This episode cannot be discussed without talking about what will fast become the most controversial moment in Marvel Animation history. I know some of you think I enjoy going here, but I don't. I've been looking forward to this episode for a long time. I won't lie, I was disappointed when I had it spoiled for me before watching that Drake Bell was voicing Spider-Man in the episode. Then I watched it and something felt off. Very off.
1. Grey Delisle returned as Betty Brant, from "Spectacular Spider-Man." Daran Norris also had two lines at most as a generic cop. You don't bring in a voice actor for a generic role like that. J.K. Simmons was voicing J. Jonah Jameson, and well, I am convinced that Daran was originally recorded and dubbed over. But much as I love Norris in the role, I don't think that will be very controversial. But here comes the kick to the teeth...
2. Drake Bell sounded off. Way off. Like he wasn't in the room and no one was playing off him in the booth. He sounded like a bad anime dub. I began to suspect that he wasn't originally Spidey when this episode was recorded. Something smelled fishy. Like a can of tuna in July. Yes, my spider-sense was tingling.
Then, Josh Keaton posted this on Facebook:
Josh and I had a short conversation after this, and I am also reasonably confident that Josh Fine and Chris Yost were not in on this travesty. This was ordered from higher up very late in the game, it may have happened as recently as a month ago. But, it's bad enough that Craptimate Douchebag-Man is making a mockery of the webhead, now they need to infect this show with it too? I'll admit, I'd have been disappointed if it was Drake Bell either way. But knowing it was Josh Keaton and knowing that he got screwed over is a taint on the entire production. This is not what Fine and Yost wanted or envisioned. We were going to see Spectacular Spidey again... and it looks like for more than just this episode too.
The episode itself is not bad at all... the script and the story I mean, but it will forever be infamous for this. And I don't want to re-watch it every time and think about the behind the scenes assholeish behavior of certain individuals. Pissed off doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. I'd rather be just disappointed than outright pissed off. I can get over disappointment. This, is just nasty, dickish behavior. Shame on you, Marvel Animation. Shame on you.
As for the episode itself. Josh Fine and Chris Yost are admitted "Spectacular Spider-Man" fans, and this episode felt like a love letter to it. I remember Fine saying in his mind this show, SSM and "Wolverine and the X-Men" shared a universe. As much as the dub seems to kill that, I am going to treat them as such to honor the work of everyone involved and the intent of everyone before Loeb got his claws into this. This is the fault of no one who gave a damn about any of these shows.
Vanessa Marshall rocks as Madame Viper and I like how she's shaping up this season as a villain. Three episodes ago, she was repaying Cap by saving his life... now she's ordering the murder of civilians. She is a vicious and evil broad. I enjoy her very much, and I hope she pops up again.
Cap's words to Spidey are a lesson we should all take to heart. It's what we do that matters, not what others say about us. I need to take that to heart myself, it's a hard lesson to learn. In a lot of ways, it seems to perfectly echo the controversy of this episode. Cap may as well be saying all this to Josh Keaton too. We know what he did here, and we know that he is Spidey. Genuinely loves the character and no matter what Loeb does, how much Loeb tore down his work, the work is immortal and will speak for itself.
I wanted so badly to say this episode was spectacular. I'm sure it was once upon a time, but it's been stained. But you know what, why don't we let Marvel know that we want to hear the real version of this episode. It exists, it can be aired, it can be released on the DVD and Blu-ray release. So, if you're a fan of "Spectacular Spider-Man" and Josh Keaton... let Marvel know, and let them know now.