Superhero movies are starting to become ubiquitous, whether they’re done by DC, exist in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, or belong to one of the other companies that holds rights to Marvel characters. In the next few years alone we’ve got Guardians of the Galaxy, Wolverine, Thor 2, Captain America 2, Ant-Man, Avengers 2, Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, a Fantastic Four reboot in the works, a Justice League movie on the table, rumors about other DC projects, and the as-of-yet unrevealed MCU Phase 3 films. There’s also the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show premiering in the fall and Arrow, which will be back for a second season.
So I’ve been trying recently to branch out into American comics. You may have noticed this. My most recent adventure has taken me into the animated world of Spider-Man. Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man TV show is actually pretty awesome. The premise is this: Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for a while when he is approached by Nick Fury with a proposition: join up with S.H.I.E.L.D. and let them train Peter into the “ultimate” Spider-Man. Peter accepts and is suddenly tossed onto a team with junior S.H.I.E.L.D. agents White Tiger, Nova, Power Man, and Iron Fist. Hijinks ensue and Peter learns valuable lessons about superheroing, blah blah, you know the drill. Anyway, it’s a pretty fun show.
So first I gotta be upfront with you about the real reason I started watching this show. Yes, it was a good way to learn more about the Marvelverse, as Peter often breaks the fourth wall to explain a situation or introduce a character we may not know. But really? I needed more Son of Coul in my life. Yup, that’s right. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a lot of influence on this show, and one way that shows is in the presence of Agent Coulson as a supporting character. Best of all, they even got Clark Gregg himself to do the voice acting! It’s just a small part in the background (Coulson is undercover as the principal at Peter’s high school) but it made me happy nonetheless.
The voice acting in general on this show is pretty great, with Drake Bell as Peter Parker, Tara Strong as Mary Jane, J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, and Tom Kenny, Greg Cipes, Steve Blum, Travis Willingham (as Thor!), and even Mark Hamill as various other roles. (Stan Lee has a running cameo as the high school’s janitor.)
The animation is somewhat inspired by anime, with some chibi-fication and whatnot. It also has a good mix of episoding plots versus an overarching storyline.
I’m enjoying it so far. (Although, to be fair, seeing as the internet seems to be full of this show’s haters, I’m relatively easy to please and have no basis for comparison.) I recommend you check it out, too!