J. Jonah Jameson: Spider-Man has made a fool of me again!
I’ve always liked the idea of the “Spider Slayer.” I even enjoyed the 90’s cartoon’s version of them, designed around the tried and true idea that toys are better when you can clunkily thrust them into larger toys.
However, I’m mostly interested in the seeming wealth of print newspapers in the 1960’s. The Daily Bugle had enough money to hire a complete stranger’s superhero-killing robot. Today, if a newspaper wanted to kill Spider-Man, they’d probably end up putting a Buzzfeed link on their website, listing ways that Tobey Maguire looks like an ugly cat.
Plot: This is the best episode of the series so far, and I don’t mean that in a cool, internet way. Sure, it doesn’t measure up to any normal standard of good, but in the ’67 Spider-Man measure of good, it was fantastic. Most of the plots of this show either revolve around Spider-Man doing something dumb enough to get himself beaten up multiple times, or just being in one place enough to be framed for a crime. In this episode, only that first one happens, and it only happens twice! I don’t want to say that Spider-Man’s writers are getting more progressive, but they’ve certainly surprised me. And if you’ve watched any length of this show, you’ll know that being surprised by it happens about as often as the DVD deciding to erase itself for the viewer’s own safety.
The story revolves around a random man busting into J. Jonah Jameson’s office and offering him a way to defeat Spider-Man. If you haven’t figured it out so far through this show, or through everything Spider-Man related, Jonah Jameson hates Spider-Man. So, when Henry Smythe brings in the lovechild of a television humping a rice cooker, he jumps at the chance to see how it will disembowel his enemies.
The Spider Slayer doesn’t really have a lot of powers. Web doesn’t work on it, it can track Spider-Man, it can climb, and it has a tight grip. Those are all pretty requisite for anyone who wants to cut off Spider-Man in traffic, much less capture him with the hopes of exposing his true identity to the world. But this is a fucking magic robot, and when you set a robot on a mission, one of two things are gonna happen: One, it will get the job done, or two, it will turn on those who set it on that mission. The Slayer ends up getting really close to crushing Spidey’s spine, until Spider-Man rips out its innards and fills his own costume with straw. That way, when Smythe and Jameson come to unmask him, they simply rip off Spidey’s scarecrow head. Ha ha! Good joke, Spider-Man. An old man’s lifelong dream is ruined and driving him insane was just the last straw. Last straw! I could write this show!
Animation Woe: The animation work was relatively fluid, though I could never quite figure out the consistency of the Slayer’s movement. It can climb and jump really well, but when it walks, it looks like baby deer learning to hate stilts.
Also, I wish I could live in 1967 New York City. It’s completely empty. All the benefits of New York City, without the hassle of most people. The only things I’d have to deal with are the inadequate staff of The Daily Bugle and the whispers of ghosts.
Amazing Spidey Quote:
Betty Brant: He was stung by a spider!
Most spiders don’t sting, so I guess that’s why this is funny. Betty says it to Peter Parker, Undisputed Champion of Bad Jokes, who laughs at it like he’s planning a kidnapping of this kindred, witless soul.