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The Phoenix Gate

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Comments for the week ending April 5, 2020

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I didn't mind the character designs for "Spectacular Spider-Man" at all. I'm usually a very accepting person when it comes to different designs for different shows. In fact, out of the shows I've actually watched, the only animated series I can think of where I actually dislike the designs is "Bob's Burgers".

I really enjoyed "Spectacular". It's hard for me to imagine a future Spidey series being as good, but there's always hope another series will come along and do the character the same amount of justice.


So my overall thoughts on Season 1 of The Spectacular Spider-Man:
Greg took the slow burn approach to this series and that really works out well for the show, characters are given proper introductions and nothing feels forced, writing events for an episode is easy. But writing events that flow naturally across the episodes? Sometimes animation has trouble with that.

I've gotten so used to the animation style of Sean Galloway that I had forgotten that there was a time when people were upset with his character models. Seems silly now especially considering the fact that all the characters have a distinct look to them. While you can certainly argue that there are other Spider-Man shows with better animation and character design, Spectacular manages to surpass these due to the fact that it also has genuine wit and great storytelling.

Like Gargoyles the voice cast is phenomenal, they bring in a wide variety of super talented actors for the show. Some veterans from Gargoyles and more than a few would show up in Young Justice. Fun fact: this was almost the second time Josh Keaton played the character, as it turns out he was supposed to play Spider-Man in the video game based on the first Raimi film before Tobey Maguire ended up voicing him. He just nails the role, some folks say he's to Spider-Man what Kevin Conroy is to Batman. Another fun fact; before this show I only knew Vanessa Marshall for her role as Irwin in "The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy." I had no idea she had such a sexy voice.

I really like that they made Peter a flawed character with room to grow, one who makes mistakes, owns up to them, and tries to make it right. Though sadly that doesn't often happen. The remainder of the cast also go through progressions or regressions that feel pretty natural, which is probably the best thing about the series. The one thing I can't stand more than a stagnant cast is when characters suddenly change without buildup.

Some of my favorite bits of the season include: Spider-Man introducing himself to Norman Osborne and the Vulture, Dr. Connors' transformation into the Lizard, Tombstone laying down exactly who he is and what he's about, Mary Jane's introduction, Spider-Man escaping from the booby-trapped refinery, the Symbiote's fight against the Sinister Six and every fight between Spider-Man and Venom.

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

LOGAN> Well, there's the rub isn't it? Is a facsimile of Free Will any substitute for the real thing? Are you really free if someone is making you do what you want?

Is the 'real' Goliath still trapped in his own skull, eternally screaming while his body simply 'acts out' whatever the real Goliath would have done in any given situation?

Probs not but it's a curious paradox to ponder.

We must be brave.

I'd say if he doesn't have exact free will, he has pretty much a facsimile to the one he had before thanks to the technicality of Elisa's words.

Algae, I'd say the answer to your question depends on whether you believe anyone has free will.
Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]

A philosophical question...

Does Goliath still have Free Will after Temptation, or is Demona's Spell merely making him ACT as though he does?

We must be brave.

I'll join in on the "seasonal cycle" appreciation. It's one of my favorite things about Gargoyles/Spectacular Spider-Man/Young Justice. Not only does it help with the feeling of story progression, but it really does add a lot to the atmosphere of the episodes for me, especially the ones set during the fall and winter.

Hi Mr. Weisman. I have a question for you:

I don't know if you are aware, but in the "Early Warning" episode of Whelmed: The Young Justice Files (back in Oct. 2019) the host quoted you on something you told him in conversation. This is something that used to happen now and then, but lately it happens in almost every episode: "Greg texted me this", "Brandon emailed me that", "Greg/Brandon told me whatever", etc.

So, looking at your 2-year-6-month-and-7-day backlog of 1173 questions, I'm wondering: why are you giving BTS information to this one person while the rest of your fanbase has to submit questions and wait months (at least) or YEARS (worst case and more likely scenario) for an answer???? It must be really cool to be so intimate and chummy with one's idol, and I bet the host feels super important and validated, but this is some double standard bullshit!

Are you aware of this? And if you are, how can you be okay with it? Don't you think this is unfair? You have thousands of fans who support your work whichever way they can, but 99.9% of them have never even met you in person, let alone exchanged emails or text messages with you.

If I make an entire podcast dedicated to kissing your asses, will I earn the same privileges? Will I be able to ask all my questions without a waiting queue? Will I get to hang out with you, have lunch together or exchange personal contacts?

(Originally I posted this on AskGreg, but then I decided I shouldn't have to wait 2 years for an answer, for all the reasons above.)


