We open on Spider-Man telling us how he has spent his summer vacation as New York’s newest superhero, kicking butt and taking names, while web slinging through New York. His one regret is that school is starting tomorrow and he can’t seem to find any crime to thwart this evening. Luckily a couple of small time crooks are robbing a jewelry store and Spidey is right there and ready to stop them to stop them.  Unbeknownst to our hero, he is being watched by a shadowy figure who Hammerhead simple addresses as “The Big Man.” This video is enough to convince “The Big Man” to bring in the Enforcers to swat the bug,

The next morning Peter is getting ready for school and is in high hopes that this year will be different, riding high on the confidence of being Spider-Man. His elation is stopped though when he overhears Aunt May complaining to Anna Watson about their money troubles. Peter ever seeking the desire to please decided to not let his Aunt know that he was eavesdropping and instead pretends that he has just come down stairs. With a kiss and a lunch handoff he is out the door to school.

Before getting to see how his first day goes however, we are treated to a scene at Oscorp where Victor Toombs is blaming a short-bespectacled scientist for encouraging him to show Norman Osborne his magnetic flight system technology, which he then stole. Before Toombs can continue his abuse Osborne comes into the room and tells Toombs that he doesn’t care what Toombs does or says after a lifetime of failure no one will believe it was Osborne who stole the idea from him. The good news is that Victor no longer blames the initial scientist for his misfortune.

Back with Peter Parker, he is determined to not let the Parker monetary problems affect his outlook on the day. Soon he is greeted by his friends and fellow students Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy. Much to their surprise Peter is far more confident this year and before either of them can even begin to think of stopping him, Peter has set off to ask out cheerleader Sally Langston. Of course she loudly turns him down while simultaneously insulting him. Soon a cadre of jocks, including Flash Thompson and Liz Allen, has come out to humiliate Peter and steal his lunch. This humiliation is enough to remind our hero that while he may be Spider-Man at High School he is just king of the losers: Peter “Puny” Parker.

While Peter is going through something that supposedly effects 98% of all high school students we are greeted to Hammerhead introducing The Enforcers (Montana, Ox, and Fancy Dan) to “The Big Man” via Charlie’s Angels – esque voicebox. He explains that Spider-Man has been interfering with his operations all summer, and while they originally thought it was the thieves they employed wetting their beaks. They now had proof it was our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Their mission is stop his meddling once and for all.

Jump to Peter and Gwen in science class where, after a brief reminder that Peter was bitten by a genetically modified spider there last year, they have both been given internships at the ESU lab with Dr. Curt Connors. Both of them couldn’t be happier and since Peter doesn’t understand that 99.99% of all internships are unpaid he believes the Parker money problems are solved.

Since the internship doesn’t begin until an hour after school lets out. Peter opts to stay in the city, instead of going back to Forest Hills, and hang out at his best friend Harry’s. While there Norman Osborne overhears Peter speaking about the internship and asks him and Harry to join him on the veranda. Luckily, before Norman can really start in on his son with the verbal and mental abuse about him not even being considered for the position, Victor Toombs appears decked out in a bird themed costume, abducts Norman with his talons, and flies away calling himself The Vulture. Peter encourages Harry to call the police, and once the cost is clear Peter takes pursuit as Spider-Man. Peter is able to catch up and rescue Norman, but he loses the Vulture after dropping Norman at a nearby police. Peter is also content to leave the Vulture for later is the fact that he is running late for his job at the LSU lab.

As Peter runs to the lab entrance he is speaking with Harry on the phone about what happened with his father, and Peter explains that he had attempted to follow them on foot and that is why he suddenly disappeared. Before Harry can ask anymore probing questions, Peter ends the call citing he is late and Gwen is giving him “the look,” which she quickly rebukes. They enter the lab and find that employed there an assistant lab technician is their former classmate Eddie Brock. After Peter and Eddie call each other “bro” one time too many. Eddie introduced them to Dr. Connors wife Mary. Curt is otherwise indisposed in his office, injecting himself with a green liquid, After which he comes into the main lab and introduces himself to his two new employees.   It appears as if he may recognize Peter as being the student bit last school year, but Peter waves the off as finishing his sentence with “by the science bug.” Eddie begins to take them on a tour of the lab, and Peter asks how much he can expect to be paid. Eddie laughs and says its pro bono considering the lack of experience and Peter is visibly bummed.

Waiting for the bus with Gwen, Peter bemoans his situation. Confiding in his friend that as great an opportunity as the internship is, he should instead be looking for paying work to help his Aunt. Gwen tells him not to worry, that things have a way of working out. As Gwen leaves on her bus, Peter secretly wishes she is right and is smacked in the face by a copy of The Daily Bugle blowing in the wind. Seeing they have a headline regarding Spider-Man, Peter had an idea of how to solve all of his problems.

We cut to a very awkward scene of Peter, in his street clothes, climbing up the Daily Bugle building complaining that he wasn’t let past security. After saying that May and Ben Parker didn’t raise a quitter he breaks into a janitor closet with a plan to tell the editor his plan. Unfortunately, after barking orders to his Newsroom, J. Jonah Jameson mistakes Parker for an employee he sent to get him a bagel and schmeer ten minutes ago. Betty Brant corrects him that it was in fact Benny he sent and that it had only been three minutes. Seeing his opportunity Peter pitches to Jonah that he could easily get him photos of Spider-Man and that such an acquisition would surely sell a lot of papers. Jonah dismisses him for being a child and trying to tell him how to do his job. Though as Peter is being escorted out by security you can hear him talking with Robbie Robertson about how Spider-Man pictures would sell papers.

