"With great power comes great responsibility" is the iconic mantra of Spider-Man. But when the web-slinging superhero returns for the second season of his animated Disney XD series, he might have to change that to "With great responsibility comes great responsibility." That's according to Jeph Loeb, Marvel Entertainment's head of television, who promises that Ultimate Spider-Man will feature more heroes, more villains and more roommates, starting with special back-to-back episodes Monday night at 7/6c. (The show returns to its Sunday morning slot on Jan. 27 at 11am/10c.)
Following the destruction of the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier in the Season 1 finale, Spidey (aka Peter Parker) has invited his now-homeless teenage teammates — White Tiger, Power Man, Iron Fist and Nova — to move into the Queens home he shares with his Aunt May (who is unaware that her nephew and his pals are superheroes). "Now not only does he have to accept the responsibility of having a team, but he's basically also turned his personal life upside down," Loeb says.
Not that he's going to have much time for a personal life. A parade of classic comic-book villains will take turns in the spotlight, starting with the Lizard and Electro in Monday's episodes, as well as Rhino (this Sunday), Kraven the Hunter and Doctor Octopus. "As the old adage goes, a hero is only as good as his villain, and the Spider-Man rogues gallery is really rivaled by very few," Loeb says. They'll soon be joined by one more baddie to form the Sinister Six. "When you suddenly see them all gathered together by the soon-to-be-named person you'll understand why Spider-Man really is for the fight of his life, " Loeb says. "If you're a fan of the comic books you know this is trouble."
There will be plenty of good guys, too. In addition to his roommates, Spider-Man will continue to get face time with member of the Avengers, including Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and, for the first time, the hot-headed archer Hawkeye, who makes his debut in the Feb. 10 episode.
As part of Disney XD's "Marvel Universe" programming block, a new series of interstitials will help promote literacy. The "Reading With: Marvel Comics Close-Up" shorts feature Joe Quesada, Marvel's chief creative officer, encouraging fans to dig deeper into the characters' world by reading comic books. "You get a very unique experience when you're reading a comic book that you don't have in a TV show or in a movie," Loeb says. "Comics have an ability for you to fill in the gaps along the way and for you to use your imagination, which is what reading is all about. It's an opportunity for you not just to hear stories, but to feel them."
As part of the initiative free digital comics will be available at disneyxd.com/comics.
Check out this exclusive clip from the season premiere of Ultimate Spider-Man: