Episode #39 Along Came A Spider...
Original Airdate - July 22nd, 2012
The whole city has turned against Captain America. But when the Serpent Society attempts to rescue Viper, New York is put in the crossfire with only Captain America and the equally mistrusted Spider-Man to save them.

Written by Christopher Yost
Directed by Roy Burdine
Review #1 by RoyalRubble
Review #2 by GregX (Written June 2012)
Media by Marvel Animation Age

Review #1:
This episode was pretty awesome. The first thing that makes it stand out is that Spider-man guest stars, and it's the first time in over 30 years Spidey guest-stars in another Marvel cartoon (the only other time it happened was in two episodes of the late 70s Spider-Woman animated series), so it's pretty ground-breaking. It's also great seeing Spidey share some screen-time with Captain America again, as he did during the final season of the 90s Spider-man animated series. This episode also works great as an epilogue to the entire Skrull secret invasion story-arc, with the world now turned against Captain America following the message the Skrull posing as Cap broadcasted to the city in the previous episode.

Spidey was pretty great here. His design looked cool and I liked his action scenes and the way this show presented his spider-sense. The design for Peter Parker looked pretty good as well though it could have been better. As for his voice in this episode, while I loved Spectacular Spider-man and it would have been nice hearing Josh Keaton voice Spidey again, his replacement Drake Bell did a pretty good job here; he sounds more convincing than on Ultimate Spider-man. I don't want to talk too much about this re-casting since it's been talked over and over in the last month or so - and I for one don't really have a favorite voice actor for Spider-man, a so called "definitive" voice. And like I said, his voice here wasn't really that bad. It would be funny if Agent Clay Quartermain's line to Spidey about his voice sounding weird would have been added after the voice actor was changed - though I doubt it. On the other hand, J.K. Simmons is always great as J. Jonah Jameson so I didn't mind this change at all.

Pretty cool seeing the Serpent Society again. We learn that Madame Viper is their leader. It's pretty interesting how Viper keeps her word and goes back to being one of the bad guys (well, girls) like she mentioned back in "Prisoner of War". Though it would have been nice if Cap's actions in that episode would have changed her. The interactions between Captain America and Spider-man were great; we learn Spidey is a fan of Cap's (he even asks to be his sidekick!). In the aftermath of the Skrull invasion, nobody trusts Captain America anymore - thanks in part to the articles J. Jonah Jameson publishes in the Daily Bugle. Spidey on the other hand has been Jameson's "target" for a while now and knows how Cap must feel. I loved Cap's speeches this episode, about what it means to be a hero and how he knows the truth will eventually come out and people will believe in him again. The real Cap might have been absent from the show for too many episodes but now that he's back it's going to be great seeing him regain the trust of people and hopefully eventually become the leader of the Avengers. The Skrull impostor managed to trick a hadful of Avengers into accepting him as leader, so I see no reason why the real Cap can't accomplish something similar - not by tricking the others, by earning the right to lead them.

The action scenes were great as well and the collapsed subway tunnels made a nice setting for this episode. Plus it was neat seeing the more "human" heroes getting trapped here; if the others, super-powered Avengers were here the episode wouldn't have been this intriguing. Another neat thing I noticed was Cap using a classic triangular shield this episode; his original shield has been destroyed since the first season finale, and the hologram-shield Tony Stark created for the Skrull impostor was destroyed in the previous episode - I was just getting used to it. It would be nice to see Tony build him a new shield but I'd much prefer if they found a way to actually repair his original mighty shield. For now, this replacement shield will have to do; it seemed to work pretty well against the villains he faced this episode. Speaking of which, I liked how they mentioned the prisoners were being transferred to the Baxter Building; I suppose they were planning to hold them inside the Nageative Zone prison we saw earlier on the show (back in "The Man Who Stole Tomorrow"). Considering nothing good usually comes out of the Negative Zone, I'm hoping the eventual episode set there will have at least a good story.

All in all, this was a great episode. It has a nice mix of action, drama and comedy - as most episodes of this show. Seeing Spidey and Cap in action was cool and very enjoyable. I'm hoping he'll appear in more episodes till the series ends. I doubt he'll actually join the Avengers but an occasional team-up would be neat. Even if he doesn't get to appear again on the show, it'll just make this episode more special. Either way, I'm looking forward to the next episodes.

Review #2:
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.

Tweet Joe Quesada with #JoshKeatonIsSpiderMan, and #DrakeBellIsNotSpiderMan ... the episode won't air in the US for at least two months. If we can't have it corrected for that, let's have it corrected for the home video release. We can do this, people.