Witness the original web-slinger's mythology from the beginning! Peter Parker is a not so typical high school junior, fresh off an exciting summer engaging common criminals with his new found powers. But now he must conceal his secret identity as "Spider-Man", while engaging a new level of terror: the multi-leveled pressures of teenage life at home/school with combating bigger, badder super villains in the real world!
Volume 5 of The Spectacular Spider-Man
further confirms that this animated adaptation of the web-slinger's adventure is one of the best ever produced, thanks to its smart scripting, plentiful action, and respect for the source material. In all four episodes on this single-disc set, taken from Spider-Man
's second season, he's pitted against villains both old and new while attempting to navigate the pitfalls of school, romance, and responsibility. The season 2 opener, "Blueprints," introduces the would-be magician Mysterio, who makes life difficult for Spidey just when he's trying to sort out a burgeoning romance with Gwen Stacey. Mysterio returns in "Reinforcement," which finds him part of the Sinister Six (here comprising Sandman, Rhino, Vulture, Electro, Mysterio, and Kraven the Hunter, who is the key foe in "Destructive Testing"). Meanwhile, the identity of the crime boss known as the Master Planner is revealed in volume 5's final episode, "Shear Strength"--and it's a neat twist on par with the true identity of the Big Man in season 1. The Master Planner's team (which includes Electro and the Tinkerer) is bent on world domination, adding some tension to Peter Parker's uncertainty about whether to be with Gwen or Liz Allen. It's an exciting, well-crafted quartet of episodes, each displaying the series' core strengths, not least of which is the solid vocal cast, led by Josh Keaton as Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Too bad there aren't any extras to make the disc extra-Spectacular
. --Paul Gaita