Shows : Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 4

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: The Show Must Go On...

This review was first published on: Mar 2010.

Background...

While watching this episode I was reminded of an obscure sci-fi movie from 1984 called "The Terminator" starring future governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. While the "obscure" part is facetious, comparisons can be made to the future (from this point in time) movie. You have an unstoppable machine that has been programmed to capture one particular individual. It is stronger and faster than its target. It never gets tired while the target will have to eat and sleep eventually. I don't think that any elements were ripped off from this story any more than others. My point is that there is a common theme between the two and I like it.

When I re-read Amazing Spider-Man #25 (the basis for this story) for the first time in many years, I was quite impressed because it was handled very well. I can't remember what I thought when I first read it, but I now consider it a stand-outs among the Lee/Ditko issues.

Will this level of greatness be carried over into the television medium? We'll see.

In Detail...

"Captured By J.Jonah Jameson"
Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 4 (Story 2)
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On a very foggy night during his regular patrol, Spider-Man drops down to street level. He is soon attacked by a robot with long metallic tendrils. He jumps to safety high on a wall. The robot – with the electronic image of a man's face – considers the test a success. With a few final adjustments, he'll be able to make a deal with Jonah Jameson.

The next day at the Daily Bugle, Henry Smythe, the creator of the robot, arrives in Jameson's office. He states that he's read Jameson's editorials against Spider-Man and wants to help his efforts. At first Jonah thinks he's a crackpot, but is convinced to try it when Smythe mentions that it will be Jameson's image in the robot's face. Peter knows where this is going, "remembers" an errand, and leaves. Smythe then shows Jameson how to operate the controls. Moments later, the robot has detected Spider-Man's presence and is sent to capture him.

Peter's concerns about the robot's application are proven true when he sees it following him at a distance. Knowing what's ahead, he changes to Spider-Man and meets the metallic bloodhound face-to-face. He soon learns that the robots body is made of an extremely slick surface that is web-resistant. The robot is fast, agile, and can climb walls like he can. To make things worse, Jonah is able to taunt him through the robot.

This begins a city-wide chase in which Spider-Man quickly beings to tire. At one point, he is caught by the robot. While Jameson gloats and begins to fantasize about the accolades he'll receive, Betty "accidentally" unplugs the robot's control unit. When they realize what happened and correct the problem, Spider-Man has escaped. Jameson sends her home for the rest of the day – without pay.

The chase continues until Spider-Man is literally exhausted. He collapses near a clock tower. The robot quickly grabs him and places him in a secure hold to prevent his escape. At the Bugle, Jameson and Smythe are ecstatic that the robot succeeded. They use a miniature tracking device to lead them to the robot's current location.

While they are en route, Spider-Man sabotages the robot's controls, allowing him to escape. When they arrive, Jameson finds a Spider-Man suit stuffed with straw in the robot's grasp. Jameson can't believe he was tricked by Spider-Man yet again. He tells Smythe to get out of his sight and has a minor nervous breakdown.

In General...

You can probably tell from the lack of sarcastic commentary that I enjoyed this episode. It's the best that I have watched so far. I'll go ahead and say that this is the best one on the entire disc. If I were to guess, the production company tried to make this the best episode.

Overall Rating...

5 webs. Yes, you read it correctly. I was very impressed with this episode. There are things that *could* be mentioned just to be critical. And those statements would be correct. Given that there are only a few of them and that the rest of the episode was handled very well, I'm going to give them a pass this time.

This is a prime example of keeping the story simple, yet true to the source. The result is something to be proud of.