Let’s start with the burning question of why the character(s) in question here are called The Fly? The don’t look like flies. They can’t fly. They don’t have wings. If anything, they are cheap Spider-Man knock offs with Mysterio like equipment to fake having Spider-Man’s powers.
There was a character called The Fly (often referred to as the Human Fly) in the comics, but he made his debut in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #10 which was published almost a decade after this episode aired. At least this character actually looks like a fly. And can fly. And has wings.
While the stories from episode to episode have been mostly independent, there does seem to be the slightest bit of universe building. In the last episode the police drive by Parafino’s Wax Museum which has been featured in several episodes. And in this one, the Maharaja of imaginary country Jhin Jamir makes an appearance. This is technically the Maharaja’s first appearance as he was a dummy in The Fantastic Fakir.
The big reveal this episode if of course that there isn’t just one Fly, but two. Which explains how he can be in two places at once. What’s not a big reveal if you’ve been watching along with me, if you sneak up behind Spider-Man, his spider-sense doesn’t work.
After knocking Spider-Man out, the Flies do the obvious. Not unmask him or anything, that would just be silly. They take off with the loot and head to a popular villain hideout. The amusement park that Electro used way back in episode two. I think this one is more about reusing animation than universe building.
The budget on this show was never high, and it is quite obvious that every corner was cut to keep costs low. Lack of backgrounds at times, and the obviously reused animation. But in general, what is animated is solid. But for some reason the art on Jonah in this story seems quite off. He looks off model or drawn by a ten year old. I’ll take the recycled animation over this obvious drop in quality. But it is strange that the rest of the regular characters all seem fine. I guess the guy tasked with drawing Jonah was having a bad week..
In order to find the Flies, Peter Parker plants a very obvious spider-tracer on a rare dagger that he assumes is the Flies next target. And luckily, it is! I have to wonder if he really needs to do so? Can’t he follow them without it? I know he makes a comment that he will stay out of sight and use the tracer to follow them, but Spider-Man needs to have more confidence in his stealth abilities. Maybe he’s come to realize that his spider-sense in this dimension isn’t worth much, and wouldn’t warn him against being seen.
Necessary spider-tracer or not, Spider-Man makes his way to the amusement park and confronts the Flies. Spider-Man falls into a booby trap, but for the most the super powerless Flies are no match for him. However, I’m pretty sure that by webbing them to the Ferris wheel and turning it on, Spider-Man would have killed the Fly brothers. But I’m not sure anyone besides Uncle Ben can die in this dimension, so they are ok and eventually taken away by the boys in blue.
In this story we might the evil Doctor Von Schlick. Another graduate of evil medical school. Man, they really churn these guys out. Von Schlick obviously majored in “purple scuba suits for no apparent reason”.
Von Schlick is stealing oil from over the city to create…thenium 007. Which is a concentrated oil pellet which VS can combine with his nice secret herbs and spices to create enough power to control the universe. I’m not kidding.
Later, Von Schlick pokes a hole in a tanker without sinking it and also somehow (with a magnetic oiloscope of course) manages to draw the oil through water and against the current. Spider-Man decides to follow the oil flow and is swimming once again. He really does love to swim. I’m surprised he didn’t dive in after the Fly last episode instead of just shrugging his shoulders and thinking, “well, he’s dead, better head back to work”.
When Spider-Man can’t climb up onto Von Schlick’s barge where he is storing the oil because it is too slippery, he uses his web. Which I guess he figured wouldn’t stick to the barge either, since it’s tip morphs into a grappling hook and digs in allowing Spider-Man to come aboard.
As much as I’ve complained about the things that Spider-Man’s webbing can do in this show, it pales in comparison to what Von Shlick can do with oil. Besides the “draw the oil through water with a magnet” trick, he captures Spider-Man by first trapping his feet with an “adhesive oil” and then creates a bubble of some sort around Spider-Man. He then somehow (and I don’t know if this is another oil based trick) melts the adhesive oil away while not disrupting the oil bubble, and pushes Spider-Man into the river.
Spider-Man thinks, “well, two can play at this game” and makes a ninja throwing star out of his webs in order to burst the bubble, escape and enjoy another good swim.
A defeated Spider-Man then goes home and create a new mask that goes over his Spider-Man mask and will allow him to breath through water and oil. Nope, no scuba tanks are required. Which is fitting since Von Schlick wears a scuba suit with no tanks either. Spider-Man also creates a(nother) new webbing that will “stick to anything”. Here’s an idea, why not use this webbing all the time from here on out? Isn’t sticking to anything essentially the whole purpose of the webs? Spider-Man also covers is suit with a special silicant coating, because, reasons.
Spider-Man confronts Von Schlick as he tries to steal more oil from the military pipeline. VS sprays Spider-Man with oil, but it’s no longer effective thanks to the silicant coating.
Von Schlick then escapes through the oil pipe and Spider-Man is able to follow thanks to his magical new mask. Spider-Man tracks him back to his sewer lair and thanks to his new webbing, quickly incapacitates Von Schlick. So he’s won. Just leave a note for the police (minus the hyphen probably) and swing off to the next episode. Right? Apparently not. For some reason, Spider-Man decides that he must destroy Von Schlick’s generator and floods the compartment with water. There is a massive explosion destroying the generator, but somehow not killing Spider-Man or Von Schlick.
I’m not sure what Spider-Man is thinking here. He has the bad guy. I’m sure the police could have arranged to get someone to dismantle the generator. And how does destroying the generator get all the oil back where it belongs? Jonah says that Spider-Man is no hero, as he could have blown up the city. For once, I have to agree with him.