I was just catching a rerun of the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon on TV tonight—and I have seen things with worse production values. Though they all featured Criswell, oddly enough.—and I noticed, again, one of the Kingpin’s henchmen, a fellow in a business suit and with “Two Face”-style facial scarring. (That is, one half of his face was lumpy green, with one orange eyeball to boot.)
I just realized…I have absolutely no idea who this guy is supposed to be. Can anyone fill me in?
I think his name was Dr. Herbert Landon, and he was a scientist who worked for the Kingpin. There’s also a guy in Kingpin’s employ named Alister Smythe, another scientist-type who has a mullet.
Smythe is the Two-Face guy.
In the very first episode Smythe’s father is killed while trying to send robot spider slayers after Spider-Man. Smythe is angry at the Kingpin and demands justice. Kingpin gives him a job.
Through the course of the series he would ride around in a bitchin’ hovercraft (he was paralyzed you see), be hidesously deformed (the Two-Face look) but regain the ability to walk and then turned into a cyborg. I think there was one or two more transformations I missed too.
Almost positive this is not the case. Smythe was later transformed into some creature (perhaps the cyborg), but Landon was the acid-scarred guy.
Landon had apprently been turned into “Two-Face” right around the same time Smythe became the cyborg.
I just combined the two events into one person.
Carry on, nothnig to see here.
Spider-Man: The Animated Series was great wasn’t it?
Landon was an anti-mutant bigot, and he’d developed a chemical that was supposed to kill mutants. Spiderman and the X-Men got involved, and eventually Landon got mutated into a huge monster. They managed to partially restore him to normal, the result being the Two-Face look he now has.
Smythe got turned into that freaky cyborg-thing after the Kingpin became frustrated with his inability to destroy Spiderman.
I think it’s very underrated by today’s standards, and I see it as a precursor to Ultimate Spider-Man and Marvel’s entire successful Ultimate continuity. It reintroduced familiar characters and events in a short time frame, all from a modern-day perspective. Most of the villains were linked to either Spider-Man or a few key catalysts (Jameson or the Kingpin), and most of the guest-starring heroes were introduced THROUGH Spidey or the villains (such as Daredevil, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, and Captain America). It was a great “crash course” in the Marvel Universe in that regard, simplifying and modernizing origins and backstories for new, inexperienced viewers.
In fact, I think the cartoon presented a good Venom origin that would be perfect for the third Spider-Man movie, without going into that Secret Wars/alien costume nonsense: astronaut John Jameson (already in the movies) brought a moon rock back that was infected with the symbiote! That’s all they would need for exposition in the movie, before the symbiote passes to Eddie Brock (apparently Topher Grace in the movie) or even John Jameson himself, if they really wanted to tighten up the backstory!
How is it any different than any other cartoon about superheroes? They all condense the back story and introduce new characters through the primary cast.
But a few years ago, Marvel started its Ultimate line of titles, which pretty much did the same thing – a secondary comic book universe where everything is condensed, updated, and fast-forwarded, much like the cartoon that came before. The Ultimate Marvel Universe has been a colossal hit, mostly in terms of sales, but also got critical acclaim for putting fresh spins on old ideas. I was just pointing out that the '90s Spider-Man cartoon covered a lot of the same ground, but didn’t get nearly as much credit.