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The Beast Within
Review and Media by Amazing Spidey

Episode #14 - The Beast Within
Original Airdate 23rd September 1995

Tony fakes his death in order to infiltrate one of The Mandarin's schemes as Mandarin and Fin Fang Foom join forces

Screenplay By: Greg Johnson
Directed By: Richard Trueblood
Music By: Keith Emmerson
Animation By: Koko Enterprises
Guest Starring: Robert Hayes as Iron Man/Tony Stark, Dorian Harewood as War Machine/James Rhodes, Philip Abbott as Nick Fury, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Justin Hammer, Jim Cummings as MODOK, John Reilly as Hawkeye, Neil Ross as Fin Fing Foom/Blizzard, Tom Kane as HOMER, Jennifer Hale as Spider-Woman, and Tony Ito as The Mandarin

Review: After a first season full of episodes that ranged from mediocre to beyond terrible, Marvel decided to switch animation houses, and hired a whole new set of writers and directors, as well as replacing most of the show’s voice actors and revamping the visuals of the show.

Immediately setting out to correct the mistakes of season one, this episode was used to bridge the first season and the bigger stories that would be used for the rest of the second series.

The show dramatically improved because of it. The new designs were sleek, and less detailed, which made the animation look so much better. Gone were the hideous 1980’s style squeaky voices, the actors now took themselves and the characters seriously. The writing no longer offered the same damn story over and over again. This season had actual plots and character development! Good ones too!

The episode handled the task at hand well. Forceworks and the useless villains were barely seen, but addressed to all the same. It was actually very clever having Forceworks leave, because it gave the central characters, Iron Man, War Machine and Spider-Woman actual room for development, instead of simply being “one of the team”.

The plot itself was of actual interest. Justin Hammer has been attacking Tony Stark with car bombs, etc, rather than using a useless supervillian. We actually get to see Fin Fang Foom do something, and have a reason as to why there is a 12-foot dragon in our world. Allowing Iron Man to believe The Mandarin was dead was a stroke of genius, as it gave the viewer something to get hyped about, his return. It also meant we didn’t have to see him try to steal another one of Starks damn inventions again.

It also developed one of the more interesting subplots of Iron Man not trusting his friends, and believing that he should do it all himself. This theme carried on throughout the series, and it made for some interesting character development for ol’ Shellhead.

In short, it delivered more action, character development and interesting stories in less than half an hour than the rest of the first season put together. The Beast Within was an utterly superb way to start the second season.