Spidey and Spider-Ham must team up against the vicious Kraven the Hunter! And maybe with a cameo or two?
Big shout out to Eileen Nestman pulling double duty in this episode! She always glows as the glamorous Ghost-Spider. But this time she was able to flex those vocal skills and play a completely different tone as the psychotic White Rabbit! Truly, there is no end to Eileen's talent. To get more of Epic Eileen, check out her YouTube and her Instagram.
And of course we can't forget my boy Xavier Hernandez as the spine-tingling Spider-Man 2099! Playing it cool and cryptic as always, make sure you check out big X over on his Instagram.
And now, you know what time it is. Time for Easter Eggs! And there's a lot in this one Marvelites, so strap in!
Breaking the 4th Wall
That's right! Similar to heroes like Deadpool and She-Hulk, Spider-Ham has the unique ability to break the 4th wall! It was actually teased that he could do this in episode 1 of Return to the Spider-Verse when he told Peter he read the subtitles to understand what Peni was saying. The logic is that he's basically like a Looney Tunes character, and those guys shatter the 4th wall with reckless abandon!
The Bombastic Bag-Man
After Peter gets knocked out by Sp//dr, Ham covers his head with a paper bag so that no one realizes he's out cold. This is a reference to one of Peter's suits from the comics, the Bombastic Bag-Man! When Spider-Man first took off the Symbiote in the comics, he did so with the help of the Fantastic 4. But being that he had nothing to wear, Human Torch found it funny to hook him up with a spare FF costume and a paper bag over his head.
A Really Good Lawyer
When Spider-Ham nearly brings in a hero from the "Distinguished Competition", he's stopped by none other than Daredevil himself! Those who remember Matt Murdock's appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home will recall that he described himself as a really good lawyer when Peter asked how he caught the brick. Also, fun fact, the role of Daredevil was played by Ben Affleck in the 2003 movie, who also played Batman in several DC Universe movies. So I thought having them share the screen for a second was a fun little nod.
If you've watched Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, or read Ghost-Spider's comics, you know that Captain Stacy is dead-set on figuring out the identity of the Ghost-Spider. Believing she killed Peter, he makes it his job to hunt her down and stop her. This was alluded to back in episode 6, when Gwen mentions that everyone, even her own father, was trying to stop her. Also notice the musical cue when Captain Stacy says Ghost-Spider's name, from Daniel Pemberton's new Across the Spider-Verse score! I timed it that way intentionally, same with the now famous Spider-Man 2099 score earlier.
Did White-Rabbit remind you a bit of Harley Quinn? How about Armadillo, a little like Groot? Lines like "We're some kind of Suicide Squad" and "We're bad guys, it's what we do" Sound familiar? That's because episode 10 was my first attempt at a parody in Return to the Spider-Verse! Since Ham was teaming up with a ragtag team of villains trying to be heroes, I figured I'd take little nods and jabs here and there at movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad. It definitely made writing this episode more fun!
The Savage Six
There's a team from the Spider-Man comics known as the Savage Six, which includes animal-themed villains such as Vulture, Stegron, Scorpion, Rhino, etc. When giving Ham a team, I wanted them all to be animal-themed, since he's a pig. This also ties in thematically to Kraven being the villain, but I'll circle back to that in a sec.
Ham introduces the sixth member of the Savage Six as his mallet, Jonathan! This is actually a nod to an interview with Paul Rudd from Ant-Man and the Wasp, where the interviewer asks the cast what the name of Thor's hammer is. And while everyone is trying to pronounce Mjolnir, Paul Rudd simply says Jonathan.
As Ham mentions, his mallet fitting inside of his pocket is a concept that's called Hammerspace. As viewers of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse will know, it's defined as "an infinite extra dimensional storage area for cartoon hammers and the like". Vulture uses it later to stash Kraven's spear, which I thought was a neat callback to the DaVinci Universe Vulture using it in the movie!
A Problem With Cartoons
Those who remember Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will recall a moment in the final showdown where Spider-Ham comes face to face with Scorpion. Scorpion laughs, asking if Ham is some kind of silly cartoon, to which Ham replies "You got a problem with cartoons?" before wrecking Scorpion, just like he did to Kraven in this episode!
Cluvin is Ivory
The element "Cluvin" that the team is looking for is actually another word for ivory. As Spider-Ham mentions, this was a callback to an episode of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends called "Spidey Meets the Girl from Tomorrow". A girl named Ariel and her brother crash on Earth from the future, and Spidey becomes absolutely smitten with her! He does anything in his power to help her repair her ship, and one of the things she needs is something called Cluvin. Spidey has no idea what it is, but while hanging out with her at the zoo, Ariel spots an elephant's tusk and claims that it's Cluvin, leading to the conclusion that Cluvin is ivory.
A classic Loony Tunes gag is one where Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are trying to get Elmer Fudd to shoot one another by claiming it's either rabbit season or duck season. It usually ends with Bugs outsmarting Daffy by saying it's rabbit season, causing Daffy to shout "Duck Season, FIRE!" I thought with Ham basically being a Looney Tune himself, it'd be a fun gag to implement. Another one was the mid-credits scene with the "That's all folks!" I'm pretty sure everyone caught that though.
"Has to do with Spider-Man I think"
If you've seen Morbius, I'm sorry. If you stayed for the post credits scene, then again, I'm sorry. But you'll recall Vulture's interaction with Morbius is the exact same as the meeting with the Sinister Six in the episode. I thought it'd be a story Vulture came with on the spot because honestly that's about as much thought as Sony put into it. Notice how when he describes the story he told to Prowler, he uses the words "offensively bad". Yeah, my cringe tolerance is actually really high, but I just couldn't with this scene! I thought it would be even funnier to have Ham repeat it to the Savage Six and actually have it work.
A recent story in The Amazing Spider-Man comics was called "Hunted". In this story, Kraven gathers all of the animal-themed villains and Spider-Man into Central Park, and with the help of Arcade, creates this big, elaborate hunting ground, where the hunters (millionaires that Kraven duped) and the villains are all at risk! So thematically, having the Savage Six do their final showdown with Kraven in Central Park was kind of the perfect set piece.
I was Happy
When Leap-Frog makes his incredible leap to the tune of "I Believe I Can Fly", he nearly nabs Vulture, but comes up just short! Just before he falls, he says "I was happy, floating in the pond, staring at the lily pads". This was another The Suicide Squad reference, when Starro is defeated, he claims that he was happy floating through space, staring at the stars. The "Spider-Ham, what a joke line" comes from that movie as well. Also, when Rabbit asks if Leap-Frog is dead, the tune that plays is the haunting death/game over music from the first Spider-Man movie game. I apologize to anyone I triggered by playing that traumatizing tune! I mean, seriously, what were they thinking! It's like, yeah, okay, I died, I get it, no need to rub it in with a whole orchestral symphony!
In Spider-Man: Homecoming when Peter goes to pick up Liz, and figures out that her father is the Vulture, Toomes has problems remembering Peter's name. He mocks him with this in the final battle by calling him Pedro. I thought it'd be a nice way to reference Vutlure's history with MCU Spidey.
That's it for this episode! It was really fun doing a comedic parody, and I hope you all really enjoyed it. Also, no, slipping on a banana peel was not fun, thank you for asking. I can't wait for Episode 11: For the Love of MJ! After all this Paul nonsense in the comics, I think a classic Peter/MJ story is sorely needed! Until then, Face Front True Believers, I'll see you in the Multiverse!