They once made a whole Spider-Man show about the villain of Guardians 3, man

When you start to look into him, the High Evolutionary, the clumsily named villain of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, is kind of like a fungus: all sorts of places you’d never expect. A creation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, High Evolutionary is about as old as the Marvel Universe, and a surprising number of creators have told stories with the notoriously convoluted hero. This includes animation, as one of High Evolutionary’s most prominent pre-Guardians appearances was in a nearly forgotten, entirely bonkers Spider-Man cartoon.

This was a show that turned the supervillain Electro into a walking eel, reinvented the Green Goblin as a hero with an accent I would describe as “Mexican Dracula” (read: I can’t make up my mind as to whether it’s ridiculous or offensive or both), and ends with a cliffhanger so abrupt you’ll think the power went out. This was Spider-Man Unlimited.

Spider-Man Unlimited was meant to be the follow-up to the beloved 1994-1998 animated series, a pillar of the animated superhero boom heralded by Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men. A big part of these shows’ success was in their ability to tell complex all-ages stories that stayed true to the spirit of their source material in spite of aggressive censorship and a difficult production environment. Spider-Man Unlimited was… different.

A loose sequel to its predecessor, the series started with Spider-Man leaving Earth in pursuit of Venom and Carnage, only to be stranded with them on Counter-Earth, a bizarro-world where the High Evolutionary’s genetic experiments led to a race of human-animal hybrids called Bestials who serve him. Human beings largely live in the slums or join the resistance against the High Evolutionary — including Spidey, in a high-tech suit designed for maximum toy potential. Across 13 episodes, Y2K Spider-Man balanced his roles as a resistance fighter, regular superhero, and citizen of Counter-Earth, fighting Bestial versions of his villains and entirely new characters and tracking down Venom and Carnage.

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