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The Party
Review and Media by Stu

Episode #8 - The Party
Original Airdate July 11, 2003

Peter's geeky high school friend, Max Dillon, is trying to fit into college life by joining a fraternity and becoming one of the "in-crowd." Unfortunately, the fraternity is only allowing Max to participate in their "rush process" as a big joke. When Max is hazed at a party the prank takes a turn for the worse and ultimately leads to the creation of Electro, a high voltage villain that threatens the campus.

Story By: Brian Micheal Bendis
Screenplay By: Brian Micheal Bendis, Morgan Gendel and Marsha Griffin
Directed By: Aude Paden
Music By: John Digweed, Nick Muir and William Anderson
Animation By: Mainframe
Guest Starring: Rino Ramano as Doug Riceman, Cree Summer as Professor Williams, Ethan Embry as Max Dillon/Electro

Review: Whilst in most countries this was the first episode to air, it wasn’t the first in production order. From as near as I can figure, it acted as the pilot to show the network (the now hated MTV.) It has to be said that this episode is arguably one of the show’s poorest. The plot was simply riddled with clichés. Every lame cliché you can think of was crammed into the episode. The animation, whilst still very good, wasn’t quite up to the standards of the later episodes, and the fight scenes weren’t nearly as dramatic. The dodgy lighting didn’t help the cause either, and actually proved to be very distracting.

The dialogue was also simply lame. This show is renowned for it’s clever, witty dialogue but it lacked it here. Harry, as always, proved to be amusing, but Mary Jane and especially Peter’s dialogue like any of the spark it usually showcases. Thankfully, MJ/Peter don’t take up a lot of screen time, and the episodes fight scenes come along a lot quicker than usually, thankfully as this is the point where the episode gets into high gear. After being re-introduced to our main cast of characters (Peter, MJ and Harry) we finally get to see Spider-Man in all his glory. With an innovative 3D animation style that is simply impossible to dislike, we see Spidey swing through the city as never before. No reusing the same animation over and over again here folks.

Max, naturally annoyed at the Doug Riceman (Rino Romano, Spider-Man from Spider-Man Unlimited), Electro gets his revenge, electrocuting Doug. In a rare occurrence for a super-hero cartoon, our hero arrives too late. No comas, none of that 'sent to alternate dimension', no narrow escapes. The villain killed his enemy. It generally passes unnoticed, after Spidey makes his appearance at the party, much as he promised MJ and Harry he would. As with the web slinging scenes, the fights in this show are fantastic. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain how happy I was when Spider-Man punched Electro, right in the face. Hard! As it does in most episodes of the shows, the villain was AWOL at the end. It wasn't a battering and an 'off to prison you go', Electro is supposedly dealt with in a permanent manner, keeping the villains fresh for next week. While Electro does return, in a much better episode (When Sparks Fly) this episode wasn't as open ended as most super-hero cartoons are.

Overall, an incredibly clichéd plot, tired dialogue and dull characterisation for the main trio of characters which is saved by the fight scenes and the featured villain.