Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 2, Episode 8

Background

Have you ever heard of an animated series called "Rocket Robin Hood"? It takes the legend of Robin Hood and puts the familiar characters into a space setting. Yeah, me neither. Apparently the same people that took over for Spider-Man in the second season made the Robin Hood series as well.

This is like a crossover between the series ... if you overlook the fact that the characters never shared screen time and that the majority of the plot, backgrounds, animation, villains, etc is taken directly from an RRH episode. *sigh* Here it is...Spidey in space.

Story 'The Phantom From the Depths of Time'

  Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 2, Episode 8
Summary: First Aired Nov 2nd 1968 (full-length episode)

While Spider-Man is happily web-swinging around New York City, the evil insectoid Dr. Matter attacks the planet of They-Don't-Mention-It with his army of giant robotic beetles [They do refer to it as an asteroid, but really, are we going to quibble over this point?]. He conquers the population and forces them to work in their mines as slaves gathering the rare substance Lavacide. This will somehow help him rule the universe. Mwahahahaahaha [He didn't really laugh like that, I just added that in. Sounded right]

One man manages to send out a distress signal. Somehow this frequency is attuned to Spider-Man's spider-sense. [That's not really how it works, but ...]. Spider-Man does what any hero would do: steals a rocket ship and follows his spider-sense to the subjugated planet. [How did ... forget it]

His arrival is noticed by Dr. Matter and his hunchback sidekick Igor. Matter commands his giant bugs - through a special-order pipe organ - to attack the intruder. The beetles attack and wreck the ship. Spider-Man quickly commandeers one and uses it to destroy its brothers. He heads toward the source of the signal - a castle for the rulers of the planet.

Matter then sends a rock creature after him. From his monitoring system, it appears that the creature pushed Spider-Man into a deep gorge. In reality Spider-Man is hiding from him on the side of the gorge. Once the danger has passed, he continues toward the castle. When they next pick him up, they have a moat monster attack him. Spider-Man defeats the creature and continues on his journey. [See? He survived because he didn't stop believing. "Journey"? "Don't Stop.."? Nevermind.]

He arrives at the castle and informs Dr. Matter that he's going to shut him down. As a last effort, he uses his enchanted organ [Heh heh heh heh. Organ.] to turn a nearby mountain into a gigantic rock monster. Spider-Man takes the space ship full of Lavacide and puts it on a collision course with the rock monster, ignoring Dr. Matter's screams of "No! Not the Lavacide!". [Anything but the Lavacide! Why didn't he just, y'know try to stop him with brute force? That's what all evil aliens do] Upon impact the Lavacide detonates, destroying the monster mountain. Spidey ejects before impact and creates a web-chute to slow his descent [Wait. How did he know this substance was an explosive?]

With Dr. Matter and Igor imprisoned and the population free Spider-Man returns to Earth. Even though the ship was destroyed upon arrival.

General Comments

There's a lot of things wrong with this episode. All of them revolve around Spider-Man in space. Monkeys can go into space. One of my favorite segments on the Muppet Show was "Pigs In Space". Somehow this is one super-hero that doesn't work well in space.

I would say this is because he has no believable method to get off the planet nor does he have the equipment to survive on an alien world with a potentially incompatible atmosphere. This was the premise of this episode and I submit to you, dear readers (both of you), that this is why the episode sucked.

The pairing of the villains didn't make sense. An insectoid and his hunchback servant take over a planet. It sounds like the opening of a bad joke - one that I will finish. The insectoid asks his lackey if his plan for world conquest will work. Before the hunchback can answer, the insectoid states, 'What difference does it make? You're a blue-skinned simpleton.' The hunchback mutters, 'Maybe so, but at least I'm not a cheap imitation of Annihilus.' The lackey is then beaten by the other slaves for the insectoid's amusement.

The aforementioned recycling of material from ANOTHER SERIES didn't help either. The fact that he stole a spacecraft thinking nobody would notice. Said craft was destroyed and miraculously rebuilt at the end.

The title of the episode doesn't even apply. There was no phantom, the episode had no depth whatsoever, and was a complete waste of time.

Overall Rating

1/2 web. You know you've hit an all-time low when you use material from a separate and obviously dissimilar series to cut costs.

I'm still not sure how that signal would have reached Spider-Man since it originated off-planet. Back in the early days, his spider-sense was used in various now-inapplicable ways. But at least it was limited to Earth.