Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SPIDER-MAN Episode Eighteen - October 7, 1995

Mutants' Revenge
Story by John Semper & Michael Edens.  Teleplay by Francis Moss & Ted Pedersen.

Summary:  Wolverine and Spider-Man realize Herbert Landon is the true enemy and team up to stop him.  As they invade Landon’s headquarters, Hobgoblin uses Landon’s computer terminal to steal his mutant research.  When Landon pursues Hobgoblin, Landon falls into a vat of chemicals he intended to use on Beast.  The chemicals turn Landon into an irrational monster.  The X-Men arrive to help, but it’s ultimately Landon’s assistant Genevieve who calms Landon down with her psychic powers.  Landon returns to human form, and Spider-Man and the X-Men part as friends.

Continuity Notes:  
  • Genevieve is revealed as the person who saved Spider-Man’s life by telekinetically holding the ceiling together in the previous episode.
  • Half of Landon’s body is now green and scaly after he reverts to human form.  Visually, he’s now a doppelganger for Two-Face, a fact the producers had to be aware of.  He sticks around the show for quite a while, confusing little kids all across the country, I’m sure.

I Love the '90s:  Landon’s computer interface is represented by a hilariously bad CGI recreation of a woman.  After Hobgoblin copies the info on to a CD-ROM, he then programs his own CGI face into the computer to taunt Landon.

Review:  I had forgotten that the second chapter of this crossover is…not very good.  At all.  Spider-Man and Wolverine aren’t allowed to have much of a fight, due to censorship restrictions of the time (which were even tougher on Spider-Man than on X-Men).  And after they do inevitably decide to stop fighting and team up, they spend the next ten minutes fighting the same security guards over and over again.  By “fighting” I mean flipping them around like acrobats, since no punches can connect, and by “the same” I mean that literally, as the show recycles the same footage of two guards running towards the camera approximately five thousand times.  The guards look like a group of middle-aged dads who were kidnapped outside of a bowling alley and forced to wear goofy hats, pointless straps, ill-fitting pants, and emasculating ‘80s shoulder pads.  I can’t imagine why anyone thought the audience wanted to see an extended fight scene with these losers in the first place, but at the very least they could’ve had cool designs.  Couldn’t Landon have robot guards anyway, so Wolverine can cut something up with no censor notes?  

What’s after the fight?  Landon turns into a giant reptilian monster of all things, the X-Men show up, looking slightly more anime this episode, and the day is saved by…a peripheral character I barely noticed in the previous episode.  And Landon is now Two-Face, and somehow everyone was just okay with that.  I actually do like the twist that Landon has a mutant working for him, one who believes that a “cure” should be made available, I just think the revelation of Genevieve’s secret feels like a copout.  Genevieve, who I think is referred to by name only once during the storyline, hasn’t been fleshed out at all, so allowing her to suddenly save the day makes the ending feel even more noticeably abrupt.  That’s the ending we’re stuck with, however, as Spider-Man learns a lesson about friendship that inspires him to visit Dr. Mariah Crawford, setting up the next storyline on his show.  The X-Men return to their fully-rendered, hand-painted world and never think of this Spider-Man fella again.  Except for Storm, who turns up with her original voice during the show’s laughable Secret Wars adaptation, because Marvel wouldn’t pay to fly the entire X-Men cast from Canada.  That’s the commitment to quality I remember from the ‘90s Spider-Man series.

Credit to for the screencaps.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Never understood why Landon became the Kingpin's right-hand man for the remainder of the show. Landon may have been the "Mutant Agenda" storyline from the comics -- I don't know -- but he was hardly as well-known as Alistair Smythe, the previous scientific henchman (which is saying something). Why not use someone with more of a comic book history, like the Tinkerer?

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