Episode #9: Persona
Original Airdate: May 17th, 2008

Spider-Man learns the hard way not to judge a book by its cover when another Spider-Man starts making headlines … as a crook! It's the Chameleon, master of disguise, looting the city and laying the blame at Spidey's feet. The Web-Slinger is forced to team up with another crook, the lovely Black Cat, to stop his foe's faux-Spidey crime spree and clear his name. Along the way, Spider-Man inadvertently comes in contact with an alien symbiote that dramatically alters our hero's color scheme … and begins to mess with his mind.
Written by Matt Wayne
Directed by Dan Fausett
Music by Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion
Animation By Dongwoo animation

Josh Keaton as Spider-Man/Peter Parker
Lacey Chabert as Gwen Stacy
Clancy Brown as Captain Stacy
Joshua Lebar as Flash Thompson
Daran Norris as J. Jonah Jameson
Alan Rachins as Norman Osborn
Dee Bradley Baker as Curt Connors
Xander Berkeley as Quentin Beck
Steve Blum as Dilbert Trily, Chameleon
Deborah Strang as May Parker
BJ Ward as Mayor Waters
Tom Wilson as Stan Carter

Review: Screw on Head - “Persona” is yet another solid installment of “The Spectacular Spider-Man” but it doesn’t reach as high as some of my favorite episodes of the series so far.

Right off the bat one of my favorite touches in this episode is how excited Peter Parker is about the discovery of alien life in the “symbiote.” It’s a great touch given how unexcited we all know he’ll be once he discovers its evil nature and its transformation into Venom through Eddie Brock.

I thought it was a nice bit of continuity how Peter’s only way of seeing the symbiote is visiting it late at night as Spider-Man because he knows he isn’t welcome there by the Connors because of the events in “Natural Selection.” His bout with Black Cat, and the attachment of the symbiote, were handled really well. I thought the choreography in this scene was beautifully done and the pace was well handled too.

It was very cool to see that the Chameleon using actual masks and disguises rather than the holographic technology he employed in “Spider-Man: The Animated Series.” That isn’t a knock at the 90’s series, as I think holographic technology is just as cool and appropriate for the character, but there’s something really neat about Chameleon wearing material disguises that he has to change into.

The inclusion of Phineas Mason and Quintn Beck, namely The Tinkerer and Mysterio, was a cool bit, because not only do they act as neat surprises but they also serve genuine purposes in the episode as helpers to The Chameleon.

Choosing Chamelon as the first villain for Spidey to face off against in the Black Suit was a great choice, because Chameleon offers the opporitunity to see classic Spider-Man fighting the new outfit. I kind of wish the animators pushed the scale a bit more between the characters, because often times it was hard to tell if Chameleon was taller than Peter was during their alteractons, because his model design was clearly different than Spider-Man usually looks in the series.

Tricia Helfer as Black Cat was a wonderful choice and she performs perfectly in the role. Her banter with Spider-Man is also written really well and the actress does a great job deliver her lines.

Design-wise I thought the designers did an amazing job as per usual with this series. My only real irk with this episode is that the symbiote costume isn't the classic black Spider-Man costume. If ever there was a perfect-for-animation Spider-Man outfit then it would be that one. I think the outfit we see in the episode looks fine, and maybe it transforms into the black costume in the next few episodes, but I'd be a bit disappointed if we don't see that costume appear in this series.

Overall the introduction of the symbiote in this episode was well done. Obviously there’s more to come with Spider-Man’s descent into the symbiote’s control so I can’t knock this episode too much for the symbiote's rather mundane presence in this episode. I think this episode focused on all the right things in this episode and executed them all really well, such as serving up a solid introduction to both Black Cat and the Chameleon, but again, as an introduction to the symbiote it was a pretty subdued entrance for the alien outfit.

“Persona” is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s nothing for me to rave about either. If “Surivival of the Fittest” was good and “Natural Selection” was excellent to me as a barometer for this episode, then I’d say this episode was extremely good. There’s a lot of great moments to experience in this episode, but as a whole it just doesn’t pack quite the punch that I know is coming as we approach the last four episodes in this amazing first season of “The Spectacular Spider-Man”!

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