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Spider-Man_Unlimited

Spider-Man Unlimited

Spider-Man Unlimited is a short lived animated series featuring the Marvel comic book superhero Spider-Man. The series was released in 1999, and although it had fair ratings it was overshadowed by the main ratings grabber at the time, Pokémon, and was canceled after only a few episodes were aired. Fox later resumed airing the show, but aired only the first 13 episodes, cutting the show off on a cliffhanger. Several scripts written for Season 2, including the conclusion of the cliffhanger, were never produced.

As of today, as with the majority of the other Disney-acquired Marvel Comics animated series, there are no plans to release the show to DVD, although the show currently is to air on Jetix

Plot

The series takes place soon after Spider-Man saved Mary Jane Watson from the vortex she was in at the 1996 Spider-Man cartoon, where at the last episode, he went off to find his Mary Jane Watson. While covering the launch of John Jameson's one man mission to a Counter-Earth (another Earth on the opposite side of the sun), Spider-Man's attempts to stop symbiote adversaries Venom and Carnage from boarding the shuttlecraft are met with failure. Blamed for Jameson losing contact with our Earth, Spider-Man becomes a target of persecution by the media and the public. Believed to be dead after saving a life in a fire, Peter Parker uses this shroud to embark on a mission to retrieve John Jameson on Counter-Earth. Making his way to the planet, Spider-Man learns that Jameson has fallen in with a band of freedom fighters opposed to the High Evolutionary, whose Beastials, hybrids of animal and humanoid attributes, are the dominant species whilst humans are the second-class minority.

With Jameson reluctant to return until the Evolutionary is defeated, Spider-Man elects to remain on Counter-Earth, blending in as best he can also as Peter Parker, and fighting Bestial versions of some of his greatest adversaries. It soon becomes clear also that Venom and Carnage are on Counter-Earth. This series also shows the animated version of Man-Wolf (John Jameson).

Comic book

Alongside the animated series, Marvel Comics commissioned a comic to tie in with the series, it would be the second volume of Spider-Man Unlimited as a whole from the company, but the only one of the Unlimited volumes to be based on it. The first two issues adapted the first three episodes of the series, with the last three providing its own storylines.

In issue #3, Peter is assigned by the Daily Byte to follow the Counter-Earth Version of Reed Richards. It is suspected that Reed has knowledge of a mysterious creature called the The Brute. The only thing Peter finds is that Richards is a really uptight individual. Together, they go to a party which requires everyone to have ID Chips. Before Peter is discovered not to have one, The Brute shows up to crash the party. After a fight between Spider-Man and The Brute, it is revealed to him that the creature is none other than Reed Richards. The Brute is helping the rebel against the Beastials; as Reed, he is a spy. He's also aided in his mission by his friend Ben Grimm. After a tested flight similar to the Fantastic Four's, Reed was transformed by cosmic rays into The Brute, Ben was unaffected, Johnny Storm was killed and Susan Richards was left in a coma.

Issue 4 introduced a sub-plot of humans and Beastials living in harmony in a hidden paradise called "Haven" which Spider-Man discovers, and stumbles on a human Gwen Stacy double, before he is driven from the place of solitude.

In the final issue he meets an escapee from Haven, a Bestial version of Wolverine. After fighting, the two team up and take down a Bestial Chameleon. It is hinted that Wolverine is really Naoko Jones' missing husband (although the cartoon hints that The Goblin is really Naoko's husband), but nothing came out of the storylines, as poor sales ended the comic's run.

Crew & Cast

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Original Music

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Episode list

Continuity with Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Spider-Man Unlimited has altered some of the backstory from the Animated Series, as this show was supposed to be the spin-off of the previous series. The most prominent example was in the episode "One is the Loneliest Number", when Spider-Man remembered first encountering a symbiote.

