1994 Spider-Man episode #46-“Partners” Review


The evil Silvermaine is back, and as a baby no less! Witness also the return of Smythe, the return of Scorpion, the return of Vulture, and the return of the show’s lack of dignity!

Credits
Story By: John Semper
Written By: Brooks Watchel and Cynthia Harrison
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi
Animation Services By: Toyko Movie Shinsha (TMS)

THE PLOT: Just as Spidey was beginning to get used to the idea of the Black Cat as a crime fighting partner, she’s kidnapped by Alistair Smythe! Working for Baby Silvermaine, Smythe holds Felicia for ransom so Spidey can find either the Vulture or the Scorpion.

LONG STORY SHORT: A big battle ensues in the name of science. Everyone escapes, Silvermaine reverts back to an even older man, and Spidey accepts Black Cat as his crime fighting partner.

 

MY THOUGHTS: What the deuce? Seriously.

There was one and only one good scene in here, so let’s get that out of the way now. The scene where Harry wants to have a heart-to-heart with Peter and misses him after Peter leaves his room as Spider-Man. It was great characterization, both vocal performances from Chris Barnes and Gary Imhoff were really heartfelt, the animation with Spidey slowly swinging away was very nice and the music was decent. Best scene in the whole show.

The positives end there.

This was far and away the dumbest superhero cartoon episode I’ve seen since the Static Shock episode “Hoop Squad” where then-current Basketball superstars such as Karl Malone and Yao Ming were revealed to be undercover superheroes. I mean, what were they thinking when they came up with this? Spider-Man gets jacked up by a baby? Are you kidding me?

There’s just so many thing wrong with that, and it happens in the first five or six minutes of the episode. Let’s count the ways, ONE: Why does Silvermaine still have his intelligence? TWO: In the comics, he just faded back into nothingness when he de-aged, who thought this was a better idea? THREE: Why in the world is Smythe working for him?

This is one of the worst problems, especially after Smythe had such an awesome send off last season. Well that’s all gone away. Not only is he back to being a lackey, he’s a lackey for a thumb-sucking baby. I know, I know. They handwave it away by saying he’s forced to working for powerful men in order to save his father. So he went to Silvermaine?! The guy who the Kingpin chewed up and spit out right in front of him? What about Doc Ock, what about Connors? What about finding Farely Stillwell? No, that would be too easy. He had to go to a guy whom nobody would suspect/waste their time over. He went to the guy who he witnessed, FIRSTHAND, get made into a joke by his old boss. Ugh, God…

 EVEN FURTHER, Scorpion now has a random fiancee named Sarah. Umm…why? She’s never been mentioned before, and he was in prison for a while after his initial appearance. Maybe they met through a pen pal service, but that makes too much sense. I don’t understand it. This episode leads you to believe that they met in between his last appearance and this. She does know who he is right? The guy who nearly killed J. Jonah Jameson and caused a nuclear meltdown, does that ring a bell any? It’s just so stupid that this was introduced as an attempt to develop the Scorpion but it makes no sense. While it’s awesome that he still has his trenchcoat and fedora he got from being in the Insidious Six, he goes off to steal money to fund for Connors’ fake Neogenic research (Which I question heavily that he would even do, I don’t care if Spider-Man asked him to or not.) and she tries to convince him not to. So he puts her in her own closet, which holds her for close to zero seconds. My question is why. He’s the Scorpion. He has super human strength that trumps Spider-Man’s. His tail shoots acid. What could she possibly do to stop him?  God…I can’t take it… 

So Spider-Man plays by Smythe’s rules and knocks out the Scorpion so he can bring him to Smythe and Silvermaine, while unbeknownst to him Sarah witnesses it all and follows. She goes back to the apartment and enlists the help of the Vulture. Three things with this. One, this is a re-hash of the last Silvermaine plot when everybody was kidnapping everybody. Smythe gives Spider-Man a designated time period in order to give him the goods. The difference between this and that is that Spider-Man realized the first time that he was playing by Smythe’s rules which isn’t what good guys do. Where did all of that nobility go here? Is the excuse that he was so head over heels for the Black Cat that he became more desperate? Because he sure didn’t seem like he was. He even says he doesn’t sense it’s a trap, are you serious Parker? Every single time this happens, it’s a double cross. What would Symbiote Spidey say? “A double-cross? Big surprise!” With Sarah, I can buy her being at the scene of the Spidey and Scorpy battle. I can even buy her following Spidey to the lab. What puzzles me besides her somehow getting to the roof to see everything from above is why she goes back to the Vulture for help exactly. Okay, she doesn’t have anyone else to turn to. The guy still hates him, and doesn’t care about anyone but himself. And Toomes just goes along with this! He doesn’t laugh in her face once she uncuffs him and flies away, he goes right to the fight and jumps in the fray. Again, he wants all the science, fine. But did he have to fly? He was still switching from old to young, why didn’t he have her drive him? He could have gotten old and dropped from the sky due to holding Sarah. There’s a script re-write that should have been left alone…

 Scorpion and Sarah get what the script tries to have us believe is a happy ending, despite nothing having been changed at all. Gargan’s not even that much of a sympathetic character anymore, if he ever was. All focus on him is wasted. We aren’t geared to suddenly be invested in him and his wife. Nor about the Vulture, who flies away. This episode and this arc is supposed to be about Spider-Man and Felicia’s relationship. They tried to have it be the focus here, and it just was bogged down by such magnanimous bullcrap.  This episode is insulting. Nearly every scene hurt and demanded extensive explanations. Never before was I wishing I were watching “Attack of the Octobot”. 

1/5 “MARY JAAANE!!!”s “Best” Quote Contender-Alicia: “At least you won’t have to wear diapers again father.Silvermaine: ‘I wouldn’t be so sure of that…” All images taken from marvel.toonzone.net and drg4.wariocompany.com respectively.

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