Spider-Man Meets Dracula

In addition to the current Avenger's animated show, Disney/Marvel is producing one called "Ultimate Spider-Man" -- which has nothing to do with the comic book of the same name and is instead sort of a spiritual remake of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends.

Spidey is in high school with four other teen super-heroes and all them are also on a top secret SHIELD task force. Instead of Ice Man and Fire Star, the new "Amazing Friends" are Nova, White Tiger, and teen versions of Power Man & Iron Fist.

Its kind of a fun show...little hit or miss, just like the Avengers is. This week however, they dipped into Marvel's Monsters for a episode titled "Blade & the Howling Commandos:"



The ole Web Head tangles with Dracula and then has to team with Nick Fury's supernatural strike team "The Howling Commandos" to save his pals.

"The Howling Commandos" was the name of the original Nick Fury comic, but it was about non-monster army guys. Steranko took over the title, created SHIELD and made the whole thing over into a spy comic. Then somewhere along the line -- I think in the 90's -- somebody at Marvel got cute with the name and dusted off some of the Legion of Monsters guys.

Highpoints:

  • I have a big soft spot for Marvel's Monster stuff, so them getting an episode is something, even if its not perfect. Dracula is in this and, just like in his recent appearance on The Avengers: he acts like Dracula should (He still looks ridiculous, but I'll get to that). In these shows he's been portrayed as a pretty formidible super-villain. Hopefully this means more Marvel Dracula.
  • Luke Cage says "Sweet Christmas" and then punches Dracula in the face*.
  • There's a pretty good (and audience/age appropriate) "Giant Sized Man-Thing" joke.
Lows:

Character Design is pretty weird.

 Dracula is using the same model sheets from the Avengers show, and I've already explained my feelings about that. I guess this kind of Final Fantasy kind of design may seem more relevant to someone born after 1990, but it actually feels really dated to me. Tuxedo and a cape may be old fashioned, but I don't think you can go wrong with a classic.

They go a little further and give Jack Russel (yuk yuk yuk) aka "Werewolf by Night" a SHIELD uniform that has the shoulder coverings of a t-shirt but not the shirt part...he looks like a frat gy who flipped his shirt behind his neck after getting plastered during the 1st quarter of the homecoming game -- it's just goofy. No shirt at all I can understand, but just sleeves? To make matters worse, none of the other monsters appear to be wearing a uniform, so its like he's going out of his way to dress like this. I'm baffled.

Frankenstein is now tricked out with cyborg hammer-hand and a gatling gun reminicient of the recent "Franken-castle" story arc (where The Punisher gets blown to pieces and then sewn back together byt he legion of monsters so he's essentially a Frankenstien for about a year). Its not bad, just a little predictable, I guess. Then there's "The Living Mummy"... 

I'm admittedly not hugely knowledgable about "The Living Mummy," but they seem to veer pretty out of character with what I remember. In the comics I have, he's basically a giant mummy. Looks wise, they let you see his apparently un-aged flesh through the bandages (which by the way are now like sentient tentacles), and they added an awkward head dress thing on him to make him look more like a pharoh I guess. Oh and he also is a wizard now.

Blade and Man-Thing look good...but that's kind of negated when the team (on the show anyway) was given a toystore shelf ready CG anthropromorphic dragon-like vehicle called "The Monster Truck."

Anyway -- its worth a look. I like that they are maintaining continuity between these two shows and that Dracula is part of it. Hopefully, they'll build on this.


*That's pretty much everything you'd ever want from a Luke Cage comic.

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