Spider-Man [2002]

While fans breathlessly await the fate of the computer-animated New Adventures of Spider-Man (it remains in limbo after being dropped by MTV in 2003), they can enjoy all 13 episodes of its first season on this two-disc set, which includes a wealth of extras. Mainframe Entertainment (which created the cult Saturday morning series ReBoot) and writer/executive producer Brian Michael Bendis (the Ultimate Spider-Man comic) give the venerable story a spin by placing Peter Parker (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris) in college alongside pal Harry Osborn (Ian Ziering) and longtime crush Mary Jane Watson (singer Lisa Loeb). As usual, Parker/Spidey must conceal his secret identity while wrangling a host of foes, which are a mix of ones drawn from the comic book (The Lizard, Kraven the Hunter) and brand new enemies (Talon, voiced by rapper Eve). Spider-Man fans seem firmly divided into "for" and "against" camps over the animation, which beautifully captures Spidey's web-slinging, but often looks awkward when depicting everyday movement. Die-hard series viewers and Spider-Man/Marvel collectors in general will be pleased by the set, which includes behind-the-scenes featurettes and commentary by the creators. --Paul Gaita

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