Marvel (December, 1999)
TELEPLAY: Will Meugniot & Michael Reeves
ADAPTATION: Eric Stephenson
PENCILER: Andy Kuhn
INKER: Harry Candelario
COLORIST: Mark Bernardo
LETTERERS: Sharpefont & Paul Tutrone
EDITOR: Ralph Macchio
Based on the Fox Kids series that replace the 90s Spider-Man cartoon (thanks to a lot of behind the scenes stuff with adaptation rights and whatnot), this is an adaptation of the first two-part episode. A probe finds a planet on the opposite side of the Earth, the Counter-Earth. John Jameson goes to make contact but Venom and Carnage try to hitch a ride. Only Spider-Man sees them so when he fails to stop them and Jameson’s shuttle disappears, Spider-Man is blamed and goes into hiding, presumed dead during a fire rescue. Hoping to rescue John and clear his name, Spidey takes the second rescue shuttle and heads for Counter-Earth, finding a world run by the anthropomorphic Beastials and their human creator, the High Evolutionary. Rescued by human rebels, Spidey finds the leader is John, who won’t leave until the planet is restored. Although Spidey does help stop a group of Beastials controlled by the Symbiotes, he doesn’t want to get involved in the war between man and Beastial. After saving a boy as Peter Parker, Spidey gains a place to stay with small clinic doctor Naoko Yamada-Jones and her son, Shayne.
What they got right: Since rights issues were part of the problem (part of the failed deal to get a Spider-Man movie going in the 1990s), they had to redesign the Spider-costume, although they did get to use the original for a few scenes. I actually like the redesigned costume. It’s composed of nanites and has anti-Symbiote technology built-in, as well as being more durable than his regular clothes. It also looks pretty cool, with a few elements from Spider-Man 2099’s outfit but looking enough like the classic duds to recognize him as Spider-Man. I also like the concept of Spider-Man trying to survive as a human on a planet run by anthros.
What they got wrong: There are certain details left out altogether (the tech coming from Reed Richards, the firemen trying to kill him after rescuing a woman and son who were scared of him, Naoko’s name) or switched around (should Spidey be telling the High Evolutionary’s right hands, the Knights Of Wundagore, that his costume is made out of nanobots?) in odd places. Also I don’t like the High Evolutionary’s redesign. While we only get a blurry image of his face in this comic, the show’s outfit bears no resemblance to the classic Marvel character as is just burning with 90’s horrid.
Other notes: This series should not be confused with the in-continuity comics of the same name. This is just a tie-in to the Fox Kids cartoon.
Recommendation: The rest of this series featured original stories; this is the only adapted story aside from the next issue. It doesn’t hold up well trying to fit two episodes into one comic, even with the extra pages. In this case you aren’t getting the full experience unless you track down the episodes. Sadly, I don’t think they’ve had a DVD release here in the US, but they are up on Amazon. Guess who still has no money.