Episode Title: The Bride of Dracula
Well true believers, if you’re afraid of things that go bump in the night then this week’s episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends may not be for you. Forget about supervillains like the Green Goblin or Doc Ock, this time the Spider Friends battle some classic monsters in The Bride of Dracula.
Our story begins with Peter, Bobby, and Angelica all attending a school dance. While the guys argue over who gets the next dance with Angelica, she sneaks off and starts dancing with a mysterious stranger. She finds herself quite hypnotized by this guy…literally. Turns out the guy is Count Dracula in disguise. Having put Angelica in a trance, he now takes her to his private plane, piloted by a werewolf, and heads for Transylvania.
Spidey and Iceman pursue the blood sucker by hitching a ride on another plane. They don’t bother to actually get inside, however. They ride the thing like they were Tom Cruise in the new Mission: Impossible movie. Once everyone arrives in Transylvania, they learn that Dracula has plans to make Angelica his bride. Once Drac learns she’s actually the famous Firestar, he’s even more anxious for the nuptials. Somehow, Spidey and Iceman must snap Firstar out of Dracula’s trance, and battle the werewolf and a robotic version of Frankenstein’s monster.
One of the strongest aspects of this series so far has been how it utilizes so many aspects of Marvel’s vast comic universe. Versions of Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and the wolf man have all appeared in the pages of Marvel comics, so it’s nice to see this unique corner of their universe incorporated into the series. This portrayal of Dracula has a nice creepy look to him…but not too creepy, it is a kids show, after all. He also seems to be a bit of a mixture of both Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee’s portrayals of the character, which is fun for a classic film fan like me. I didn’t like how Frankenstein’s monster was made a robot, however. He really isn’t given much to do in this, which feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity.
The monster element of this episode is fun, but some elements of this one get a bit silly. Primarily the whole bit about Spidey and Iceman riding on top of an airplane to Transylvania. Despite the extreme velocity they would presumably be traveling at, these two have no problem hanging on. Also a bit goofy is that when our story is all said and done, and our heroes have traveled across the globe to Transylvania and back, they return to the dance…still in progress. Just how fast were those planes going anyhow? On a more serious side, this episode is probably one of the worst offenders we’ve had so far of Firestar becoming the damsel in distress needing to be saved by the boys. She does get to blast a few fireballs at Dracula as he flies around in bat form, but she spends most of the time caught in his spell rather than fighting.
So, while the story has some problems, watching our heroes battle classic monsters is enough to make this a fun episode. Next time we get the third, and final, appearance of our old friend Videoman in The Education of a Superhero.