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Our reviews of The Spectacular Spider-Man: Attack Of The Lizard (published September 1st, 2008), The Spectacular Spider-Man: Volume Three (published March 17th, 2009), and The Spectacular Spider-Man: Volume Two (published March 17th, 2009) are also available.
Leaping up with no surprise, arriving in the speed of time.
The Spectacular Spider-Man: Volume Four contains the final four episodes of the series' first season run:
• "Group Therapy"
• "Nature vs. Nurture"
The first three volumes of The Spectacular Spider-Man offered an interesting mix of the early '60s Stan Lee/Steve Ditko era of the comic book and Sam Raimi's modernized feature film adaptation. With their focus on Venom, the episodes in Volume Four have their feet firmly planted in the David Michelinie/Todd McFarlane Spider-Man of the 1980s, along with continued healthy doses of Raimi's reimaginings (the "Intervention" episode contains an extended black-and-white flashback to Spidey's origin and Uncle Ben's murder that closely matches Raimi's version in Spider-Man). As in previous episodes, the action is excellent, Spidey is full of his trademark smartass charm, and the anime-style animation is fluid and bold. With Harry Osborne conveniently in Europe, and Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson making only brief appearances, the episodes in this set are heavy on supervillainry and light on high school melodrama—that's not necessarily a good thing as Parker's social woes are a source of much humor in earlier episodes, but it feels appropriate here as these are the climactic episodes of the show's first season.
If you've seen any of the previous three volumes of The Spectacular Spider-Man on DVD, you know exactly what to expect of Volume Four on the video and audio fronts. The 1.78:1 anamorphically enhanced widescreen presentation does a great job of showing off the stylish, colorful animation. There are no digital artifacts of any kind. The Dolby 5.1 audio track sports decent dynamic range for a television series, though it's far from being a reference-quality mix. Dialogue and most effects are located in the front soundstage, though rear speakers get some play in order to provide a slightly more immersive experience than a stereo mix could deliver.
There are no extras.
With four action-packed episodes from the series instead of the previous volumes' three, The Spectacular Spider-Man: Volume Four is the ideal disc for parents looking for a quick and inexpensive Spidey fix for their kids. Serious fans of the show should wait for a complete season box.
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