TAS:

  • Spider-Man found the Symbiote on John Jameson's crashed shuttle after fighting the Rhino who wanted the Promethium X to give to his boss, the Kingpin, and his assistant, Alistair Smythe. Spider-Man dismisses the black ooze as river pollution. Later that night, the Symbiote bonds with Spider-Man. After rescuing John Jameson from the hands of the Kingpin, Spidey battles the Shocker and Eddie Brock follows him up the tower. Spidey webs Eddie Brock to the tower. Spider-Man realizes the Symbiote was vulnerable to sound and so used the bell's chime to get the Symbiote off him. Unfortunately, the Symbiote bonded to Brock and became Venom. Spidey defeated Venom by tricking him into a confrontation at the launch site of the John Jameson Probe, forcing the Symbiote off Brock. The authorities apprehend Brock and send him to Ravencroft. Carnage was created when the Venom Symbiote returned to Earth after Baron Mordo grounded the Probe. Mordo returned the Symbiote to Brock, who became Venom and escaped Ravencroft. Cletus Kasady had recently been put in jail, presumably he was the same kind of serial killer madman he was in the comics, but when Dormammu told Mordo of a second Symbiote, Mordo gave the Carnage symbiote to Cletus Kasady as a 'gift', as long as Kasady swore to serve Dormammu forever.

Spider-Man Unlimited:

  • As in the TAS, Spidey found his way to the shuttle crash, but this time, the Symbiote bonded with him on the shuttle. Later, he forced the symbiote off himself and it, again, bonded to Brock. Spider-Man and Venom fight, and Spider-Man defeats Venom, allowing the authorities (S.H.I.E.L.D.; the Helicarrier with the logo is shown) to take him. The symbiote remained bonded to Eddie Brock and he escaped, giving a Symbiote to 'Carnage'. No mention of Mordo or Dormammu is ever made. Also they assume their 'monster' forms in the flashback this story is told in, instead of their 'humanoid' forms. The looks of Venom and Carnage are also different. Carnage has spikes sticking out on the shoulders and is skinny. Venom is bigger and has scales on his back. Venom transforms as Eddie Brock (first small) and grows more muscular, grows teeth, and is a full symbiote.

Also, the powers of the symbiotes appear to have altered since the Spider-Man: TAS. In TAS, Venom has distinctly different powers from Carnage, because, as Baron Mordo explains to Cletus (Carnage's host) during the "Venom Returns" episode, the Carnage symbiote will grant powers "similar, but different; as different as you [Cletus] are from Brock." In TAS, Carnage was easily capable of producing axes, projectile darts, and other similar shapes with his symbiote. Venom was incapable of such feats. However, in Unlimited, Venom possesses powers that appear to share the same nature as Carnage's, allowing him to radically alter his body composition for shape creation and altering his body's format. Whilst both Carnage and Venom share this style of ability in Unlimited, it has also grown to be more extensive than what was displayed in the TAS. The pair could mold themselves into a "pool of symbiote" whilst moving freely, and even combine with each other via this technique to form one symbiote creature. Spider-Man notes this change in the first episode of Unlimited, when he is shocked to be flanked by this new power, Peter exclaims "Hey! You two could never morph like that before!" Despite this recognition of the change in the symbiote's powers, there is no explanation for this change.

Also of note, during the course of the TAS, Mary Jane, Venom and Carnage are all lost in dimensional portals, and Spider-Man himself goes searching for MJ across all of reality by the conclusion of the series. In Unlimited, their return to Earth is never explained, nor is it hinted that they ever went missing to begin with. This was to have been explained in a never created, sixth season of TAS, during which Spider-Man would have supposedly tracked Mary-Jane down to 19th Century England, and Carnage would have taken the mantle of Jack the Ripper, the symbiote having survived its destruction in the series finale.

Finally, the origins of the symbiotes are different in both shows. In Unlimited, it's revealed that the Symbiotes were originally insectoid creatures that infected Counter-Earth via a meteor shower, but that the mass extinction of Counter-Earth's dinosaurs drove them underground, where they evolved the ability to become semi-liquid like the Venom and Carnage symbiotes are (though there are still insectoid versions around that the Symbiotes use to infect the humans and Bestials). In TAS, this origin is never hinted at, and in fact it's suggested that they have always been a semi-liquid sentient goo.

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