Welcome, true believers, to another exciting chapter in Spider-Man: The Animated Series‘ season long “Neogenic Nightmare” saga! In the previous episode, Spidey went to Professor Charles Xavier for help with his possible mutation problem and got nothing but the cold shoulder. A sympathetic Hank McCoy followed Spider-Man after he’d stormed off and wound up getting captured by goons from the Brand Corporation with intentions of using him as a guinea pig for a chemical soup that can dissolve mutant DNA. Realizing Beast has gone missing, Wolverine figures Spider-Man might’ve lead Hank into a trap and goes on the hunt.
When Wolverine finally catches up to Spidey, the two of them fight for a bit before one can convince the other that they’re on the same side and would be better served to team up. I think it’s written in stone somewhere that that’s something that absolutely has to happen anytime two heroes meet for the first time.
Spidey & Wolvie begin working their way through the armed guards and into the Brand Corporation Labs. Hobgoblin, having scurried away when Wolverine first showed up, is now sneaking his way in behind them. Ever the opportunistic thief & blackmailer, Hobgoblin gets the idea that if he can find out where the company has stored all of their data on mutant genetic research, he can steal it and force them to pay a pretty penny to get it back. The only trouble is, how do you know which computer is the one that contains all of the data?
Wolverine & Spider-Man make it to the lab where Dr. Landon is holding Beast in fairly easy fashion. They are friggin’ Spider-Man and Wolverine, after all. When Wolverine sees Beast held in a cage precariously suspended over a vat of mysteriously bubbling goo, he springs into action to cut him free. However, what Logan doesn’t know is that the cage is electrified and the goo will dissolve him if he falls into it. So when a jolt from the cage knocks him out momentarily, Wolvie is only saved by Beast reaching through the bars and grabbing him by the collar at the last second. Wolverine, though a little fella, weighs quite a bit thanks to his adamantium bones so holding him with a one-handed, tenuous grip is no easy task. Just then Hobgoblin bursts in, taunting Landon about the fact that he’s stolen his life’s work. A horrified Landon then gets out a laser rifle and begins firing around the room at the ceiling trying to nail Hobgoblin, like you do. Accidentally, Landon shoots the cables that are holding up the cage, forcing Spidey to spring into action to keep the two X-Men from falling into the mutant dissolving goo.
Obsessed with getting from Hobgoblin the disc that contains the only copy of his entire life’s work, Landon grabs onto Hobgoblin’s glider as it passes by and winds up falling into the vat of mutant killing goo he’d concocted. With the possibility of extorting money out of Landon no longer of the table, Hobgoblin skedaddles. Now free of distractions, Spider-Man, Beast, and Wolverine are able to swing the cage out away from the vat and get everyone to safety. And what of Landon? The goo was designed to dissolve mutant DNA; so Landon, as a human, should be totally fine, right? Well, that depends on your definition of “fine”.
Just like Peter Parker’s worst fear for himself, Landon has mutated into a horrible freak monster. The transformation has left him in incredible pain, so he goes into a violent rage. He slams into an electrical control panel and shocks himself, but that surprisingly makes him feel better. And it makes him grow larger. The Landon Monster then begins seeking out sources of electricity to eat, growing larger with every bite, until he’s Godzilla sized and rampaging through Manhattan. Spidey, Beast, and Wolverine can’t handle this one on their own, so thankfully the rest of the X-Men show up just in time.
Beast figures they could short circuit Landon’s bioelectric energy field with the right blast of energy and shrink him back down to size, but the difficult part would be getting Landon into the energy field. Spidey thinks that they could put that energy field into beam form and shoot it at Landon if they only had a powerful enough microwave transmitter, which the X-Men just so happen to have on the Blackbird. So the two big brains in Spidey & Beast formulate a plan to stop Landon: Wolverine, Storm, and Jubilee will distract Landon and get his assistant Genevieve to safety. Rogue will tie a cable around Landon in order to lift him into the air with the Blackbird to make sure he isn’t grounded when the energy blast hits him. Cyclops will pilot the ship. Gambit will make card puns. Jean Grey, who is also there, will do nothing. Everything goes swimmingly until Landon doesn’t shrink as fast as they’d hoped and causes the Blackbird to crash. Suddenly, a mysterious force guides the Blackbird to a gentle landing.
It turns out to be the same mysterious force that momentarily stopped an auditorium ceiling from caving in last episode: Landon’s assistant, Genevieve, is a mutant telekinetic. (Now it makes sense why Jean Grey wasn’t used in this scene) Her hatred of mutants was really a lot of self loathing, which is odd because she’s totally normal looking and has a really cool power. She’d started working for Landon in the hopes that he could find a way to get rid of her mutation but turned against him in the end when he became a giant murderous monster. The X-Men take her in to Professor Xavier, hoping to help her come to terms with what she is. The X-Men tell Spidey that he’s alright in their book and to call if he ever needs help.
That’s all for this episode! Tune in next time, in which noted Eastern European douchebag Micheal Morbius finally gets an upgrade.