This week, Spidey ends up trapped in one of his most classic and most bizarre incarnations.
Peter is trying to make it to picture day, hoping that this year, he might be able to take one that can be deemed safe for public consumption. “You have to protect your brand.” he says, noting all the other cool superheroes who have awesome PR campaigns, like Tony Stark. What does he have? “MENACE” as bakred by J. Jonah Jameson. No one appreciates his efforts. Well, almost no one. A street vendor offers him a hot dog as a token of appreciation, and like most teenagers, it appeals to Peter in two ways – it’s food, and it’s free. However, once he takes a bite, the vendor with the thick Brooklyn accent starts sounding a little more… well, Asgardian. The vendor shapeshifts into Loki, who is still miffed that Spider-Man thwarted his plans to kill Thor, way back in the Frog-Thor episode. This time, Loki isn’t interested in killing Spidey, at least not by himself. The hot dog is enchanted, and turns Spidey into none other than the infamous Marvel parody creation, Spider-Ham.
Yes, basically Peter turns into a pig in a red and blue jumpsuit. And not just for the sake of mere mischief, either. A fog shrouds the streets andPeter finds himself hunted by a pack of Asgardian hunters on giant wolves, led by none other than Scourge, The Executioner. Apparently, once a year, Asgard has a hunt, and this year, Peter’s porcine form just happens to be the object of desire for the warriors of Valhalla. Of course, Loki puts a clever spin on the whole thing. Peter is the most “desired creature in the nine realms”, which is, you know, ironic, since he was just complaining about being under-appreciated. The hunters chase Peter all over Central Park with Loki turning up to thwart any attempts to hide. They’re about to catch him when everyone’s other favorite Asgardian shows up, Thor. (I really like Ultimate Spider-Man’s Thor. It’s the only team-up, save maybe Doctor Strange, that they’ve managed to not screw up.) However, there’s a catch – Thor is actually unable to call off the hunt. It’s ordained by Odin, by Asgardian law. But that doesn’t mean Thor can’t slow them down.
He hurls Peter over to Midtown High using Mjolnir. “Are you kidding me? Those guys are going to roast me, but my high school will eat me alive.” However, he has no choice to hide out there, and, of course, runs smack dab into the rest of his team. They get the best of their Spider-Ham jokes out of the way, and suit-up when the hunting party shows up to lay waste to the school. Meanwhile, Thor is pow-wowing with Coulson about how best to handle the situation. Coulson is much more focused on protecting his students than anything else. “You are the Son of Coul, I thought you could handle this.” Coulson takes Thor into his office, flips a few switches and pulls a gigantic gun off of a hidden mount in the wall. “I’m an Agent of SHIELD and the principal of a New York public high school. Of course I can handle it.”
The team relocates to the helicarrier, where they are told to hide out until sunset, thinking that there’s no way the hunting party could find them there. Did you know Asgardian wolves have wings, because of course they do. A long showdown atop the helicarrier ends in a stalemate, once the sun goes down. The hunt, as ordained, ends at sundown, and even though Scourge and the others were ready to cleave him in two, they agree to return, much to Loki’s dismay. “We hunters live by a code.” Before Loki can finish the webslinging pig himself, Peter reverts back to his human form, and KO’s Loki well and good.
Some stray throughts:
- Spider-Ham was created by Tom Defalco in 1983. Some of USM’s best episodes have come from honoring some of these goofier, more esoteric Marvel creations. See: Frog Thor, Damage Control, the body switch issue between Wolverine and Spidey, and now Spider-Ham. Self-aware works well for this show, and it’s when the show tries too hard to be wacky on its own that it fumbles.
- The animation in this episode was actually stunning in some parts, and their designs for the Asgardians, especially Loki and Thor, are pitch perfect without being stylistic. I also enjoy their voice actors, Troy Baker as Loki in particular. He’s fun without being too prissy or goofy.
- Rule of Threes with Comedy: the running joke with Flash was hilarious the first time, tedious the second, and hilarious the third.
- Oh Clark Gregg, I miss you from the MCU already.
- The ending was a little messy, it almost felt like a Scooby Doo ending. “I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids.”
- Danny thinks the Asgardian drag wolves are “majestic.” Cutie.
Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of the last episode: ‘Damage‘.