Another of those surprising universe building episodes as we see the return of Doctor Connor (no, not Connors…I’m not sure why this would have been changed except by accident); our Aussie hunter friend from “The One Eyed Idol”, Harley Clivendon and of course…Ponce de Leon?
After Doctor Connor discovers what may be the fountain of youth, he disappears. Don’t you hate when that happens? Upon hearing of his disappearance, Peter heads to Florida to try to find his old friend. The show is smart enough to show a plane flying overhead, but surprisingly it’s no big deal for Peter to just go and purchase a ticket on short notice. Usually he has to convince JJJ to send him where he needs to go for a story. But I suppose Peter has no hook here to lore Jonah in as he did back when he went to Florida to get pictures of the Lizard Man in “Where Crawls The Lizard”
When Spider-Man arrives at Doctor Connor’s lab, he finds Clivendon looting the place looking for some “formula”. (There’s no explanation how Clivendon even knows about Connor’s secret discovery.) The two fight and we learn once again that boomerangs are to Spider-Man like kryptonite is to Superman. Ok, in fairness, Billy Conner distracted Spider-Man which caused him to get hit…but that only harkens back to the unreliability of his spider-sense.
When Spider-Man comes to his senses, he heads out in search of Clivendon. Billy Connor wants to help Spider-Man, but is told to stay behind. Of course he doesn’t listen and when Spider-Man discovers his “stowaway” they are ambushed by Clivendon. (You have to wonder how Billy kept up with Spider-Man who was quickly swinging through the swamp.) Upon trying to escape, Spidey and Billy end up in quicksand. And as it is written in the supervillain handbook, Clivendon doesn’t stick around to confirm their demise, and Spider-Man uses his web to easily get himself and Billy free.
Spider-Man has a theory that Billy’s dad might be at the old Spanish fort. We can only imagine he thinks this because he found a Spanish doubl0on in the middle of the swamp. Or the fact that it was the Lizard’s hide out back in “Where Crawls The Lizard”. In either case, the only way to get there is by water. Thankfully, Spider-Man doesn’t do something silly like make skis and a propellor out of his webs. Instead…he makes a fully functional speed boat out of his web so he and Billy can glide through the swamp.
The trip is not without incedents as Clivendon returns and quickly discovers they have survived the quicksand. A well placed bullet upends Spidey’s web boat, but instead of just shooting them, as it is written in the supervillain handbook, Clivendon leaves them for the gators. Which, of course, they escape from. And then Spider-Man gets his swim in for the first time in a while and makes his way to the fort.
Spider-Man and Clivendon somehow arrive at the fort at about the same time and engage in fisticuffs. Much of which is Spider-Man running away from Clivendon and his machete. I guess he forget that he can make a sword out of webs like he did when fighting Mysterio in “Return of the Flying Dutchman” Things aren’t looking good until Spider-Man easily shoots the sword out of Clivendon’s hand and webs him up. The end.
Oh wait, I mentioned Ponce de Leon, the 16th century Spanish explorer who rumor has it was looking for the fountain of youth. Well, it seems that he found it in the swamps of Florida and has been living there ever since. And once Doctor Connor discovered it as well, de Leon captured him to keep it secret.
Now, Leon never speaks, either because the fountain of youth takes away that ability or he doesn’t speak English. But, c’mon Ponce. You’ve been living in the Florida swamp for 400 years, the least you could do is venture out to pick up an “English for Dummies” book and a change of clothes.
But no, all he is worried about is his secret. So worried, that he attempts to kill Spider-Man and Doc Connor with an old, yet fully functional, cannon. But no worries, Billy Connor saves the day by easily pushing the barrel of the cannon up in the air just before it fires. I don’t know much about old Spanish cannons, but I bet they are too heavy for a 10 year old boy to just move around. Regardless, the cannon misses it’s target and ends up destroying the fountain of youth in the process. Leon screams and runs away. Back to Spain I suppose.
Unfortunately, with all the universe building and original scripts that Spider-Man have grown fond of, you have to take the good with the bad. And here we have the bad.
The story is basically that of a fiddler who is none too happy with the rise of rock music and will do anything to return classical music to the heights of popularity. For some reason he has a fiddle that can create sonic blasts, that can be used for a variety of things including blinking 1960’s rock bands out of existence. Those damn hippies with their rock and or roll music.
The fiddler’s plan is to blackmail Flintridge, the man he thinks is responsible for the rock and roll boom and to use that money to build a classical music conservatory.
Some stuff happens and Flintridge plays the bongos and this fiddler causes way too much trouble for Spider-Man than he should. So it’s fitting that Spider-Man defeats the fiddler when, for no reason, he doesn’t have his fiddle in the middle of their final fight and is easily webbed up.