Marvel’s Spider-Man: Maximum Venom was back with another 45 minute episode this past Sunday after taking a few weeks off after debut this new season. And with it we saw more developments of the big Symbiote War that is coming to Earth. Along the way we saw more heroes brought into the fold of this Marvel Animated Universe that Spider-Man exists in. Did these developments and additions make for a strong episode?
The answer to that question is mostly yes. One thing that I have to credit the creative staff for with this Spider-Man cartoon is there ability to make their use of the greater Marvel Universe mostly seamless. While we have gotten some one-shot team-up episodes, there have been many instances where Spider-Man’s team-ups have worked to advance the story. This “Amazing Friends” episode was another showing of this being a strength of the show.
Given that this is a 45 minute episode it was smart to not have the entire Spider-Man Family involved in this episode. There gets a point where too many characters on screen gets distracting. But by having just Peter Parker and Miles Morales around it gave “Amazing Friends” the opportunity to give Ironheart, Amadeus Cho and Doctor Strange each a chance to have their characters developed over the course of the episode.
With the use of Ironheart and Amadeus Cho in particular this “Amazing Friends” episode was able to show how Spider-Man, Peter in particular, is a Shepard for the younger generation of heroes. Having done the superhero game on his own and in various team-ups for some time now he is a hero. The shows staff do play up how Peter is always left out of big team stuff for some good comedic beats. But those comedic beats come back into play to further the idea that Spider-Man has become a hero and doesn’t necessarily need mentoring in an Avengers Internship Program.
Introducing the Avengers Internship Program also was good set-up for what will likely be a running plot element in this show. As we see with Ironheart and Amadeus Cho, there is a new group of young heroes-in-training that are ready to break out. The Avengers all recognizing this allowed this Spider-Man cartoon to develop the older heroes of this Marvel Universe without them being on screen. It all showed that the Avengers do recognize that they are inspirations to kids like Miles, Riri and Amadeus. So rather than turning them away they have created this Avengers Internship Program to help them in their development. This opens the door for one of the payoffs of this Spider-Man: Maximum Venom season to be the creation of the Young Avengers or Champions in a way that is the next logical step for the show.
Of the heroes introduced Ironheart was by far the standout. “Amazing Friends” did a good job using the plot with AIM and Groot to develop who Riri is over the course of the episode. Riri’s chemistry with Peter really shined as they do have similar backstories. You get to understand why Riri buried herself in her work and has a tough time making friends. Peter understanding that and relating to her through their similar backstories allowed a bond and friendship to form that came across as natural.
On the other hand, Amadeus Cho’s use in this episode was not the best. The show’s staff did explain Amadeus push to be seen as a leader was because he wanted to show he was a muscle head Hulk Jr. but it did not work as intended. Amadeus inclusion just came across as “Amazing Friends” trying to fit a superhero quota with how many there needs to be in each episode. Especially with how he was introduced, he came across as a convenient plot device for the moment he was introduced.
But while Amadeus introduction fell flat, I did enjoy how “Amazing Friends” paired Miles Morales with Doctor Strange. Their pairing worked much better than I expected it would. Both characters played off each other well. This pairing especially helped to continue to develop Miles character as being more than just Spider-Man #2. We are starting to see Miles be more comfortable as Spider-Man and how the show is developing his own comedic timing in comparison to Peter. Hopefully we see more of Miles as Spider-Man as this season goes on because he is always a good addition to what is going on.
The use of Groot in “Amazing Friends” also was a good way to create a mission that Spider-Man and his friends needed to complete. It opened things up to understand why Groot, an alien, would cause Spider-Man to go up against AIM and Baron Mordo. This all builds on the idea that Spider-Man: Maximum Venom is going to be a big event season. This isn’t just about the Spider-Man Family. The symbiote invasion is something that will involve all of Spider-Man’s allies. “Amazing Friends” and the season debut are establishing this idea in the viewers minds so when the symbiotes do take over it is a bigger deal than previous season events.
While “Amazing Friends” was heavily focused on the Spider-Man adventure side we do get some interesting personal developments for Peter in the form of Mary Jane Watson’s first full appearance. MJ previously made a quick appearance in the season one episode “Venom.” But that was more of a cameo than anything. “Amazing Friends” gives us a full appearance for MJ and starts planting seeds for her and Peter to possibly get together, or at least be friends. With how Peter and his friends will be busy dealing with the symbiote crisis it’ll be interesting to see how much time this season will dedicate to the non-Spider-Man related plot elements.
Overall, “Amazing Friends” got a lot accomplished in progressing this Maximum Venom season for Marvel’s Spider-Man cartoon. The introduction of Ironheart, and her chemistry with Spider-Man, shined throughout this episode. The episode also made great use of this show’s Marvel Universe to build the symbiote crisis approaching Earth to be a big event when it happens.
EPISODE RATING: 8 Night Girls out of 10
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