Spider-Man Episode 16: “Clever Dog, Run Back to Dad!”
Aired: August 30th, 1978
While I whine about the price of the 50th anniversary issue of Amazing Spider-Man, this episode features our masked hero befriending a boy and his dog as they team up to stop the Iron Cross Army from blowing up a dam and killing the boy’s father.
Out in the mountains, the Alsatian Ricky barks at the top of the mountain and his owner pushes him out of the way as Ninders throw boulders down at them. The boy gets hurt, and Ricky runs for help in the form of the Yamashiros, currently on a fishing trip. Everybody manages to hook a fish, but there’s no time for that, as Ricky bites Takuya’s leg trying to get his attention. They run to where the boy is and he’s knocked out by the river. He’s alright, and he just needs some rest.
At dinner, they learn the boy’s name is Isamu. I wonder if this is a reference to Isamu the Wilderness Boy, a comic from around the same time. The next morning, they watch the boy and the dog do some tricks, including foraging for food and sitting and stopping on command. They leave the Yamashiros, and go back into the forest.
Pretty soon, Isamu and Ricky are attacked by Ninders and Spider-Man leaps into action, scaring them away. He asks why the two are being attacked by the Iron Cross, and it’s flashback time. It turns out that the Iron Cross Army took away his father at gunpoint, with Amazoness leading the charge. Spider-Man takes the boy back home in the meantime.
At the same time, Isamu Sr. is being forced to reveal the weak points of the dam, so they can blow it up with the maximum damage. The Iron Cross Army wishes to turn Tokyo into a living hell by destroying the nearby nuclear power plant and dousing the sewers with gas. With all those missiles at his disposal, couldn’t Professor Monster already complete his plan already? Did he sell them for some extra scratch?
Takuya goes to Isamu’s home looking for the boy and his father, and learns that Mr. Matsuki suddenly disappeared. Matsuki’s boss tells the young man that Isamu’s father was involved in building the (fictional) Kita-Kanto Dam, and Takuya realizes where he must go next. He realizes the Iron Cross Army has taken Matsuki and rushes to save father and son on time. Currently, Isamu is walking along a treacherous hill, with plenty of unstable footing. Ricky saves the boy’s life like a natural Rin Tin Tin.
At the Kita-Kanto dam, Amazoness tells Matsuki to tell them where to set up the explosives, or else they’ll kill his son. He hesitates for a moment, and she sends some Ninders after Isamu. Spider-Man arrives and beats up the gang and hangs them with his Spider-Strings, making them plummet down the side of the mountain. Ricky is commanded to find Mr. Matsuki and Spider-Man follows close by. They split up and a long scene of Spidey climbing up the damn dam walls are shown.
Just as Spider-Man reaches and unties Mr. Matsuki, Amazoness appears with a gun on the other side of the dam. Ricky leaps into action appears to get shot and falls down the side of the dam. As Spidey fights his way through the Ninders, he is held back at gun point.
Meanwhile, Isamu cries looking for Ricky. The poor dog is surprisingly unharmed, minus a deep fall down the side of a dam. Isamu blows the whistle for his trusty companion and Ricky struggles to reaches his master. They finally meet up, and the dog is bruised but still in fighting condition.
Back at the dam, Spider-Man and Mr. Matsuki are tied up with some dynamite. As the Iron Cross prepare to blow it the place from a safe distance, Ricky runs to the rescue and destroys the control panel. Isamu is close by and tells Ricky to untie Matsuki, who in turn unties Spider-Man. The cyborgs chase them, and the fight scene with the occasional fooling around.
The Machine Bem Centipede appears and the man moved by the dog whistle prepares to do battle with his new foe. It’s a giant monster battle BTW, but before Marveller can appear, Spider-Man has to contend with the remaining Ninders. Everything else is downhill from there.
Father and son finally reunite after a long time and Mr. Matsuki tells Spider-Man the story of how they met Ricky. He was a stray, and Isamu raised him to be the hero he is today. If you glance at that ending scene you’ll notice that the father sure is tall, especially since Takuya’s tall enough as it is. Anyway, Ricky runs away and fetches Takuya’s sunglasses and it’s to be continued. Ha ha! That scamp.
Basically this episode was just Spider-Man meets Rin Tin Tin. It was a pretty cool if very implausible episode. You’d wonder if the dog was subject to Professor Monster’s experiments if it managed survive that fall.