agent Coulsen, but even he sounded like he was phoning it in.

Oh, Flash Thompson... what did they do to you? They took one of the best characters in Peter Parker's supporting cast, and turned him into a one dimensional joke. And it's the same joke. He tries to stuff Peter into a locker, and ends up stuck in there himself. They do this twice (Actually, a lot of the jokes get repeated over and over)! You want to see the real Flash Thompson, watch "Spectacular Spider-Man." You know, the guy who would rather see his team lose the championship if they didn't win by playing fair. You know, that guy!

And, lookie... they gave Spider-Man a Spider-Cycle. SHIELD's lab techie, Curt Connors (who has TWO ARMS, BTW!) gave Spidey a spider-cycle! It fires webbing, it can stick to walls, and it can transform a little too! You know, exactly what Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and John Romita always thought Spidey should have! And it can be yours, for only $29.99 at Toys R' Us!!!!

The only upside to all this was the greater appreciation I now have for "Avengers - Earth's Mightiest Heroes" as a result from this. Don't get me wrong, it's a show I enjoy... even if I was very critical of it at times. I nitpicked the dialogue on that show, and quite a few of the contrivances. But it was still clever, it still had heart. And it had a lot more brains than this piece of baboon shit. "ThunderCats" still sucks though.

My brother was a bit more forgiving, but even he thought it was really bad. I gave it an F, he gave it a D-. And I saw Paul Dini's name in the credits, and I could not help but feel very, very sad for him. The best animated series are written on multiple levels. This, most certainly, is not. Well, maybe it's written for different ADHD levels. And if this is a sign of what Jeph Loeb thinks Marvel animation should be, well... brace yourselves for a lot of prison ass.

So, there. There's my review. You have a problem with it? Bring it on! You think I'm biased? Absolutely! I don't fucking give a shit. This show is........!

You know what, let me quote Dread from Superherohype one last time:

"Any mention of "TSSM" sort of seems bittersweet having just watched the start of "ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN". Without getting specific, at no point in it's rambling, incoherent 44 minutes did it come close to a rational thought. I am now dumber for having watched it. I award it no points, and may god have mercy on its soul."

On a much more pleasant note, the season premiere of "Avengers" was a lot of fun. Expect a review of that any day now.


  1. Where did you watch the season 2 premiere of Avengers? I've been looking all over the web and I can't find it.

    1. Never mind. I found it.
      The Nick Fury voice-over is bleh.

      Bring back "Fight As One". Speaking of score, I wish they release it in stores. Guy Michelmore's like Andrea Romano's successor when it comes to scoring animated superhero cartoons or film.

    2. Andrea Romano is a Voice Director. You're thinking of Shirley Walker.

    3. That's right Shirley Walker.

      (How dumb of me)

  2. Masterful review as always Greg. The voice of Aunt May is Misty Lee, Paul Dini's wife. It sounds very weird for AUnt May to sound that young but HOORAY for nepotism!

    1. I don't know if I would call it masterful.

    2. Better than anything I could come up with to describe my thoughts of this "cartoon".

  3. You know, I like to think I'm over TSSM and I was totally going in willing to judge this thing on it's own terms but... damn, it's just obnoxious.

    Personally, my biggest problem with the pilot was its complete lack of restraint or subtlety. The cutaway gags might not have bothered my so much if the show could go more then five seconds without them. People have compared the humor style to Teen Titans' but even at it's goofiest, Teen Titan's knew when to dial it down.

    1. I agree, but also I'm very shocked over the absence of character development and genuine consequences for Peter's actions. That's sort of what made that show stand out from every other cartoon.

  4. Great review, as always. I've just watched the first episode and am about to go onto the second. Man did you ever hit the nail on the head, with a sledgehammer.

    I suppose I should point out that in the Ultimate comics MJ is looking to go into journalism and Aunt May is a bit younger and did work a day job. However comics MJ had a 100 plus issues of character development to get her to that spot and comic May didn't do a dozen different things in the evening (you'd think after Ben died she'd want to spend time with Peter more, apparently not) she also had some wrinkles on her face.

    Flash was also less nuanced and had less character depth in the Ultimate comics compared to 616, but this show just turned him into the generic 80s cartoon bully.

