25 July 2014 | son_of_cheese_messiah
Although spoken of in the same breath as Batman The Animated Series, TSSM is not of that stature. It has aged less well even in the 5 years that have passed than BTAS has in almost 20. In contrast to BTAS stylish and stylised animation, a combination of 1940s and the futuristic, TSSM is set in a routine and blandly depicted New York.
The characters are rather childishly drawn, with disproportionately large hands and feet and, more annoyingly, with big puppy dog eyes. This would be fine in a cartoon aimed specifically at young children, but TSSM affects some attempts at realism and even some darkness, so it seems misplaced. The threat of the Green Goblin, in particular, is undermined by his appearance, which makes him seem like a typical cartoon monster seen in Scooby Doo.
The stories themselves are largely adapted from the earliest Spiderman stories from the 1960s. with some additional characters imported from later periods (Black Cat, Venom, Tombstone). These adaptations are fairly loose with the originals and throw in a few surprises, such as the identity of The Green Goblin.
There are so many in-reference to the early 60s Spiderman that I wonder what the purpose of them is and who it is aimed at. For instance, "The Big Man" was (in the comic) an alias of Frederick Foswell, who does indeed appear in this series. But here The Big Man is soon revealed to be Tombstone who immediately says his real name as L. Thompson Lincoln. He is then confusingly referred to sometimes as The Big Man, Tombstone or Lincoln. So why call him The Big Man at all, except as a homage to the early comics? To add to the confusion (at least to someone familiar to the original comics) Foswell sometimes appears under his other alias Patch.
Another in-joke is a poster of a werewolf which appears just before we see John Jameson on-board a space craft. Long term comic fans will know that John actually becomes a Wolf man later on as a direct result of his space mission, but the reference will be lost on 99% of the viewers.
The original 1960s series is updated to the 2000s with constant mentions of E-mail and mobile phones. Mobiles in particular are put into the stories with little effect. The first time that Peter Parker's mobile rings in the middle of a fight with a super-villain, its amusing, but the joke is used repeatedly.
The fight scenes, particularly those with multiple opponents are excitingly well done.