Thanks Todd, there was already so much to talk about I couldn't even get to how the gene cleanser forgotten by Peter and the audience turned out to be a false Chekhov's Gun.
Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

MATTHEW - Thanks for the latest episode review. I share with you in liking the "seasonal cycle" that "The Spectacular Spider-Man" had.

One of my favorite moments in this episode was when at the end, Peter pours the "gene cleanser" down the drain (literally) in this big moment about renouncing the temptation to go back to normal - and then it turns into a big sudsy mess which he has to clean up. That definitely felt like the kind of thing that would happen to him.

Todd Jensen

Warning, this is a long one.
So I watched "Nature vs. Nurture" today which closes out the season as well as the psychology and symbiote quadrilogy. I liked the little bookend put into this episode, at the beginning of the season Spidey takes down Flint Marko by webbing an object behind him and smacking him in the back with it which he does to a thug here. It's those little touches.

One thing that I don't think Greg gets enough credit for is the natural progression of time in his shows. In tv you'll often find while certain episodes are themed around Halloween or Christmas, but they often just jump straight to that holiday and there's nothing previously shown that would suggest that those episodes were set in the middle of December. Thanksgiving (and by extension the parade) are huge in New York so I like that not only did they do such a action heavy episode during such an important date but also that they built up to it.

Nature vs. Nurture is one of those topics that while experts agree that both play a key part in someone or something's development how it's balanced is much trickier. The Symbiote has a very well, alien approach to mutualism and I did theorize that it's still pretty young and not adept with understanding complex emotions. Indeed when it first bonded to Peter it had no problem playing the hero game and despite the show saying that it fed on negative emotions attached itself to Peter not when he was in a negative state of mind but during a playful fight with Black Cat (hence why I brought up its first comic when it fed on adrenaline).
Heck it's first truly extreme action was to try and kill Doc Ock and that was only after he threatened to peel him off of Peter's dead body, and even then it still cared enough about Peter's image to back down after Capt. Stacy told him to stop.

But the last few episodes haven't been kind to Peter, his oldest friend starts blaming him for everything to the point of harassment, his Aunt is hospitalized, his family still has financial problem, Jonah's still a skinflint and one of his arch-enemies creates team comprised of people who all want him dead. What comes from this is a very chicken or the egg debate, was it in the Symbiote's nature to corrupt its host or did it acclimate to the negative environment brought on by all the crap Peter goes through and in turn help feed into it because its inexperience with human emotion? Recall last episode when one of the complaints it throws to Peter and "Uncle Ben" is that they have no girl. But why would something so clingy and possessive as the Symbiote care if its host isn't seeing someone other than it? Unless of course that was something that dwelt in Peter's mind and the Symbiote was just parroting? These aren't easy answers.

But that brings us to Eddie Brock, who went to the alien like a duck to water. Incidentally, MJ shows her uncanny social awareness once again, warning Peter of what Eddie has become, even without knowing about the Symbiote. Going off of my previous theory, I feel that the Symbiote was reaching out to someone that felt the same way it did, angry, bitter, hurt and alone. I once hypothesized that Eddie probably grew up in the foster system and never had the familial stability that Peter had. Yet I've personally know others who grew up fine in similar circumstances, so that muddies the nature vs. nurture debate. While the episode states that the Symbiote left Peter because he wasn't feeling any of the negativity he previously was, I can't help but wonder whether like Eddie, it was looking for an excuse to stay angry and bitter.

Venom makes an amazing entrance here and shows why he has the honor of being one of Spider-Man's many archenemies, I especially like how he revealed himself to Spider-Man. Ambushing him at his own home while only showing of his eyes and teeth like some kind of demonic Cheshire Cat. He really sets himself apart from the other main villains this season; Tombstone has a vast criminal empire and can throw down when necessary but neither he nor Spider-Man can directly engage the other. Dock Ock is a total genius and expert at manipulating other super villains into acting as his lackeys but is still a a squishy human behind that big brain and mechanical arms. And the Green Goblin has weapons galore and is pretty savvy and playing sides against one another but his inexperience in fighting consistently leaves him at a disadvantage.

