One of my favorite cartoons from the 90s was Spiderman. Peter Parker’s troubles as a college student who was constantly retaught the lesson that with great power comes great responsibility provided me with amazing Saturday mornings. For me and a lot of people in my generation it was this and the X-Men cartoon that led our journey down the Marvel rabbit hole long before I ever picked up a comic book. The cameos of various characters like Iron Man, Captain America, Blade, Punisher, the Fantastic Four, and all the X-Men (I believe) helped set up foundation for what the Marvel Cinematic Universe would come to be. In this edition of finale week I want to talk about the final season of Spiderman and the craziness that ensues.
The fifth and final season starts with is normally an ending scenario. Peter Parker and Mary Jane are finally married. THey had an interesting engagement as he revealed his arachnid alter ego but all was going well. A long time ago, Mary Jane had disappeared through a wormhole thing machine but now she was back and things are going good. A ton of villains try to interrupt the festivities but other heroes step up and save the day so that a big reveal to everyone is avoided. Immediately after that we go into an interesting story arc regarding six warriors that teamed up with Captain America back in the day but are now, you know old. Someone is looking for them, as they apparently have the keys to a doomsday machine made by the Red Skull but that Cap and the rest stopped. The machine, and the super patriots were trapped in some kind of force field time stasis. All the geriatric heroes suit up once again and over a few episodes they stop the machine but create Electro, who is never seen again. After that, Mary Jane and Peter go to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon but they face off against an old enemy called Hydroman. In the fight, Peter saved when it is revealed that Mary Jane has hydropowers too. Turns out she is actually clone made with water by some crazy scientist but she was too unstable and dies. On that note: Spiderman is immediately whisked away by the supernatural mentor known as Madame Web. Now things get interesting.
Madame Web reveals that she is the student of The Beyonder, a guy with reality bending everything who decides to make a test. Take a far off planet that is a utopia. Send several super villains out there and fast forward a year. Spiderman go to the now ravaged planet and save the people, you get to pick a few superheroes to help you out. For three episodes this team of almost Avengers fought the Secret Wars and it was awesome, But that was also a test. Spiderman is brought back to Madame Web and Beyonder and there are other Spidermen there. One has six arms, another Doctor Octopus cyber limbs, a clone known as the Scarlet Spider, and a pompous rich one that is very Tony Starkish. Oh and one has no powers at all. Turns out that another Spiderman, from the clone’s universe, bonded with Carnage, went ultra insane and set off a chain of events that destroyed every universe ever. THe Secret Wars were a test to prepare each Spiderman but our Spidey was the best so he was leader. Unfortunately, Youtube only give me the penultimate episode of what happened so here goes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEkxTWFN0ic
The next episode has the remaining heroes almost save the day but Spider Carnage is about to try again in rich boy’s universe. Our Peter Parker is sent to stop him. He is too powerful to beat in a straight fight so he decides to attack him with feels. Spidey surmised that in this universe, Peter Parker was a pompous jerk because he had never felt failure. Which means only one thing: Uncle Ben is still alive! He finds him and brings him over to Spider Carnage who regains enough sanity and emotions to sacrifice himself before the symbiote took control again and launched himself into black hole machine, never to return. Madame Web congratulates Peter on a job well done and gives him his well deserved reward as he takes him to find the real Mary Jane. Ending credits roll.
The final season decided to really downplay the actual Spidey mythos and plot. It was a cavalcade of guest stars as the ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny kept taking place. Spiderman was still at the center of it all but it was other characters’ stories. It was a lof fanservice and I loved every second of it. I feel that the narrative could have been extended a bit more but I’m glad that it ended on a good note of awesomeness. Maybe it lost the focus on the protagonist but it delivered some crazy scenarios that seemed more inline with a what if story. There are a lot of other Spiderman cartoons before and since then but this one I believe to be most iconic and the lens through which all others will be measured.
Don’t get web in your eyes,