    I'll probably do a larger post on Toonzone to really express my problems with the show, but it really feels like an 80s cartoon. Everything just felt so contrived, even him joining SHIELD which is the main plot of the show and they managed to screw it up. Peter held off Avengers and FF level threats on his own and the only way they could think to get him to join SHIELD was putting Harry in the hospital. Not him screwing up against people more powerful than him, or letting them get away, or being too cocky and getting sloppy. No it’s because some villains came to school looking for him and people got caught in the cross-fire because no one felt like running screaming from the room where a Supervillain fight was taking place. Not exactly something SHIELD training could’ve helped with.

    You know when someone asked Greg Weisman if the civilians in Young Justice get jaded over the big superhero events (like all the children/adults in the world suddenly going missing) and he said, “I hope not” I get the feeling this is what he meant. If you don’t flee in terror from a Supervillain and you wind up hurt then it’s your own damn fault.

    The more I think about this show the angrier I get. With series like Korra, Young Justice, Avengers, and even Green Lantern TAS, why do we have a new Spidey cartoon that’s so badly done?

    1. Because Jeph Loeb is a MORON!!!! I shudder to think at what "Avengers" is going to be like after episode 214 airs, and Yost/Fine are replaced.

      But, good lord this was an abortion. I hated every second of it. I don't know how many will believe it, but I was holding back a little with this review.

    2. Well, it sounds like Yost and Fine had a LITTLE bit of presence in those last 12 episodes. But yeah, I'm fearful of them too.

    3. My guess is after this season of Avengers: EMH, the show will be cancelled and replaced with a new show.

  5. Admit it Greg, your brother paid you to watch this, just like Transformers 3. :p

    If you were holding back with this review Greg, I want to see how you really felt. :)

    On another note, Norman Osborn may had been shown to be alive in TSSM's last episode as Mr. Roman. But I'm positive he's rolling over in his grave at how this version of Norman Osborn, and everyone else was portrayed.

    I read Ed Liu's review of this show at toonzone, and I wanted to know what show he was watching after I saw it. As a wrestling fan I have a higher tolerance for low brow crap than most, and this managed to piss me off more than Wrestling at it's worst does.

    Also Greg your not alone in some of your biases for SSM. The only guy I knew personally that worked on that show was storyboard artist Adam Van Wyk. The action on this show made me miss his story boarding (and the rest of that action on that show) even more.
    But majority of my biases are based solely on the fact that I felt SSM gave us a version of Spider-Man that was MORE definitive than the comics of him at it's best. The show was THAT great IMO.

    This show is like the anti-matter universe version of it.
    Maybe Amazing Spider-Man can salvage something of this, this summer. As they at least seem willing to not care whether people think Gwen might die or not.

  6. I'll get the good out of the way first. The "Wall of Shame" joke made me laugh.

    Now for the bad.

    This show is moronic, retarded, unfocused and unforgivable! Title cards? Those sound effects that have been a cliché for as long as there have been clichés? The sketches? The chibis? And that shoulder angel?!!

    This show is trying too hard to be Emperor's New Groove, Family Guy AND Brave and the Bold. And it FAILS at imitating all three of them. It fails as a show, it fails as a comedy, and it fails as entertainment.

    Oh, of course Norman Osborn cares that his son is at a school that's getting ambushed. And OF COURSE we can just draw Curt Conner's arm back on. No one will notice, right?!

    I don't know what I was expecting but NEVER in a MILLION YEARS would I have imagined this crap.

    This has to be one of the worst shows I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot of bad ones. In fact, this makes the original My Little Pony show look good. It makes Gilligan's Planet look good. Worse, it makes TGC look good. I'd rather watch To Serve Mankind on REPEAT, with my eyelids glued open, and with rabid hyenas gnawing at my toes than sit through another minute of this crap.

    I bet you ANYTHING that you can compare this show to ANY crappy show from the past... and the crappy show will come out on top. This is THAT bad.

    This show made me sad for everyone involved. It made me sad for Paul Dini, Stan Lee, the characters, Marvel... everything. And I'm not even a Marvel fan!

    This show needs to DIE and it needs to die RIGHT NOW.

    And you know, it's not that the show is bad beyond badness... no, that's not the worst of it. It's that they replaced Spec Spidey with THIS!! KILL IT WITH FIRE!

    I'm going to watch To Serve Mankind and thank goodness that it's not anywhere near as bad as Ultimate Spider-Man.

    Holy crap is that show bad. This is bad. This is badder than bad. I can't think of the WORDS to describe what the hell I just watched.

    Seriously, what the hell did I just watch?! I've been trying to figure it out for the past hour. I feel DUMB for having watched this show... like I lost an IQ point for every minute of that show.

    How could human beings create something SO BAD? I have lost all faith in humanity. As far as I'm concerned, the aliens can just come and kill us all right NOW... I'm DONE. DONE!!

