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Western Animation: Spider-Man Unlimited

Spider-Man Unlimited was an animated television series, running from October 1999 to March, 2001. A total of 13 episodes, it was a sequel series of sorts to Spider-Man: The Animated Series. It sees Peter Parker forced to go to another "Counter" Earth after John Jameson’s ship gets attacked by Venom and Carnage and as per Spidey’s luck, the hero gets blamed for it. After "borrowing" a suit made of nano-machines, Spider-Man goes to Counter-Earth to rescue Jameson and clear his name.

Upon getting to Counter-Earth, Spider-Man discovers that a tyrant called High Evolutionary has made himself at home and created Beast Men that run the planet and normal humans are treated like second class citizens. Along the way, he discovers that John Jameson is alive and well, leading a rebellion against the High Evolutionary; that Venom and Carnage came to the planet with the intent of conquering it; and that the planet does have some vastly different versions of his old foes.

Generally, the series isn't held in high regards compared to other Spider-Man series as it viewed as putting Spider-Man in a situation that's un-Spider-Man-like, like putting him on another world. However, it has gained a cult following due to the same reasons, and it is currently being shown on Disney XD.

Was released on DVD in UK in 2010.

Spider-Man Unlimited provides examples of:

  • A God Am I: The High Evolutionary in a nutshell.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Inverted. When X-51 rebels against his programming, it makes him more insistent about protecting innocents than either his fellow machine men or those who built them.
  • The Atoner: Counter-Vulture, who grew up as a human in the "Upper World" who joined his Beastial friends in tormenting humans, then realized how terrible the things he had done were and resolved to end human mistreatment.
  • Badass Cape: Spider-Man's webbing cape.
  • Badass Normal: John Jameson aside from the Man-Wolf thing.
  • Bad Boss: The High Evolutionary, full stop. He has absolutely no trouble threatening to kill off his most trusted lieutenants and scientists if they start disappointing him.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animals: Some of the Bestials.
  • Beast Man: Really expected, considering the the High Evolutionary's involvement. It also features the first adaptation of John Jameson as Man-Wolf.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The High Evolutionary is the primary antagonist, but Venom and Carnage are behind the scenes working to steal the show.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: The show takes place in an alternate version of New York City.
  • Blob Monster: Venom and Carnage have somehow become this for the duration of this series. Lampshaded in the first episode, as Spider-Man observed their powers had been upgraded.
  • Broad Strokes: The show was not designed as a continuation of Spider-Man: The Animated Series and there are no real similar story elements (the only iffy section is it references the Black Suit storyline, but that is just due to the character of Eddie Brock/Venom in general), but it was similar enough in art style and premiered months after STAS that viewers assumed it was a sequel series. It wasn't and it probably didn't help the series in the long run with viewers feeling deceived.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Shane Yamada-Jones has a Hispanic father and Asian mother.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Spider-Man continually tries to convince himself that the Counter-Earth humans's plight is this. Doesn't stop him from involving himself on numerous occasions anyway.
  • The Cameo: Doctor Octopus appears briefly in the first episode.
  • Chronic Villainy: One episode has Eddie Brock having his symbiote forced off of him. As with many points in various Spider-Man continuities, he proves that he is actually still a decent guy if given the chance. However, as with just about every other example of this happening, it's followed by a situation in which Eddie is forced to become Venom again and forget everything he learned.
  • Clear My Name: One of Spidey's reasons for going to Counter-Earth is to rescue John Jameson after it's generally believed that Spider-Man sabotaged his shuttle, with—as usual—John's dad, J. Jonah Jameson, leading the bulk of it.
  • Cliffhanger: The series ended with the symbiotes about to take over Counter-Earth. Viewers were Left Hanging due to the series' cancellation...
    • Missing Episode: Several scripts were written for the second season, including the resolution of the cliffhanger, but were never produced.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: At the end of "One is the Loneliest Number" Naoko tears Spider-Man a new one after he drives off Venom and Carnage. Granted, having her place of business destroyed was terrible, but Carnage was the one who attacked, and he and Venom together were the ones who did all of the damage. The Doc really had no right to claim that Spidey was as bad as them. Even worse since she's dealt with Spidey on a number of occasions already, including several in which he saved both her and Shane, and should thus be aware of this.
