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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Superhero > Spider-Man: The Venom Saga

Spider-Man: The Venom Curse (animated)

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: C+†††† Episodes: B-

 

 

Spider-Man continues to be one of the big three in comic book superheroes and long before any live action version surfaced, he was animated.After issuing the terrific multi-DVD set of his 1967 cartoon series, Disney has continued to issue episodes from the early 2000s animated show.Spider-Man: The Venom Curse compiles the episodes that brought the title villain to the small screen.Venom is actually a space alien in liquid form that became Spider-Manís actual outfit for a while, but then things went wrong and Peter Parker had to reject it.The result was that the alien found one of our heroís biggest enemies, no matter what identity Parker was under, and Venom became the most recent of the classic villains.Offshoot Carnage was even worse.

 

Though the show was ambitious, this animated Spider-Man was not always as colorful or charming as the earlier 1967 shows, or as dark as the later Ralph Bakshi-masterminded stories.It also tended to speed along some of the storytelling thanks to the TV commercial crunch, which was often to its detriment.Starting with J. Jonah Jamesonís son coming back on a space shuttle, the show has dated a bit quicker than expected, but the teleplays are written by people who like the characters.The arrival of Venom, then Carnage, feel awkward in the way they are placed in the ongoing story, which in these episodes have a certain order they need to be watched in.

 

Cut together as if it were a TV movie, this flows better than with the commercial breaks and other unnecessary distractions, so that is a plus.The inclusion of some guest Marvel heroes and villains is also awkward.Since Venom & Carnage are so thematically dark, the producers may have found this necessary.Christopher Daniel Barnes does the voice for Spider-Man and did not get the credit he deserved for it.Ed Asner was terrific as Jameson, avoiding the temptation of doing Lou Grant for a second, while the late, great Roscoe Lee Browne was underrated as Kingpinís voice.This also worked out far better than the all computer-animated show MTV did with Sony that did not last very long.This is a fun-enough disc worth checking out.

 

The 1.33 x 1 image is not bad, but has an even then-awkward combination of hand drawn animation early video/computer graphics.The result are detail troubles, combinations of such that do not always work and both detail limits and errors throughout.Fortunately the color is consistent, though the art style has always been a bit odd to me, looking more like the comic books that are now published like magazines than the traditional print type.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has Pro Logic surrounds and they have some interesting moments.Extras include Stan Leeís Soapbox featuring Leeís thoughts on the character, an introduction by Lee for the program and a clever section called The Venomous Web, in which you can highlight a series of pictures in which Venomís creator offers voice-over explanations of the differences between the comic books and this show.It is intelligent, as is Lee all the time, making this one of the most interesting releases of this series of Spider-Man DVDs to date.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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