    TAKE ME NOW!!!

    1. This show belongs on the Wall of Shame.

  7. Having now watched episode 2 I can now properly say, "WTF WERE THEY THINKING!"

    Ignoring the Spider-Bike (which would cost a lot more than his webbing, what with fuel, weapons, repairing damage, and its own webbing. Plus only saving him a minute compared to his normal webs) the show managed to contradict itself in the space of two episodes. They couldn't even keep it going that long; god knows how much they'll screw up with 24 more episodes.

    So ep 1 is about Peter not being ready for the big leagues and needs to be trained to be Cap level, ep 2 does a 180 and says "you've been at the game a while, help guide these young heroes." So which is it, is he too inexperienced a superhero and needs proper training, or is he an experienced hero that needs to help train other younger heroes? You can't have it both ways series!

    Also is it me or have they turned JJ into Glen Beck? (As in with a TV show everywhere spouting crazy stupid nonsense)

  8. Dammit, Greg, you went and piqued my morbid curiosity. I'm now 44 minutes older and a couple years dumber. I thought you were exaggerating with the Seth MacFarlane comparison, or just picking something you really hate as a reference point, but you're right, it's exactly like that. Those cutaway gags were freaking painful. Sometimes they were used to give backstory (which is a lazy way to do exposition but at least has a point), and others were completely irrelevant. I will say I liked a few of the characters- Iron Fist was my favorite, probably because he was the only one who wasn't just there to be the butt of jokes. Aunt May was probably the worst. I'm glad recent incarnations have made her more on the ball than she was in the sixties, but this took it so far in trying to be "hip" as to be insulting (the absolute nadir being her winning at video games and shouting "it's my birthday!"). I like Stan Lee cameos, but they let him ramble way too long (ha, Irving Forbush! I recognize that name!). Can't think of much else you didn't say, except for one observation I'll share just to raise your blood pressure a little more. Did you notice the couple of references to "Superhero 101?" Is it just me, or does that sound like a mean-spirited jab at Spectacular Spider-Man? I hope I'm wrong and they aren't that asinine, but I don't know.

    1. I don't think that was a jab at Spec. It would mean the people working on this show were using subtlety, and they're clearly not trying anything subtle with the show.

      If they were going to do something like that I’d rather they used that same “creativity” to make their show better.

    2. Remember the scene where Spidey is berating Peter from the mirror and asks him if he wants to stay amazing, or if he would rather become ultimate. Or something like that...

      I would find it very believable if Jeph Loeb suggested they say spectacular instead of amazing as a jab at the show. But I can easily see Dini or even Bendis talking him out of it.

      But, if they did say it... thems would be fighting words.

  9. Yeah, I've never heard Jeph Loeb's name connected with anything remotely good that wasn't because of someone else on the creative team.

    And pretty much agree with everything. I thought the animation was really strong, and the fast-pace worked okay (though yeah, really ADD). But anytime the show tried to do anything resembling not Fairly Odd Parents
    or Family Guy type non-sequitor comedy it fell flat on it's face. The action scenes dragged and dragged, there was no real mystery or weight to it at all. And the plot? Ugh. The Nick Fury stuff was just friggin stupid.

    I remember laughing, though, but not at what... I actually kinda liked the screwball stuff, though. Pretty much the only thing I enjoyed about it. Though I think if I watched too much at a time I'd get really tired of it.

    1. The whole endeavor was just... retarded. I have nothing positive to say about it.

    2. Aldrius> Batman: The Long Halloween was good. Otherwise I got nothing.

      The only good thing that I have to say about the show was that it wasn't even trying to emulate the depth of TSSM. You know, because it would have failed, badly. Instead, it aimed to be infantile and moronic, and succeeded. Uh... yay?

  10. Just posted my thoughts on Toonzone, with a new special avatar:


    My friends got a good laugh as I spent the better part of 30-40 minutes ranting about why it sucked. It convinced them to never watch it, not even if they are bored.

    I actually wanted to quit the show in the middle of the first episode...but I pressed on. It never got better. That bit with Spidey taunting Peter in the mirror was about to be a good scene, until he made fun of Amazing Spider-Man. At that point, I threw my hands in the air and then transformed those into middle fingers. Fuck this grotesque abortion of a tv show.

    But wait, there's more! My friend actually told me to watch the second episode, and see if it got any better. Seeing as how the first episode made me dumber after watching it, I thought to myself (Well, I should give them a chance, Gen Rex was an ok show).

