Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Matt Signal Advent Calendar 2015 Day 12: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends "The X-Men Adventure"

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
“The X-Men Adventure,” Season 3, Episode 7, 1983

Dan Says:

This one’s pretty silly, so I’m including it mainly for nostalgic purposes.

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, which ran from 1981 to 1983 Saturday mornings on NBC, was an odd mix of pulling characters from all over the Marvel Universe and making stuff up as it went along. “The X-Men Adventure” is the perfect example of that.

For starters, Spidey’s Amazing Friends, Iceman and Firestar, were graduates of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, but Firestar – whom we now know as a former New Warrior, Avenger and X-Man – was created for the TV show and for some reason in her civilian identity looked exactly like a more conservatively dressed Mary Jane.

The X-Men, for the purposes of this episode, are Professor X, Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Sprite aka Kitty Pryde and … Thunderbird. You know, the X-Man who died on his first mission? Oh, and he can transform into a grizzly bear apparently.

Notice anyone missing? Someone with adamantium claws, berserker rage and a penchant for cigars and samurai swords?

In this episode, Spidey and his pals visit the X-Mansion and play around in the Danger Room. Until the mansion is invaded by that classic X-Man villain Cyberiad, who only ever appears in this single cartoon.

Cyberiad is half-man, half-machine, literally, right down the middle of his body. At one point, he gets into an actual fight with himself. In a past life, he was a noted physicist, and apparently he and Firestar used to date.

Firestar is a college student.

Cyberiad tricks and traps the X-Men one by one, then creates holograms of the kidnapped mutants to trick the other members of the team. Why not just use Arcade? Good question, I’ve no idea. Eventually, the X-Men corner Cyberiad, and Firestar kills him with a radiation blast.

Kills him. On a Saturday morning cartoon meant for younger viewers.

It sounds like I picked this episode just to mock it, but fun fact: Legend has it “The X-Men Adventure” was supposed to be a backdoor pilot for an actual X-Men cartoon. Obviously, that did not pan out, but eventually we got “Pryde of the X-Men,” and not long after that we got the ’90s X-Men cartoon we all know and love. So let’s respect this episode for the wacky cartoon forefather that it is.

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