Reviews By Stu and Jim Harvey
Scans By Stu
Review By Stu
Note: Stu's review is the Region 2 DVD.
Ever since Disney announced that Spider-Man: The Animated Series was to be released in randomly selected single disc volumes
instead of a box set we all know it deserves, this is one of, if not the most requested releases from the show.
Since the entire appropriate movie tie in discs had episodes from the third season of the show, many were dishearten to
learn that Disney would be skipping "Venom Returns" and "Carnage" out, as they were some of the most popular episodes from that
season, if not the entire season. Luckily, as Disney already released there Doc Ock tie-in DVD for Spider-Man 2, this left
another disc available for the movie's DVD release. Disappointingly, we still donít have a box set, or even a single disc
release in the correct order of the show, but they did us something of a favour by finally putting the Venom episodes on
DVD, both the previously missed episodes, and the original critically acclaimed Alien Costume episodes.
Often considered the highlight of the show, the first 3-part story deals with Spider-Man, now framed for robbing John
Jameson's shuttle of a priceless new alloy from space and his strange new costume, which amplifies all of his powers but
also brings out his darker, more aggressive side. Once he rejects the symbiote, it bonds with Peter's rival at The Bugle,
Eddie Brock, who now has all of Spider-Man's powers, memories and a passionate hatred to go with it. While the conclusion
to this story isn't as good as it's set up, it's still a damn fine story, with outstanding storyboarding, animation and a
Its follow up isn't quite as good, but still an entertaining story all the same. It suffers for having one or two
characters few many, should as the relatively unneeded Mordo and Dormammu, but still, it looks pretty, which was
quite rare at the time.
Features wise, it's unfortunately lighter than Disney's other discs. Whether or not it's because it (was) a region 2
exclusive is unknown, but the main 'problem' is relatively simple. Most of the features focus on Stan Lee,
who appears to know very little about the two main characters of the disc, Venom and Carnage. Stan was fine for
Ock, Green Goblin and Daredevil, as he created them all, but here, he really does seem to struggle to talk about
the characters. Heaven forbid they get David Michellin or hell, even John Semper to talk about the show.
Transfer and audio wise, the disc is fine. No bleeding colours, black are solid, and overall it's pretty grain/dirt
free. It's nothing outstanding, but I have no complaints. The animation does look greaT on DVD though.
However, the discs main fault is no fault of it's own. It's a simple matter of fact this show needs season
sets. Badly. The way the stories are told, how the characters develop and grow and to allow the story to make
complete sense is simply too difficult to do without them. The show deserves them. Overall, it's a thoroughly
entertaining disc, and I have no regrets about my purchase. However, as with all Spider-Man: The Animated Series discs, I'm disappointed
to see we're no closer to getting the show released, as we want it.
Review By Jim Harvey
Note: The disc reviewed here is a Region 1 DVD release, and contains additional features not included on the Region 2 release
Spider-Man faces off against his alien symbiote nemesis in Spider-Man: The Venom Saga, the newest DVD compilation
release from Buena Vista Home Entertainment. Collecting five episodes spotlighting the nefarious Venom, this is easily the
strongest Spider-Man: The Animated Series DVD release to date, even if it does fall a little short in the extras
Often considered the highlight of the series, the disc kicks off with the three part "The Alien Costume," the storyline
that introduces the infamous black costume into the animated series for the first time. Thankfully, the cartoon keeps the
convoluted "Secret Wars" backstory from the comics out of the picture, instead bringing their own interpretation to the
small screen. The alien costume is now a black alien ooze discovered on the moon during a routine science expedition,
and it causes the inevitable crash into the George Washington Bridge during the space shuttle's chaotic return to earth.
Spider-Man gets involved and, of course, manages to get the goo on his costume. After a spectacular nightmare sequence,
we discover the alien goo has taken hold, covering him in a new, symbiotic black costume. As we all know, there's more to
this costume than meets the eye. Eventually Spider-Man rebels against the costume, and seperates from it. After
finally finding a very willing host who shares his hatred for Spider-Man, the symbiotic black costume is reborn as
"Venom," a dangerous foe for the arachnid hero.
This leads to the inevitable showdown and an apparent victory for Spider-Man. The third act is a bit of a disappointment
in terms of storytelling and animation, but the story remains pretty enjoyable.
The disc also features the two-part follow up storyline, "Venom Returns/Carnage," which brings back the famed villain
and introduces his red-tinted offspring Carnage. The follow-up suffers from too many extra characters and an unnecessarily
complicated explanation for Venom's return. Still, it's enjoyable to see Spider-Man go toe to toe with Venom
and Carnage, regardless of the compromises made to get these two violent killer aliens
onto a TV-G Saturday morning show.
The audio and visual on this DVD is on par with previous Spider-Man: The Animated Series DVD releases. There's
very little grain and the interlacing and pixelation are very minimal; both are hardly noticeable and not at all
distracting. The audio is solid, with the episodes sounding clear and precise.
Like the Spider-Man: The Animated Series discs before it, Venom Saga gets a fair amount of extras, though the
focus is often disappointing. Stan Lee appears in the majority of the extra features, discussing the appeal of Venom,
a character he didn't create. He also talks about the influence of Spider-Man, but it all feels extremely familiar.
It was great to see the DVD include an extra featuring Venom's actual creator, David Michelinie. He provides a plethora
of information on Venom, such as his powers and origins, but never appears on screen, making for a fun, if brief,
The DVD also contains a hefty amount of television spots, trailers, and commercials for a wide assortment of Disney
Once again, the DVDs leave out anyone involved in the animated series. In previous interviews for
Marvel Animation Age, both Stan Berkowitz and
John Semper, writers who worked on these episodes, discussed the
interesting ordeal in bringing these popular characters to animated life, and that's all information that should be on
this DVD. Considering the complications in bringing Venom and Carnage to the animated series, it would have been great
to hear the thoughts from creators who worked on the cartoon and these episodes in particular.
Overall, it's the best Spider-Man: The Animated Series DVD release to date, even if the selection of extras is
frustrating. However, given the complicated, season-length storylines featured in the series, single disc releases
aren't going to be acceptable much longer. Buena Vista will need to start releasing this show in multi-disc
collectionss soon to keep fans pleased. That said, Spider-Man: The Venom Saga should be a thoroughly entertaining release for fans of the
web-slinger and the savage symbiotes.