  • Counter-Earth: The episode debuts with a planet orbiting on the opposite side of the Sun as the Earth being discovered. Bonus points for it actually being called Counter Earth and having humans identical to those of Earth. Counter-Earth's New York City is even more-or-less identical to Earth's New York City, right down to the Five Boroughs.
  • Cyber Punk: The technology on Counter Earth is for the most part far more advanced on Earth - even by the Marvel Universe's standards, with flying vehicles being the norm of transportation and the police being comprised up of robots. However, the humans are oppressed and the standard of living is worse.
  • Darker and Edgier: This really stands out when compared to TAS and the amount of censorship it got.
  • Dashing Hispanic: Counter-Earth's version of the Green Goblin, aka Hector Jones. He's only ever shown as a silhouette outside of his grotesque costume, but he goes to great lengths to protect his ex-wife and son from danger.
  • Dating Catwoman: Parodied with Lady Vermin. She certainly wants this, but Spidey sees it as pure Squick. That said, he does take advantage of it for infiltration purposes a couple times.
  • The Dragon: The Knights of Wundagore for the High Evolutionary.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Synoptic could give Shub-Niggurath a run for her money in the "tentacled monstrosity with 1000 young" department.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: The High Evolutionary and Sir Ram.
  • Faking the Dead: In the first episode, Spidey is apparently killed after saving a fireman from being crushed by rubble from the burning building... and uses the ruse to go to Counter-Earth and save John Jameson.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: But of course. Then again, considering the show takes place on another planet that clearly has several bits of advanced technology, it's more justified than many examples.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The High Evolutionary wasn't always an Evil Overlord dressed in Scary Impractical Armor, and in fact has only been in power for roughly 30 years. He used to be an ordinary human (or not, considering he has psychic powers) and even had a family before they kicked him to the curb for experimenting on his own granddaughter, Karen O'Malley.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Green Goblin, aka Hector Jones, was renowned as a tinkerer.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Goblin used this to escape capture at one point, even lampshading how no one else on the planet would even consider this as an option.
  • Heel-Face Turn: In the last episode of season one Lord Tyger aids the rebels in escaping the High Evolutionary, and had Season Two aired, he would have defected to the Resistance.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Taken to the extreme in the first episode, after Spider-Man gets blamed for John Jameson's death. It's taken to the point when Spidey pushes a fireman out of the way of falling debris, said fireman is actually convinced that Spidey was trying to attack him before the building collapsed!
  • Heroic Neutral: Spider-Man battles with this concept. He's torn between his desire to get home and helping the suffering humans.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The High Evolutionary claims this. However, it's made clear throughout the series that, for all his touting of his Beastials as "superior" and "free of humanity's flaws", they're really no better.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The High Evolutionary experimented on his baby granddaughter to save her life. Her parents were furious at what they did to her, so they left him. Their un-appreciation led him to turn against humanity.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Spidey pulls this on Counter-Vulture and the people he rescued from Sir Ram's experimentation when they have Sir Ram at their mercy. Of course, Sir Ram is less than appreciative.
  • Info Dump: In the first episode, Spidey explains all about his new suit before he boards the shuttle. The thing is, he's alone - going on at length about something he already knows and that no one else (besides the viewer) is around to hear.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Spidey's costume throughout most of the show has this ability. He can't use it for long periods, though, due to it overheating the suit.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The first episode strongly implies that Spidey stole the nano-suit from Mister Fantastic. Then again, Reed Richards Is Useless, so maybe he was justified.
  • La Résistance: Currently led by John Jameson. The Counter-Earth Green Goblin and Vulture also rebel against the High Evolutionary.
  • Mad Scientist: Sir Ram really enjoys his job.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The show was probably planned to go this route (Toy Biz did own Marvel Comics at the time) but was canceled long before any figures were made.
