Thursday, February 5, 2009

Realm of Darkness

Season: 1
Episode Number: 2
Season Episode Number: 2
Production Number: 4002
Airdate: September 29, 1979

Writer: Jeffery Scott
Director: Bob Richardson

Voices: Joan Van Ark (Spider-Woman), Bruce Miller (Jeff Hunt), Bryan Scott (Billy Drew), Unknown (Dormammu).

Plot: The dread demon Dormammu is summoned by a cult so that he may spread his dark power over the entire world. Spider-Woman must stop his evil plan of eclipsing the sun using the moon so the world will be plunged into darkness...forever!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Dormammu is one villain that I never expected to see in this show. The Doctor Strange villain seems a bit out of place here as I thought this series would be a bit more about thugs and crook rather than about supernatural demons. But I guess after the last episode, which featured an alien mummy and flying pyramids, anything goes!

It is nice to see an actual comic book villain in the show (even if Dormammu is nothing like he is in the comics). Spider-Woman doesn't have any villains of her own so she just battles other people's villains for them.

Realm of Darkness is a sort of creepy episode. Any episode of a kid's cartoon that deals with cults always weirds me out and I'm not sure, but I don't think you'd see that in a kid's cartoon today. However, as the episode goes on, you realize that Dormammu doesn't actually do anything really evil. He grows really big and summons some rock creatures and a really big spider, but it's not like he's sacrificing virgins or anything.

Spider-Woman was produced during a time when cartoon were considered too violent. Challenge of the Super Friends, which debuted in the same year, found a way to keep superheroes in cartoons without the violence. The result was ultra-campy cheese on a stick.

The writers on Spider-Woman put a lot more thought into how to make the show just as exciting as the comic books but with out the violence. The results are significantly better than Super Friends.

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