    That was a mistake. And I made myself even dumber, after that terrible mess, I called it quits before I even saw the ending to the second episode.

    What's funny is that right after I watched it, I wanted to scrub the shit off of me. I popped in my copy of Spectacular Spider-Man Season 1 and watched that for a while. Made me feel so much better.

  12. I'll give it 11 more episodes to change my mind on it. Usually, I give 20, but this show is really low on everything except animation and some voices which excludes the titular character.

    If one really one wants a well-thought out parody of Marvel, watch Superhero Squad. That show is supposedly cancelled as well. For superheroes in general, watch Freakazoid.

  13. I disagree. I think the direction they're taking is great. Mind you, cutaway gags did in fact NOT originate in Family Guy, so stop comparing it to that. Now on to the subject.

    The voice actors fit. The voice director knows what he/she/they is/are doing. Aunt May is supposed to be younger in this, look at all her activities, gaming, yoga etc. Of course she sounds around thirty, she is Peter's aunt, not his grandma. Coulson, it was his first voice acting gig, don't go so hard on him. And Drake Bell, well his voice fits with the youthful high school Spider-Man they're having. It fits that he, with his history in comedy, would be casted in this new fresh comedic take on everybody's favourite wall crawling web slinger.

    Also noticable is the good action, further cemented by the amazing animation and designs. Never before seen or obscure characters and cameos are great, such as references to the Iron Man film (2008), or it really shows that the people working on this know their Marvel history. Surprising, seeing as five time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, famous for his DC related work, wrote the first two episodes. But he gets it right.

    This is a TV show you cannot miss! Tune in everyday Sunday on Disney XD! Thwip thwip!

    1. Why does this post read like at least two thirds of it was copy and pasted from a Press Release?

  14. I'll give the animation credit where it is due, when it's not Family Guy cutaway gagging, it looks good. But as James Cameron's Avatar proves, looking good does not equal actually BEING good.

    And no, I don't think you should stop comparing it to Family Guy, because that's the only show for comparison that can get the point across. The cutaways are stupid, pointless, and most of the time, just make me angry.

    And a younger Aunt May doesn't give her leeway to be a bad parent. Spider-man flat out SAID in the episode that because she's so busy he can come and go as he pleases. Compare that to the SSM Aunt May, where Peter getting home by curfew was a CONSTANT issue.

    And as for Drake Bell, I think it's obvious that he's never Voice Acted before and that he was cast because he's one of Disney's current teen cash cows.

    Josh Keaton pulled off a high school Spidey, and did it well. Drake Bell doesn't even have HALF his talent. The Voice Actors most certainly do NOT fit, so don't EVEN try to claim that they do.

  15. WTF is that show?!
    the Ultimate verse is supposed to be the edgier angle to the Marvel verse, the response to the now-absorbed Wildstorm of DC.
    Stories are darker, a more realistic approach origins and work of mutants, heroes, aliens etc
    Keelah! read the TPB of Ultimatum! the deathtoll was off the roof and the creep factor was orbital! the image of the Blob with the deceased Wasp is forever imprinted in my mind, years after the event!

    I had high hopes for this show. I really had
    A Marvel companion to DC's Young Justice and GL TAS.
    Instead I got this pathetic excuse of a Brave And The Bolt wannabe. Only the animation was worth the ditital space occupied by that waste of time
    Call the Doctor, because I want those 45 minutes of my life back!

    1. You see, I never liked the Ultimate comics. The stuff you mention as cool, I always saw as over the top and stupid.

      I miss "Spectacular Spider-Man." That was the perfect modernization of the wall-crawler.

  16. I'm very disappointed with what I've been hearing about this show. It was all so promising. What happened?

    1. I was never disappointed. Everything I heard about this show from the start sounded like shit for retarded children.

    2. I never bothered watching it all because of what I heard about it. The only exposure to it are some bits some of its fans considered to be it's funny moments, and they didn't impress me, and some clips of fighting with Venom. One fight I saw was pretty cool, but they had one of those imagine spots in it for no reason, not something you need when the hero is fighting his best friend turned into a monster.
      Looking tvtropes, I saw a ton of stuff wrong with the show that discouraged me from watching it. Ultimate Marvel Nick Fury is presented as a reasonable authority figure while he's basically the same as his comic book incarnation, Spiderman has to work with a bunch of teammates we never hear much about, and he's presented as being in the wrong when he complains about them barging their way into his life and that they all about him and he knows nothing about them, even though that's exactly the case.