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Greg Bishansky writes...



It's Valentine's Day, and, well... to everyone like me who hates Valentine's Day, this episode is a treat.

We've got a trio of villains this time. Tombstone, Dr. Octopus and Silvermane call a summit at the opera at, what looks like, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Ock, Silvermane, and the Tombster all decked in fancy tuxedos. Silvermane nearly toasting to a Valentine's Day Massacre made me choke... awesome Al Capone reference there. This was fun to watch. Tombstone, Silvermane and the good doctor all think they're in control, but not at all realizing they're being played.

After Norman Osborn's little speech in the previous episode, Hammerhead has gotten very ambitious, and has trapped these three right where he wants them. Playing them all... but, who is actually playing who? Hammerhead is receiving notes from someone else. Now, who'd want these gangsters and supervillains to destroy each other? I have to say, I loved seeing Tombstone flustered.

Meanwhile, across town, Peter, Liz, Gwen, Harry, Mary Jane, and Mark are dating as a group over at a hotel Liz owns, so, free food... very sweet deal. But, as usual, Peter and Gwen would obviously rather be with each other, which Liz notices, as does Mark. They are joined by Flash, Sha Shan, Rand, and Sally... and hilarity ensues. Gotta love Flash demanding that Peter prevent him from saying something stupid.

I have to say, I loved Mark and MJ's statements on just what a sham Valentine's Day actually is. Sums up how I've always felt about it.

I loved the battle scenes in this episode, with an opera soundtrack in the background. Tuxedos and opera... and carnage. Classy. Very classy. Of course, Peter is forced to take off so Spidey can arrive, and, at long last, take these three down. He takes down Silvermane, then Doc Ock, and finally, the re-match we've been waiting for... Spider-Man versus Tombstone.

Throughout the battle, Tombstone calls Blackie Gaxton for help... there is interference. Octopus calls Kraven... again, interference. At this point, it's become clear, this is bigger than a stooge like Hammerhead. Another hand is at work here.

Can I say again how much I love the opera soundtrack? Opera. Gangsters. Supervillains. It's "The Godfather" in spandex.

Tombstone is taken down, and L. Thompson Lincoln is exposed as the Big Man of Crime, and hauled off in handcuffs. Of course he fires Hammerhead, and tells him to "expect his severance package soon." Nice!

While I know some people are complaining about it, what I like about this show is the shifting status quo. Tombstone doesn't remain the unknown crime lord. It avoids the problems of the 1990's Kingpin in that particular cartoon... nothing ever changed there, same old same old, and every villain worked for him. Here, on the other hand, Tombstone's situation is allowed to change. And that's one of the reasons why this show is so rich.

Of course, Tombstone makes bail. Nothing to convict him on, but that doesn't mean his life isn't about to get a whole lot more difficult...

... Especially at the end, where we learn who the true mastermind behind all this was. With Tombstone knocked out, there is a power vacuum in the criminal underworld. And, being no slouch, Tombstone figured it out. In the words of Michael Corleone, "our true enemy has yet to reveal himself," well, he finally does

"Guilty, guilty and oh so very guilty of being the new Big Man of Crime?" And with a maniacal laugh worthy of so many others, the Green Goblin ushers in his new dark reign which looks to close out this season.

This episode was just brilliant, and I think may be my favorite of the series run so far. But, we've got three more to go.


Greg responds...

Ah, the benefits of opera...

Response recorded on May 05, 2009