Episode Title: The Origin of the Iceman
Well true-believers, we’ve arrived at the start of season two of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Now, when it comes to Saturday morning cartoons, it was not uncommon for a relatively small number of episodes to be made of a show which were then rerun for many years. In the case of the Spider Friends, only three episodes were added to the mix for season two. Each of these episodes focused a bit on the origin stories of our three heroes. We begin with the birth of one “cool” mutant in The Origin of The Iceman.
The episode opens with the return of an old enemy from season one. Lightning strikes a discarded video game machine at the city dump and suddenly Videoman has returned. Meanwhile, Spidey, Firestar and Iceman are working to help put out a huge fire. Unfortunately, Iceman finds that his powers are somehow fading. No one is sure why, but that old brainiac Peter Parker has an idea that might help. Using a “memory probe” that is in the science lab at the university, Peter tries to delve into Bobby’s past to see if there is some clue as to why his power is disappearing.
This leads us to a flashback where we see a young Bobby Drake struggling to control his ice powers. He finally gets control of his mutant powers when he has to save a young woman from a burning barn. This leads to a hilarious moment when an angry mob shows up carrying gardening tools and shouting, “He’s not human! He’s Made of ice! He probably started the fire!” Gotta love the logic of those hicktown yokels. Soon we see Bobby being recruited by Professor Charles Xavier for The X-Men. We also see how Iceman met Spidey, trying to capture him for a reward offered by J. Jonah Jameson.
Back in present day, Spidey soon realizes why Iceman’s powers are vanishing. Videoman has the ability to suck up electrical power. Now he’s draining the electrical impulses of Iceman’s mutant mind, which is causing the loss of powers. With Firestar also being a mutant, she is in danger as well. Soon, Videoman unleashes a flying saucer and a Pac-Man lookalike to destroy the city, and also traps Jameson inside a videogame. The Spider Friends need to act quickly or it’s Game Over for the city.
I know that people often complain about origin stories, but I rather enjoy them. The flashback sequences here keep a lot of Iceman’s comic book past intact. It’s fun to get to see the original team of X-Men in action, looking as they did in their first comic appearances. We see Professor X, Angel, Beast (pre-blue fur), Cyclops, and Jean Grey, referred to as Marvel Girl here. They even sport their original yellow outfits and we get to see them take on the danger room.
As for the Videoman section of the story, it’s pretty far-fetched. However, I think Videoman works a bit better as a villain this time around than he did in his season one appearance. Having him pull characters out of video games to wreck havoc on the city is a fun gimmick. I especially love the Pac-Man inspired creature. To make him different than the famous ghost-muncher they’ve given him a couple of big fangs and he can shoot laser beams out of his eyes. Watching Spidey and Firestar try to take down these video baddies makes for a fun final battle sequence. It’s also nice to see J.J. Jameson take a bigger role in an episode. In season one he only had one very small cameo.
This episode gets the short season two started on the right foot. It’s especially a must-see for anyone who, like me, spent hours playing the low resolution version of Pac-Man on the Atari 2600 for hours on end. Next time we get told that most famous of origin stories one more time in Along Came Spidey.