Ultimate Spider-Man
#27 - The Lizard

Original Airdate - January 21st, 2013
Ultimate Spider-Man returns to stop the nefarious plot of Doctor Octopus. But not everything goes according to plan when Spidey’s friend, Dr. Curt Connors, transforms into The Lizard.

"The Lizard" was written by Roy Burdine and Man of Action and directed by Jacob Semahn.

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Review by Medinnus, Media from Marvel Animation, Marvel Animation Age
The lead-off episode for the beginning of Season Two of Ultimate Spider-Man is "The Lizard", which pretty much drains the episode of any suspense as to who we'll be seeing as the bad guy this time around.

The humor in the episode is just like it was in the first season, but toned down and pulled back; if you liked the humor, there are still little 4th-wall breaking asides and chibi-web-slingers, but the interrupting digressions are much less intrusive, which is the way they ought to be. People who find the attempts at humor lame and ineffective will find much less about which to object, and those who thought the humor was refreshingly funny and an entertaining addition to the narrative will still have things about which to chuckle.

Spider-Man's affiliation with S.H.I.E.L.D. is still much in evidence, and his team (teen-regressed Power-Man and Iron Fist, the obnoxious version of Nova, and White Tiger) are still living with Peter and Aunt May at their residence. We get a little bit of how things are working with the erstatz "dorm life" bit, which pretty much catches things up from the finale of Season One.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier is still "in the shop", but they commandeer Doc Ock's old lab space so that Dr. Conners can work on analysis of Doc Ock's mad scientist stuff; he is especially fascinated by using Ock's animal-based DNA mutagens to regenerate a damaged human body.

Long story short - Connors uses the lizard DNA mutagen on himself. Conners becomes the Lizard, and rampage ensues. The plot is nothing profound nor complex - but it serves, giving us the Lizard's origin with ties to Doc Ock and stuff that had come before, establishing this as another chapter in the meta-story. Watching the physical evolution and mental de-volution of Conners as the Lizard was well-done, complete with a degradation of his linguisitic abilities. Complaints from last season about how very little of Spidey's "usual suspects" rogues gallery will be pleased as to where the beginning of the season seems to be headed.

One of the same problems from last season still dominates the series - when you have a line-up of Spider-Man, Nova, Power Man, White Tiger, and Iron First (along with legions of S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives as a back-up), its hard to find single-villain enemies as credible threats. During the last season, Man of Action handled that by benching (for the most part) the team, and that is done again here, with the team being used to set up Spidey's lone actions or advance the plot. I hope with the introduction of more team-oriented threats (avoiding spoilers here, folks), we'll have a chance to see more of the team as an integral part of the plot, and not being written down to ineffective and essentially inconsequential levels.

Still "Missing In Action" are the supporting cast of Peter Parker, with the exception of Aunt May. No Mary Jane, Flash Thompson, Norman Osborn, let alone Gwen & Captain Stacy, or Felicia Hardy. Its hard to tell from one episode, but half of the supporting cast that makes Spider-Man what he is remains AWOL.

Better than the first half of Season One, but still not living up to the nascent potential inherent in a Spider-Man series. The animation is still top-notch, and the character designs remain adequate to the need (I'd have preferred a more-scaly Lizard, that someone who looks more dinosaur than lizard, but its a minor quibble). If you are one of those folks who quit the series after the first half of Season One, the progress made is certainly worth a second look, and if you are one of those people who liked it all the way along, you'll feel quite at home.

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