Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 17 (Story 1)

 Posted: May 2010


Dr. Octopus returns after a long absence, most likely in jail. Now that he's out, do you think he'll use this opportunity to find gainful employment or try to take over the world again? Well if he did the former, it'd be a very boring cartoon, wouldn't it?

Story 'The Terrible Triumph of Dr. Octopus'

  Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 17 (Story 1)
Summary: First Aired Dec 30th 1967

Professor Smartyr [the old guy from "Sub-Zero For Spidey" aka "The Episode I Hate The Most"] invites Peter to a photograph his newest weapon for the military: The Nullifier ["The" Nullifier? Now we're getting somewhere!]. Capable of destroying any missile, Smartyr's kept this out of the public eye until now. He allows Peter to photograph this revolutionary weapon, currently under the protection of two armed guards.

A strange man in a cloak appears on the balcony of the conference room. He announces his intentions to take the Nullifier for himself. Casting the cloak aside, he is revealed to be none other than Dr. Octopus [Ock *and* The Nullifier in the same episode, this is gonna be good]

Smartyr orders the guards to protect The Nullifier, but they quickly learn how powerful Ock's arms truly are [In other words, they get slapped around by a very aggressive, pudgy scientist in a purple jumpsuit. ] Peter uses this opportunity to slip out and change to Spider-Man. More guards come in and throw a tear gas canister at Ock, but he informs them that he's too powerful for be stopped by that and knocks them out as well. [He can laugh off tear gas? He's not that powerful, guys, really.]

Ock surveys the room and boasts about being "the most unbeatable adversary" [Ockie, "unbeatable" isn't measured in degrees, it's a yes/no thing] As Ock prepares to leave with his prize, Spider-Man appears and attempts to stop him. When Ock threatens to use The Nullifier on an unsuspecting city, Spider-Man backs off but plants a tracer on him.

Following his spider-tracer, he arrives at a small building on the waterfront. He sees a figure resembling Ock sitting in front of a large control panel. Thinking that this is too easy, he makes a web ball and throws it through a window. His intuition serves him well as the building was rigged to explode. Octopus observes the destruction of the building from his monitoring network. Thinking that Spider-Man is dead, Ock proceeds with phase two of his plan: require the countries of the world to pay him exorbitant fees to put up satellites or else he'll blow them up (the satellites, not the counties).

Spider-Man emerges from the wreckage and finds a piece of Ock's cloak. He takes it home hoping it will help him find Dr. Octopus. He then builds a "digital bloodhound" that scans the fragment and uses that to pick up Ock's scent [So he builds the world's first Tamagotchi pet. Congratulations, you've got a jump start on an annoying trend.]

After a long night of searching, Spider-Man finds Dr. Octopus' lab. Ock tries to flatten him and electrocute him, but Spider-Man turns the tables on him and Ock is on the receiving end of the incapacitating current. He then contacts the police who find Octopus and take him to jail - after they turn off the power.

General Comments

The first half of the episode started off very strong, having Octopus make a daring theft of a new military-grade weapon. This is something that we should expect from Dr. Octopus, not someone like ... oh... the Rhino (Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 8).

For those that think this sounds familiar, you're right. This was taken from Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #53. This is just what you do when making a superhero cartoon, boys and girls. You take the story lines that worked in the comics - even back in the prehistoric days of the 1960s - and you give it a fresh coat of paint.

Unfortunately after the waterfront scene, the pacing resorted to their tried-and-true approach: advance the plot through any device possible, find the villain, minor fight, leave for the police.

I'm not particularly fond of the "digital bloodhound" plot device. I'm sure Ock has a particularly funky smell to him - as do all evil scientists that are too busy plotting world conquest to bathe - but it was not a believable method to track him. They could have brought in Webby The Spider-Dog for this episode and made it just as realistic.

Overall Rating

3 webs. Strong start, but standard finish. Aside from the tracking device - maybe even including it - this is exactly what you should expect from this series. Action, Jonah rating, convincing villain, and one-liners from the hero.

The initial Spider-Man/Dr. Octopus battle is done quite well and is the high point of this episode.

 Posted: May 2010