Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends S:01 E:02

Title:The Crime of All Centuries

Well true believers, if you were impressed when Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs back to life in Jurassic Park, that’s nothing compared to what Kraven the Hunter does in this week’s episode. Brace yourselves for “The Crime of All Centuries.”

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After Spider-man and Firestar make short order of a motorcycle gang trying to rob a movie theater we are whisked off to the mysterious Savage Land. There, Kraven the Hunter is wrestling dinosaurs and, in general, up to no good. He plans to smuggle a bunch of dinosaur eggs back to New York and use his Growth Energizer to make the eggs mature into full-grown dinosaurs in an instant. This will put the city at his mercy. However, he needs two things to pull this off: The Eye of India Ruby, which is at a museum in New York, and the most powerful heat source in the world…Firestar.

Kraven arrives in New York with three full-grown beasts: a mammoth, a pterodactyl, and a T-Rex. He plans on unveiling them at the museum. Of course, Angelica wants to go since, with his Tom Selleck super-stache and all, she thinks Kraven is kind of dreamy. Bobby, Peter, and Miss Lion (yes, the dog) all go with. During the presentation, the beasts all bust out and the Spider Friends must leap into action. Turns out, though, this is just a cover so Kraven can steal the ruby. While making his escape, Kraven also uses a freezing spray to nab Firestar. He takes her back to his warehouse lair, which is done up like a jungle inside. Spidey and Iceman have to rescue her and deal with dinosaurs and volcanoes in the process.

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This second episode has a lot more of a fantasy element than episode one has. It’s also a perfect example of how the producers can get away with a lot more because it’s a show created with kids in mind. Spidey mentions at the top of the episode that dinosaurs still roam the earth in The Savage Land…of course they do, what kid doesn’t know that! Machines can make eggs turn into full-grown dinosaurs in seconds…no doubt! Kraven can build steaming volcano replicas in an old airplane hanger…heck, my uncle has one in his basement! These are all elements that can seem a little silly to adults who want their superheroes gritty and realistic, but for kids this is the stuff that makes superheros awesome! Spidey and his friends tangle with a T-Rex….um, yeah, I’m there!

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It is nice to see Firestar take a bit larger role in the proceedings this time, however it is a bit of a mixed blessing. She does get more opportunity to show off her powers more, but she also ends up slipping into the damsel in distress role for a good portion of the second half of the story. I don’t remember her consistently taking a back seat to the boys when I watched this as a kid. Of course, as a kid I wouldn’t have been looking for such things. Let’s hope that she gets to step forward a bit more as the series continues…and that Miss Lion doesn’t come with on many more adventures. Seriously, what is the point of having the froofy dog along for the ride? If the dog had superpowers that’d be different, but this time she was lucky she didn’t turn into T-Rex chow.

That’s all for now, true believers. Join us again next time as the villainous Dr. Doom puts in an appearance in next week’s episode “The Fantastic Mr. Frump.”

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