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DVD Review

DVD cover

Spider-Man Unlimited
The Complete Series


Starring (voice): Rino Romano, Brian Drummond, Michael Donovan, Garry Chalk and John Payne II
Clear Vision
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 03 May 2010

When another Earth-like world is discovered on the opposite side of the sun, J. Jonah Jameson's astronaut son is sent to investigate. At the launch Spider-Man sees the symbiotics Venom and Carnage getting aboard and tries to stop them - only to have the media and public believe he is attempting to sabotage the launch. Shortly afterward SM is thought to be dead after a rescue attempt at a burning building. But Peter Parker is lying low and making plans. Six months later, when a new launch to the other planet is announced, SM emerges with a new high-tech costume and additional gadgets (including stealth mode) and gets aboard the craft to embark on a rescue mission. The moment he arrives he is attacked by a group of high-tech animal-like bipeds known as bestials. He soon discovers that an individual known as the High Evolutionary has experimented with DNA and genetics to form a high society of bestials. Consequentially, all the humans have now been driven to the lower level slums, where they are at best left to their own devices but ruled over in a dictatorial manner. A diverse gang of rebels have dedicated themselves to putting things right. Jameson has become their unofficial leader, and SM finds himself joining forces with them on a semi-regular basis in the hope that he can then, somehow, get the astronaut and himself back home.

Spider-Man Unlimited is a single linking story covering thirteen episodes and two discs. The running time is 4 hours 23 minutes. References to past events are included for the diehard Spidey fans, and I'm happy to say that the defence shield wise-cracking transfers seamlessly to the new format. Although the majority of the action takes place on Counter-Earth, it doesn't stop many of SM's regular foes from turning up from time to time. Of Course, there is Venom and Carnage from our Earth (they seem to be up to something, but it's never revealed exactly what), there is an alternative Electro, Hunter and Vulture, and a reluctant ally in the Green Goblin. Peter Parker even secures a job taking photos for a popular newspaper.

Here is my problem. As a kid I was an avid follower of Spidey in the comics and graphic novels, and I still like the character now. However, I remember reading a series of adventures in which he acquired cosmic powers. I quickly lost interest, as he changed his suit and became a number of other superheroes. This wasn't the SM I knew and loved. I found that a similar thing happened whilst watching this series. Although the changes aren't as extreme, a different suit created from nanobots, a web-cape, suit sonics, stealth invisibility mode, and firing projectiles from glove knuckle points just isn't Spider-Man as far as I'm concerned.

There is no proper conclusion to events either. I don't know if another series was planned, or the plug was pulled early, but the tables just begin to turn when another even greater threat to existence reveals itself, inadvertently creating potentially the biggest cliff-hanger devised for an animated serial. I have mixed feelings about Unlimited, but the good points outweigh the bad. It will be interesting to see how Spider-Man 5000 compares, because the nineties series is still way out in front in terms of storylines and quality.

Episodes consist of Worlds Apart - Parts One and Two, Where Evil Nests, Deadly Choices, Steel Cold heart, Enter the Hunter!, Cry Vulture, Ill-Met By Moonlight, Sustenance, Matters of the Heart, One is the Loneliest Number, Sins of the Fathers, and Destiny Unleashed.


Ty Power

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