This week, Peter has a run-in with one of his superpowered idols, to disastrous effect.
We open, as we usually do, mid-fight as Peter introduces himself in his voice-over. We see that he’s actually working with the team tonight, and all five of them are trying to stop a super-villain made of pure photon energy. “Anyone read the wiki on bad 80’s lazer guy?” In case you didn’t, Agent Coulson gives a quick run-down on this green baddie- the Living Lazer, who in this universe is a former Stark Industries employee who got into some bad science. The teens are having a rough time dealing with this dude, who’s energy-based powers don’t go very well with their hand-to-hand combat skills. They want to try and catch this guy without tearing apart the whole city but aren’t having much luck. They finally get him cornered when the Living Lazer scatters into particles and disappears. Above them, a familiar figure- none other than Iron Man himself, in voiced by ‘Heroes’ actor Adrien Pasdar, who had a brief tenure as Tony Stark in the short-lived 2010 Iron Man TV series.
Before you can say “fanboy”, Peter is already mouthbreathing about Tony and obviously admires him for both his heroic backstory (“He built that suit in a cave somewhere! With like, a paper clip and two cans of soda!”) and his massive intellect. “Big time genius.” he swoons like he’s reading a romance novel. He watches Iron Man and Fury from afar, wondering what they’re talking about. Turns out Tony’s just detailing his latest exploits with Miss February from the Playboy calendar. Fury asks him to get to the point about what happened to Living Lazer. Tony says he’ll have no problem tracking him down and Peter interrupts, offering a helpful scientific suggestion about how to find him. Tony teases Peter for his ripped-up costume but seems to like his style. He tells him to stop by Stark Industries to work on his look.
At Stark Industries, Peter is losing his fool mind about all the cool Stark robotics technology, and Tony seems to like showing off to an eager audience. Most importantly, to the plot anyway, he shows Peter a molecular disruption chamber, which, when caught inside, sends particles of any living thing into countless different dimensions. Peter imagines what this would be like and we get fun references to the Spider-Pig comic, as well as a trip to the ‘Super Hero Squad Show’ universe. (Peter on SHSS: “Your heads! My feet!”) He briefly talks to Tony about what it’s like working with the Avengers as a full-time superhero and notices that he and Fury didn’t exactly seem to gel. “You get along with the people you work with?” He finally reveals to Peter what he’s been working on: a spider-inspired Iron Man suit, which many will recognize as the Iron Spider suit from the ‘Civil War’ arc.
Back on the helicarrier, the team is waiting for Peter to come back and train with them, but he’s very late. They begin their training simulation without him. At the last second, Peter shows up, flying through the air in the Iron Spider suit. Although he looks pretty great in the suit, it’s pretty clear he doesn’t quite know how to control it, and with all the repulsors and lazers attached, makes a mess of the training area. Seeing the damage that Peter’s done with the suit, he sends the other four to deal with the Living Lazer. Although he’s grounded, he shows up to the fight anyway and continues to cause more havoc for the team, as all the collateral damage from the suit distracts them from the fight. The Living Lazer manages to damage Peter’s suit and get inside of it.
Meanwhile, Fury is giving Tony hell for doing something reckless like giving Peter an Iron Man suit and Tony seems annoyingly laxabout the whole thing. Living Lazer shows up and tells Tony that unless he lowers Stark Industies defenses, as well as the firewalls on his own suit, he’ll kill Peter inside the suit. Tony immediately complies and Living Lazer gets inside the Iron Man suit, knocking Tony out and disappearing.
Back at the helicarrier, Peter recoups and tries to repair some of the damage done to the Iron Spider costume. The team starts to admonish him for what happened during the fight before he tells them what happened to Iron Man. They agree, without much hesitation, to help him. “We’re in this together,” Luke says.
At Stark Industries, Living Lazer is trying to hack into Tony’s hard drive to steal all his designs, although JARVIS seems to be fighting him every step of the way. The team busts in and starts a fight. Peter contacts JARVIS and tries to find a way to wake Tony up so he can regain control of the Iron Man suit. JARVIS tells him that the suit comes with an emergency defibrillator in the suit connected to Tony’s central nervous system. Peter activates it, resuscitating Tony while the team executes a (very well animated) fight with Living Lazer, who tries to attack them using the Stark Industries robots. Peter and Tony realize that the only way to get rid of him is to lead him into the molecular disruption chamber, or as Peter refers to it: “That thing! That thing that… does the thing!” After a long chase, the Living Lazer is stuck in the chamber and is transported across dimensions, including the ‘Super Hero Squad Show’ one, where he is immediately dispatched by a short, giant -headed Thor.
Back in the helicarrier, Fury commends the team for their good work, despite the fact that they disobeyed him again. (Fury, when you gonna stop takin’ this?) He holds Peter back and shows him the modifications Stark made to the Iron Spider costume- it now collapses into a backpack. Despite Peter’s enthusiasm, Fury says he’s definitely not ready to take it into the field again, but maybe with a little practice.
Like EMH, another weirdly disconnected episode. I couldn’t quite get a grip on Pasdar’s Tony Stark, and maybe I am just truly too brainwashed by Robert Downey Jr. and his well-meaning imitator on ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’, Eric Loomis to let it gel but I think it has more to do with how aggressively lame Tony was in this episode. Yeah, he made an Iron Spider suit, that’s nice, but who cares? One of the more interesting facets of the Tony Stark/Peter Parker relationship in the comics had a lot to do with Peter’s hero worship of Tony without realizing that maybe Tony isn’t the kind of guy he should be worshipping, further solidifying the disconnect between a hero and the man behind the mask. But we don’t get much of that here, just a lot of hijinks involving the Iron Spider suit. So for Ultimate Spider-Man’s first big hero cameo, this one isn’t giving me much hope. I mean, it wasn’t awful, but there just wasn’t much to like about Tony, and Fury seems pretty right in his distrust and admonishment of him.
But so far, this show seems to be pretty consistent in the kind of stories it wants to tell, no matter how much I beg and scream for more focus on our other young heroes, who are fun to watch, but are still pretty one note.
Miss an episode? Check out our recap of last week’s episode: ‘Venom‘.