  • Mind over Matter: The High Evolutionary has psychokinetic powers.
  • Moral Myopia: The High Evolutionary is made of this. He states that he rebuilt Counter-Earth society so eliminate greed, selfishness, hate, etc. However, it's incredibly clear that he doesn't mind any of these things so long as humans are the victims and not the aggressors.
  • Mythology Gag: When Peter first suits up in his traditional costume in the premiere, the theme to Spider-Man: The Animated Series plays.
  • New York is the Centre of the Universe: While it's unknown exactly how much of Counter-Earth the High Evolutionary rules, his castle is in New York City.
  • Noble Demon: Lord Tyger, who is the only one of the Knights to sympathize with the humans.
  • Noodle Incident: There were many questions the show left unanswered and never addressed. Some examples include: How Venom and Carnage acquired their new powers and knowledge of the Synoptic, how the majority of Counter-Earth's people know about Venom and Carnage, how the original Synoptic chamber came to be destroyed, etc.
  • Not as You Know Them: The Green Goblin and Vulture are good guys on Counter-Earth and its Electro was evolved from an electric eel.
    • When John Jameson, Venom, and Carnage hear about a Spider-Man on Counter-Earth, they initially believe that he's just some Counter-Earth knock-off as well.
  • Older than They Look: Karen was born some time before the High Evolutionary's rise to power, which occurred 30 years prior to the start of the series, but she looks to be in her mid-twenties.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The High Evolutionary reaches this point in the last episode.
  • Parental Substitute: Peter tries to serve as one for Shane.
  • Ret Canon: Spider-Man wore the suit from the cartoon during one story from the comics involving Carnage.
  • Retcon: The series is generally treated as a sequel of sorts to Spider-Man: The Animated Series, but it does alter some details regarding Venom and Carnage (mostly that the suit was never removed from Brock, and removing Dormammu and Baron Mordo from being involved in Venom's return & Carnage's origin).
    • There's also the matter of Mary Jane's sudden return despite her still being "lost in time" in the end of the original series, although the original series ended with Madam Webb taking Spider-Man to retrieve MJ, so that one's justified.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Spider-Man: ON A DIFFERENT PLANET... that's still more or less identical to Earth!
  • Skyscraper City: Counter-Earth's version of New York, with shades of Layered Metropolis since the humans live in mostly slum-like conditions on the ground level while the Bestials get to live higher up.
  • Skewed Priorities: In the first episode, a group of firefighters blast Spider-Man with fire hoses after he saves a woman from a burning building, more concerned with apprehending him and firing accusations at the hero than actually doing their jobs and putting out said burning building.
  • Slasher Smile: Venom and Carnage permanently sport them. Later on in the season, Sir Ram gets a few nightmarish grins in when he gets a chance to kill Spider-Man and when the High Evolutionary threatens to dispose of Lord Tyger.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The High Evolutionary and Carnage.
  • Token Good Teammate: Lord Tyger is this to the Knights of Wundagor. Later in the season he takes issue with the High Evolutionary's tactics.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Sir Ram gets saved by Spidey a couple times. If anything, he gets even more contemptuous whenever this happens.
    • In "One Is The Loneliest Number", when Spider-Man saves Eddie Brock by retrieving the symbiote that had been separated from him, Spidey is rewarded with another attempt on his life. Then again, this is Venom talking rather than Eddie, so a bit more justification there.
  • Villain Team-Up: One of the odder cases as Venom and Carnage team-up.
  • Villains Out Shopping/Go Karting with Bowser: The Knights of Wundagor often go from trying to kill Spider-Man at all costs to Enemy Mine situations.
  • Visible Invisibility: Somewhere between Type 2 and 3, he seems invisible to the universe but has a sort of distortion/outline effect for the audience.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: High Evolutionary
  • What The Hell, Townspeople?: After a week of the Hero with Bad Publicity mentioned above, Spider-Man justifiably has this reaction:
    Spider-Man: After all the times I've risked my life for this stinking city, this is the thanks I get?!
  • You Don't Look Like You: The symbiotes on Counter-Earth are little yellow insectoid creatures rather than Blob Monsters, and rather than covering their hosts in a living costume they cause deforming growths. The Synoptic is a massive blob monster formed from the fusion of millions of symbiotes over millions of years, but it's snot green in color.

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alternative title(s): Spider Man Unlimited; Spider-Man Unlimited
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