Defeated after a day where nothing seems to have gone his way, Peter returns to the Osborne’s veranda as Spider-Man to retrieve his shoes. Meanwhile, down below, Norman Osborne is being dropped off in his Limo, when the Vulture strikes again. Seeing this Spidey jumps into action, but this time it is not just the Vulture he has to deal with, but also The Enforces have come to play in their very own gunship.  Just as Spidey is about to get the upper hand of the Vulture, Montana shoots him with a net and brings him down on a nearby rooftop. Fancy Dan and Ox engage him and are handily defeated once Spider-Man decides to use their strengths against them. From there he is pursued by Montatina n the helicopter as The Vulture also continues to attack him. Seeing no way to defeat both villains, as they are splitting his focus, Spider-Man decides the best way to beat them is to turn the two threats against each other. Using some quick thinking he tricks The Vulture into coming close to the rear propeller shoving his wing blades into the spinning rotor. This causes the helicopter to lose control, but leaves Toombs in the air. Turns out his wings were just for steering, his ability to fly comes from the power source located on his back. Spider-Man hastily destroys this and webs up The Vulture to be arrested by New York’s finest, he then surveys the scene of the fight and notes that Montana has escaped justice. Consider three out of four bad guys as not bad considering, he heads home, after of course picking up his shoes.

As Peter arrives home, he attempts to sneak in his bedroom window, but sees his Aunt sitting on his bed. Seeing he has been caught he goes in the front door where he is met by Aunt May, who chews him out for coming home at midnight. Peter attempts to explain, but Aunt May stymies him, and gives him a hard ten o’clock curfew. She of course isn’t a total hard ass and says he can call if he might be late, but reminds him that such a call better be to tell her that he is on his way home and running later. Peter agrees to these terms and they each celebrate with a piece of banana cream pie.  As he eats Peter reflects that though he may have had the day he anticipated, in the end it turns out he has a pretty great life anyway.


Damn, I forgot how much actually took place in the first episode. All I remembered was that the Vulture was the big bad. Everything else had completely fallen out of my memory. I blame this mostly on the fact that when this show premiered they showed both the first and second episode. Not to downplay the importance of this episode, but the second one is much more streamlined and thus more memorable. Of course after watching it again tomorrow I may find I was wrong about calling it streamlined, but we can save that helping of crow for then.

I suppose this episode feels so full because they have to pack everything into it. Even though everybody should be familiar with the origins of Spider-Man by now, it’s still almost expected that the first installment will give you that retelling of how he got his powers. While I am glad that in this episode the whole bitten by a radioactive spider bit is reserved for a short flashback, when you consider all of the other world building that occurs it gets a bit lost in the shuffle. Which makes me wonder why even bother to include it. The intro clearly shows him being bitten by the spider and I think that should be enough when paired with the exposition of Spidey’s first monologue. If they hadn’t included that small scene then I feel like everything else would have been given that little bit extra to breathe and the proceedings might not have felt so rushed.

Still the idea of setting a piece of Spider-Man media while he is still a high school student is brilliant. I feel like it has been largely ignored since it first happened in the comic books, and I applaud the risk they took with creating an entire property around the largely unexplored time period. One must also give praise to how they took aspects of Spider-Man’s life as an adult and seamlessly weaved them into that time in his life so that there exists an air of familiarity. It makes the entire proceedings feel like a mixture of the Ultimate Marvel universe and the Movie Universe, and after seeing the new film it seems as if it also existed as the template for the new story they are telling.

My favorite part though is all the setting up for future episodes that is done in this first episode. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when you consider the show is being brought to us by Greg Weissman, the same cartoon creative genius who brought the world Gargoyles, which is specifically evidenced in the fact that Spidey runs by a set of Gargoyles that resembles the main cast in the opening scene.

If there is one thing he knows how to handle with amazing care is the introduction of seemingly ancillary characters early on in the series who will eventually mean a whole lot more. While the most blatant is Curt Connors injecting himself with something when we first meet him, one cannot discount that fact that the first two thugs that Spider-Man busts are Flint Marko and Alex O’Hirn who if you read the series both eventually become well-known Spidey villians. I also recognized in this viewing that Jonah mistakes Peter for a Bugle employee named Benny and in the comics Peter had a clone by the name of Ben Reilly, and even though this is never addressed in the twenty-six episodes produced, it is nice to see they gave themselves the opportunity if they had wanted to. There is so much hidden right out in the open that once you go back after viewing the entire series you seen how much planning went into building the world of The Spectacular Spider-Man and it just makes you love the series that much more.

Overall this is a very solid episode of the series. While it will never be in the running for my favorite episode, it does do a very admirable job setting up the world, and succeeds in being entertaining throughout.


  • Main Villains: Victor “The Vulture” Toombs & The Enforcers: Ox, Fancy Dan, and Montana
  • Number of future villains introduced or alluded to: 7
  • One and Done Gadget: Spider Signal