September 21, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Epic Spider-Man Rewatch: Spider-Man (1967) S2 E3

Season Two, Episode Three: "Swing City"

Swing City.  Henceforth known as the episode where this series went off the rails.  There will be much (some much, much) worse episodes in the future, but after a decent start with Origin and the Kingpin this one gives us our first real taste of what things will be like going forward and it’s not pretty.

With season two the show has shifted away from splitting each episode into two stories.  This mostly worked for the origin story but the Kingpin episode was really padded out with shots of Spider-Man swinging around the city.  The fact that this episode is called “Swing City” is not a good sign, but the padding isn’t as bad.  Though there is still a lot of it.

This show also introduces the first of many reused elements.  I understand that animation is reused, hilariously at times (horrendously at times in the near future), but we’ll see here the first of many villains who are green.  Why are they green?  I don’t know.  You could make a case that the Master Technician works with radiation and maybe this is some sort of Hulk effect, but there will be “normal” bank robbers in upcoming episodes who are green as well.  I don’t know if it is a Green Goblin homage or something, but it is incredibly odd.  We’ll also see the use of a gold gun by many villains going forward.  Some will appear to be identical makes and models, though usually with a different purpose.

The series also begins to take a very “un-Peter Parker” approach to Peter Parker.  Several episodes are focused on Peter playing sports for the school team.  And most episodes introduce a new girl for Peter to be infatuated with.  Granted, Peter has had his share of supermodel type women over the years, but he’s never really been portrayed as much of a ladies man, particularly when in school.  But it is the sports that is more out of character, even if with his powers he would be awesome.  Which never seems to be the focus of these stories.  He’s just a normal kid, trying to make the team or hang with his peers.

In this case we have Peter shooting some hoops in gym class when he’s approached by a friend(?) named Rodney who asks him to play some one on one to impress the coach of the basketball team.  Peter declines because he has to get to his next class to lust after Sonia, the first of several red heads that Peter will have a thing for.  Maybe this is an homage to Mary Jane Watson the way that the green villains are an homage to…something.  Also worth noting here that there is still no sign of any of Peter’s schoolmates from the comics.

The main story centers on the green villain known as the Master Technician as he takes over a power plant and then somehow uses it’s power to lift Manhattan hundreds of feet into the air.  He threatens to drop it if his ransom demands are not met.  Of course, Spider-Man saves the day, and no ransom is paid, which is good because they will need many hundreds of millions of dollars to put Manhattan’s underground infrastructure back together again.

At one point there is a sort of Batman ‘66/Transformers-esque transition between scenes, that I’m not sure we ever see again.  (Not in the near future anyway.)

In a side plot, Peter has a date set up to tutor Sonia in science which he has to break to, oh, just save the city.  Nothing important.  At least the show gets the old Parker Luck correct as his “pal” Rodney ends up with Sonia after comforting her during the whole ordeal.  But Peter moves on quickly, “she’s just a woman”.  That’s the spirit!