Episode Title: Pawns of the Kingpin
Well, Marvel’s new Daredevil series on Netflix has been a big hit in the week since it debuted. I guess it’s only fitting that this week’s episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends puts the wall crawler up against the big baddie of that series, Wilson Fisk…the Kingpin. For a villain this big, and he is BIG, it also helps to have Captain America join in the fight.
Captain America is making a special appearance at the college that Peter, Angelica, and Bobby attend. He seems to be there to put on some sort of gymnastics display. A little strange, but whatever. He also gets Spidey, Iceman and Firestar to help him demonstrate his powers. In the crowd, however, is the evil Doctor Faustus, who is currently working for the Kingpin. Using a special pen, he is able to shoot a “psycho disc” onto the back of Cap’s neck. This basically turns him into a zombie who will do whatever Faustus and the Kingpin bid. The reason for all of this is to get Captain America to steal a top secret raygun from the military. Cap dutifully follows their orders, and even gets Iceman to help him out.
Spidey and Firestar are hip to this jive, however. They try to stop the theft, but Cap convinces Iceman that they are really androids sent to stop them. They manage to get the gun and deliver it to Kingpin, but then Faustus shoots one of his psycho discs at the rotund criminal mastermind and takes control. Luckily, there is a time limit on how long those psycho discs work, which means Captain America snaps out if it just in time to join the Spider Friends in taking down both criminals.
Let’s start by saying that this version of the Kingpin is no match for the one in the Netflix series. In fact, the villain is pretty much wasted in this one. With the whole psycho disc gimmick in this episode, we don’t really get to see all that much of the villains. After all, they’ve got Captain America doing their dirty work for them. Which, by the way, I found it a bit strange that their plan involved getting both Cap and Iceman to steal the gun, yet they only felt the need to zap Cap with the psycho disc. Did they just know that Iceman would stupidly do whatever he told him to do? Believing ridiculous stories about androids?!!? Given the way he acts in this episode, old Bobby Drake needs to go back to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and get slapped around by Professor X a bit.
All around this is a pretty lackluster installment of the series. Both of the villains, Kingpin and Faustus, come across as pretty blah. Plus, there’s really not a whole lot of action in this one, so the episode just sort of plods along for 24 minutes. There was one cool moment though right at the end of the episode. As Kingpin tries to escape in his private plane, Spidey jumps off a motorcycle and grabs onto the side of the plane as it takes off. Think Tom Cruise in the new Mission: Impossible trailer. Spidey then smashes in the cockpit window and jumps inside. It’s a fun moment, but it’s not enough to save the episode.
Hopefully next time we’ll get a bit better action as Spidey and friends face Captain America’s arch nemesis, The Red Skull, in the final episode of Season 1…The Quest of the Red Skull.