Whereas, Venom is the most personal of Spidey's villains and both Eddie and the Symbiote know everything about Peter and Spider-Man. Heck that dark gag where Spidey runs right into that symbiote web is probably due to the fact that the Symbiote knows what routes he likes to take while web-slinging. Venom may be the perfect example of the "anything you can do I can do better" villain; and there's the fighting, my God I so wanted to see action like this in Spider-Man 3. Venom is just RELENTLESS in a fight; crashing though buildings while Peter swings around them, Pete tries to anchor himself with a lamppost and Venom just yanks him and the lamp up to a roof. The one time he's not in control of a fight is when Peter's sufficiently angry enough to fight him off outside the hospital. All of his previous encounters Peter's had to rely on brains and brawn to win, this time he had to fake surrender and gamble that the Symbiote wouldn't be able to control him
again. Honestly the fight around the balloons while trying to save Gwen is probably my favorite action piece of the season.

I've generally not talked a lot about the teenage romance side of things but I would be remiss if I didn't talk about Gwen taking MJ's advice about stepping up her game when it comes to her feelings toward Peter, though it came at probably the worst time. We also see a little back-and-forth as both Gwen and Liz vie for Pete's attention, which we'll see continue into season 2. It's interesting to see how Peter's own attractions are shown, when Venom tells him he know who he loves the most his mind immediately jumps to Mary Jane, but the Symbiote knows his unconscious mind and knows that leads to Gwen. It's a nice distinction between the immediate attraction that Peter has versus the deeply buried feelings that even he is unaware of.

Some final thoughts: we get our first appearance of the guns used by the bad guys that shoot little, spiked balls (I call them morningstars), I guess they decided to switch things up after the last few episodes had regular-looking guns that sounded like lasers. Gotta love Standards and Practices when it comes to firearms. The opening when Spidey thwarts the jewel heist and has to bring down the helicopter really reminds me of the trailer for the PS4 game, but I'll talk about that when I discuss the season later. Peter may be an A student in Chemistry but doesn't have a clue on what to do in the kitchen. Like me he seems to have trouble with cooking multitasking, maybe he should read up on Wylie Dufresne, try it from a molecular perspective. Flash turned out to be a great source of comedy and civilian heroics this episode (and season), gotta love how one moment he's mistaking King Kong (the ape not Kenny) for a monkey and the next he's rallying the football team to rescue someone he wouldn't have even looked twice at from the beginning of the season. This may be my favorite vocal performance as Venom (or any adaptation), the use of Ben Diskin doing two voices slightly out of sync was a genius move. Speaking of genius, just how good a cook is Aunt May that she managed to get cookbook published in so short a time? And finally, the use of Peter's friends and family as a sort of barrier to ward off the Symbiote's attack; we'd see that sort of thing again in Season 3 of Young Justice. Ironically enough both cases had Ben Diskin in the antagonist role.

Favorite Lines:
Tombstone: I really should start locking those windows.

Peter: Flash, you gave me a pretty hard time the other day.
Flash: Just the other day? Must be slipping.
Peter: Thanks for the reality check.
Flash: ...Don't mention it. And I mean not to anyone!

Venom: From now on we're poison to Peter Parker and Spider-Man! WE'RE VENOM!

Spider-Man: There she is!...and with Flash...ew. Well, at least Flash isn't evil... okay at least he's not possessed by an evil symbiote...at least not as far as I know...

Spider-Man: Thanks for the assist.
Flash: Anytime, now get that creep!
Spider-Man: That's the plan Eugene.

Peter: Still slow on the uptake huh? You're the disease, they're the cure.

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

I love "Better Call Saul". It honestly saddens me that we have a little over a season left until we have to say goodbye to the characters.

Next week, we'll be EIGHT episodes into the penultimate season of "Better Call Saul"!
Greg Bishansky

Greetings from Great Britain! Hope you're all ok. Does anyone collect the Gargoyles trading cards by Skybox? As someone who lives in the UK, I've been lucky to find at least 33 on eBay. Didn't think I would because I don't remember ever seeing them back in the day, when I went out shopping with my folks.

I've kept them in my Utra Pro Collector's Album. Every other trading card I have in there is either Digiomon or Doctor Who Battles in Time. Probably not as organised as other's, but I like a bit of mix and match.

Jamie Spilsbury - [jamiespilsbury117 at hotmail dot com]

Apologies for insulting everyones' intelligence, but Thrill of the Hunt is the 6th episode of Gargoyles.

I guess 5th.

Jack Kirby's FOURTH World!
We must be brave.

I'm calling to people all around the world ! It's serious ! I know there's a lot of fans of THE GARGOYLES, and I need you, we need you, we need us each others ! We want Disney (they are the original producers) to make a live action movie of THE GARGOYLES
Please people, signe and share the petition. We can make it !


Kevin - [elendil1989 at hotmail dot com]

Thoughts on the Last episode of season 1 will be out later today.
Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

Last comment of last week, first of this week!
Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]