Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends S:03 E:03

Episode Title: The Education of a Superhero

We’ve seen a number of new characters original to this series as we’ve made our way through the last 18 episodes of this show. However, there is one character that keeps coming back…Videoman. That’s right, the 80’s video game craze incarnate. Today we take in the character’s third and final appearance on the series in The Education of a Superhero.

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We begin on the campus of ESU, where Peter, Bobby, and Angelica take classes. Of course, the college has an arcade where everybody likes to hang out. Among the students hanging out playing video games is a bit of a nerdy guy named Francis Byte. Francis is a wiz at a game called Zellman Command, and he is currently racking up a high score. Little do the students realize that a supervillain called The Gamesman is about to send a hypnotic signal through the video game machines. This turns them into mindless zombies and they all start following his order to converge in Central Park. This includes Bobby. The only person unaffected is Francis. He’s overloading the machine so much that it explodes. The explosion zaps him into the video game itself, Tron-style, where he is transformed into Videoman.

When Spidey first catches sight of Videoman (who he strangely doesn’t recognize from their previous two encounters) he assumes he’s a bad guy. However, Francis wants to be a hero. He soon learns that he can travel through electric circuits and can switch back and forth between being Videoman and being Francis. Videoman tries to team up with the Spider Friends to help battle the Gamesman, but they insist he isn’t ready. But when the one girl who ever took an interest in geeky old Francis is kidnapped by the villain, Francis, er Videoman, naturally steps up to save the day.

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The other two episodes that involved Videoman were pretty fun and this one is as well. Though it is a bit strange that there is no reference to the previous encounters with this character. I mean, Spidey tries to grab Videoman with his webs and exclaims, “Webs don’t work!” No duh, wall crawler! They didn’t work the last two times either! The twist in this episode is that they turn Videoman into a good guy who needs to learn the ropes as a superhero. Seeing the awkward Francis fumble about as he tries to master his new powers is actually pretty funny. The clutz even bonks his head on the TV screen when he tries to jump inside before transforming into his electronic self.

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On the other hand, the villain in this episode, The Gamesman, is pretty lame. He wears a weird outfit that looks a little like a bug suit and it’s not terribly clear what his evil plan is. Sure, he hypnotizes people with video games and can get them to do his bidding, but from there he doesn’t seem to have a plan worked out. He could have them rob banks, steal cars, you name it. Nope, they just all gather in Central Park like a bunch of hippies having a love-in.

Whatever happened to Videoman after this, I don’t know. At the end of the episode he’s shipped off to join Professor Xavier and be trained alongside the X-Men. Dare we dream that the character will show up in the next X-Men film? Stranger things have happened. Next time the villainous Scorpion shows up and the Spider Friends team up with current Netflix fav Daredevil in Attack of the Arachnoid.

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