1994 Spider-Man episode #57 “The Six Fight Again” Review

With the return of the Black Marvel, the remaining American Six come together to save the world from Nazi tyranny! Witness racial commentary, national pride and someone actually getting…punched in the FACE?!

Written By: John Semper
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi
Animation Services By: Toyko Movie Shinsha (TMS)

THE PLOT: Omar Mosely reveals himself to be the true Black Marvel, and uses the Kingpin’s machinations as cause to assemble the American Six together again.

LONG STORY SHORT: In a battle with the Insidious Seven (if you count Kingpin) the Six lose their powers and are defeated. Kingpin now has all of the six artifacts necessary to activate the doomsday device, but the traitor within his group reveals himself as the Chameleon and turns the tides. Working for the son of the Red Skull, Chameleon and Reinhold uses SCIENCE! to restore the original Red Skull back to the modern-day timeline. Unfortunately for them, they bring back Captain America as well who promptly hands everyone their butts. Silver Sable and the Wildpack arrive to help, and Spidey and her chase the Skull in order to finish things once and for all.

“Why do they always gag my mouth when they kidnap me?”

MY THOUGHTS: We’re now four episodes into this mega five parter, and the inevitable has happened. This particular chapter didn’t do it for me as well as the previous parts did. Much of that is owed to this being the most action oriented part so far, as opposed to the story being kept up. Part of it is also the execution, which straddles between “Battle of the Insidious Six” levels of so bad it’s good, and “Partners” levels of so bad it hurts. There are a lot of stupid moments that make very little sense, but there’s a lot of good points as well. It’s at time dizzying to observe how topsy-turvy this show can be when it’s on a roll.

Let’s start at the beginning, for kicks. It was a nice if somewhat obvious turn that Chameleon was posing as Robbie to get to the last hidden artifact, but how in thew world did he know where to go? I sincerely doubt Robbie would sell Mosely out so easily after everything he’s said and gone through. Furthermore, how did Chameleon and the Kingpin know to kidnap Robbie in the first place? It’s possible that Reinhold relayed the fact that Robbie visited Moscow looking for information pertaining to the Doomsday device since SPOILERS! the two are step-brothers. That actually makes sense, but at the same time such information needs to be relayed to the audience through exposition or otherwise.

One of the more interesting things about this episode is the revelation that Mosely was really the Black Marvel all along. It was a brilliant secret identity that made sense both contextually in the situation and in context during the time period they were in.

Mosely: “Didn’t you ever wonder why I called myself the ‘Black Marvel’?”

It’s an origin story I really like, but another interesting thing about it is that the original Timely Comics character WAS Daniel Lyons. The costume was the same except for the mask which was a cowl that revealed the bottom half of his face. It’s sort of fascinating to see such jerry rigging of classic Marvel characters and their origins, especially Captain America. Of course going back to context, this was during a time where all these characters’ rights still belonged to Marvel Entertainment right before Marvel filed for bankruptcy. John Semper himself said that in this day and age such a reunion of heroes would be impossible, and it adds up if you look at the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon.

One more thing about the Black Marvel, his origin hearkens back to the Isaiah Bradely character who in Marvel chronology predated Captain America. In fact, the two origins are nearly identical. Isaiah Bradely was one of the several hundreds black test subjects chosen to recreate the Project: REBIRTH super soldier serum, in a situation that referenced the Tuskegee Syphilis Studies. In this show, Dan Lyons father forbade him from undergoing such a dangerous experiment. But getting the black chauffeur to do it? Sure, why not? In another instance of something on this show predating the future, Isaiah Bradely was created in 2003, six years after this episode aired.  First Blade, then this…who knows? Maybe we’ll see Terri Lee be introduced as Detective Watanabe’s old pal from the force one of these days in the comics.

The animation in this episode was meh, with a side of sad. The cliffhanger where Spider-Man is being attacked by the Insidious Six is abysmal with the several shots of the members of the six from previous episodes, and that kind of shoddy animation is blatant throughout. As bad as that was, the fight sequence in the alley immediately goes up to top tier because the American Six LAY THE SMACKDOWN on the Insidious Six. Not only do they pwn them pretty badly, but Miss America gets revenge on the Vulture by uppercutting him off his feet. Then Black Marvel has the best moment in the show by getting a one-two combo on the Chameleon that renders him KTFO. Seriously, you see Black Marvel punch Chameleon square in the cheek and sending him flying. Considering what the Chameleon did to him earlier in the episode as well as his heel turn later, it’s fair to say that he had it coming. It’s awesome.

The twist that it was the Chameleon who sold the Kingpin out was a pretty good one, although I was disappointed solely because I desperately wanted Doc Ock to be the traitor. Again, Doc Ock has truly been relegated to stooge status in this season, and it is painful to watch. Not that the other villains haven’t been as well, but Doc Ock was until this season always a man with his own goals. Now he’s a henchman and it stinks. (Although he did have a funny line about German foresight never failing. Good quip.)But the Chameleon reveal was very good, because it gave us somewhat of an origin for him (with him being adopted by the Skull and trained at a young age, making him of German ethnicity as opposed to Kraven’s Russian half-brother in the comics.) as well as explaining how he knew about Peter’s parents back in season three. I don’t know if that was planned or if it fell into place but it worked out beautifully. I just…wish it was Doc Ock.

Overall this episode is a seriously mixed bag. There are a handful of good lines, mixed with some really weird and stupid moments. Also, Spider-Man really got punked out a lot in this one. It’s getting tiresome to see him knocked out and tied up on a regular basis.3/5 “MARY JAAANE!!!”sBest quote Contender-Spider-Man: “I have just one question for you…why did you call yourself The Whizzer?”All images taken from Marvel.toonzone.net.