1994 Spider-Man episode #62-“The Gauntlet of the Red Skull” Review

Spider-Man kidnaps the Black Cat in order to help raid the Red Skull’s fortress. And that’s pretty much it.

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

THE PLOT: While fighting Mirium the vampire with Morbius and Blade, Black Cat is transported to the heroes’ base on Battleworld in order to help their efforts to save the planet. Cat is livid with Spider-Man, who begins to feel jealous when she starts to hang around Captain America.

LONG STORY SHORT: The rebel’s raid on Red Skull’s base of operations succeeds with the help of Smythe. Cat forgives Spider-Man with a kiss.

MY THOUGHTS: Uh…umm…yeah.  Like last episode, there really isn’t too much to say about this one either.

Okay, I’ll take that back. There’s stuff to talk about for sure. But the overall story is almost boring. It’s a bland episode that, in my opinion, almost confuses itself with G.I. Joe. The whole thing consists of Spidey and the gang trying to take over Skull’s base and the conflict between him and the Black Cat. Simple enough, but much of it is either the crew surviving volcanoes and tremors, or Black Cat falling over and over AND OVER again. This is without a doubt the worst appearance from the Black Cat so far, as she spends the show being annoyed with Spider-Man to the point of being insufferable. Granted, she does have a reason to be mad at him but it gets to be overplayed the more it goes on.

Going back to the beginning, Blade and Morbius fall into a trap door in the dumbest way possible. It’s the Sonic and Tails syndrome of falling when one of your teammates is able to fly. As I saw that happen, I literally said out loud “Why is it that the Morbius and Blade subplots are always so stupid?” There was no reason for that trap to have worked. I think this is the last time we see them in the series (but I always seem to be wrong whenever I say that) so if it is, the go out the way the were throughout the entirety of their appearances: ANNOYING.

“Can you see me? Skype updated again.”

Personally the best part of this episode was what little insight we got into Iron Man’s character. Spidey and the others don’t know his secret identity, so it’s fun to see Tony try to explain the situation with his heart and the suit without going into too much detail. And it was needed for any investment into Tony’s character to be established in this series. Before this he’s pretty much a hero in a suit of armor. We sort of know the reasons why all the others are heroes, so establishing a bit of reasoning on his part was a nice touch.

I alos liked how Smythe was used in the episode. Again, everything he does is meant to be for his father. Him talking to the Red Skull and Doctor Octopus separately worked well for all three characters, particularly Ock who again maintains that he works for no one (despite him working for Kingpin earlier this season).

But this type of character insight is a bit far and few between. It mostly consists of exposition, people saying “We don’t have time!” and Spider-Man giving orders which in itself as a concept does not have to be a bad thing. At the same time it’s just weird. He’s been made to be the leader, he hasn’t earned it. To see him in this role is sort of disconcerting, at least to me.

At the end we have the Black Cat trying to go after the Red Skull to “avenge” her father. Umm…what? Red Skull tricked him, sure. But nothing really bad ever came of it. Ok, I suppose he’s in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody because of the Skull, but it still came off very forced and made her into a damsel in distress again once Doc Ock got his arms around her.

Finally we end with a nice scene of Spider-infidelity with the Black Cat kissing Peter. What happened to Morbius? Well, she did this back when she first left New York so I supposed her wishy-washy feelings towards different men in consistent here. But what about Spidey? True his wife turned out to be a water-clone, but he’s still supposed to be wrecked over it. Nary a mention of Mary Jane at all.

This wasn’t horrible, but it was bland and not very well thought out. Just not interesting to me at all.

2/5 “MARY JAAANE!!!”s

Best Quote Contender:

Iron Man: “Once again I owe my life to SCIENCE!!!”

All images taken from Marvel.toonzone.net and drg4.wariocompany.com respectively.

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