Past episodes of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends have told us that both Iceman and Firestar were once members of that heroic team of mutants, The X-Men. Professor X and his team have made short appearances on other episodes, but this time they are at the center of the episode in the appropriately titled The X-Men Adventure.
The episode begins with Firestar on spaceship of some sort battling a group of evil robots. Unfortunately, she’s not doing a very good job of it and ends up getting sucked out into space like the xenomorph at the end of Alien. Lucky for her, this is just a hologram in Professor X’s famous Danger Room. It seems that the Spider Friends are paying a visit to Xavier’s school. Several X-Men are observing along with the professor, including Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Sprite (Kitty Pride), Cyclops, and Thunderbird.
After the demonstration, Spider-Man is anxious to give the Danger Room a try himself. When he does, though, it quickly becomes clear that something is wrong. The dangers become real. It soon is revealed that a bizarre cyborg named Cyberiad has taken control of the mansion. HIs purpose is simple, to get revenge on Firestar. You see, once Cyberiad was a scientist named Nathan Price. Firestar assisted him with his experiments, and they also sorta had the hots for each other. But one day agents from A.I.M. broke in and caused the mishap that turned him into Cyberiad…however, he blames Firestar.
Now the Spider-Friends and the X-Men need to battle their way through the mansion to try to find and stop Cyberiad. Nightcrawler and Colossus end up captured and replaced with evil versions of themselves to lure the other heroes. Gradually the heroes realize they will need to fight their way through the Maze of Madness to find the villainous cyborg.
This is a really fun episode! I’ve said all along that this series has done a really good job of embracing the bigger Marvel Universe, well we get a lot of that in this one. First we get a ton of characters and pretty much all of them are given a chance to show their stuff. Also playing a role in this episode are such Marvel staples as Adamantium and Vibranium. Though they are never named, we also get to see agents from A.I.M. Their cylinder shaped helmets make their allegiance with that organization quite clear. Though that just made me long for the villain of this story to M.O.D.O.K. rather than this Cyberiad dude, who seems to be a character created for this series. It is interesting to note the similarities in appearance between Cyberiad and the title character of The Terminator, which was only about a year away from release at this point.
Another wild aspect of this episode is the “Maze of Madness.” I’m not a huge X-Men expert, but from what I can tell this was also created for this episode. It’s things like this that remind you that many animators who worked on 80’s cartoons were probably smoking some crazy stuff back in the 60’s. The imagery in this maze is both psychedelic and a bit creepy.
The only real downside of this episode is the sappiness of the lost love storyline between Firestar and Cyberiad’s alter-ego Nathan Price. And while we’re on that subject…SPOILER ALERT: this episode is unique in that Cyberiad/Price actually dies at the end of our story! Unusual for kiddie fare. Overall, though, this episode is overloaded with Marvel goodness which makes it a lot of fun!
Next time, we come to the end of this series in Mission: Save the Guardstar.