That time Spider-Man accidentally let a sad old man in a bowtie be god

For all that Spider-Man likes to be reffered to as the Amazing Spider-Man or the Spectacular Spider-Man, there are a lot moments when Spider-Man was neither amazing nor spectaular. In fact, there have been plenty of times that the Sub-par Spider-Man would have been more accurate, or even the Shitty Spider-Man. I'm thinking of course of the Clone Saga, giving up his marraige to a super-model to the devil, and the time he ate a vampire's face. But to these well-known low points we have to add the episode of the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon titled "The Fantastic Mr. Frump." (Warning: At no point is Mr. Frump actually fantastic. Kismet!)

Our story begins with Spider-Man, Firestar and Ice-Man (in their civilian guises) returning home from a sports game (since the pennants they hold are white, this team's logo is either a white void or the trio was desperately rooting for surrender). They come across an old man getting fired by being forcibly thrown out onto the street. Peter recognizes him as Mr. Frump, who used to do "odd jobs" for Aunt May, which seems curiously vague (and possibly refers to stud service). After picking him up and hearing him bemoan his terrible life, the Amazing Friends leave him as quickly as possible, and decide to race home. This notable because they all change into their superhero outfits in the middle of the street, which means Peter Parker has to take off his clothes while he's literally standing in public, on the sidewalk. Anyways, the flying Firestar and ice-riding Iceman immediately leave Spidey in third place.

Meanwhile, on top of the embassy of Latvaria (no, not Latveria, Latvaria) Dr. Doom and his helpful gentleman hobo/lab assistant Boris are doing something with a amulet and lightning and computers. The amulet — which looks like the lion logo from The Lion King musical for no apparent reason — can somehow bestow pretty much unlimited power. Why Doom is doing this outdoors in New York City, home of 93% of all Marvel Super Heroes, and not, say, "Latvaria" or something, is unknown.

One might think that superheroes would try to prevent such a power from falling into Doom's hands in the first place, but no, the only reason his scheme is stopped is because Spidey decides to take a "short-cut" in his race, and happens to swing over the Latvarian Embassy, spotting Doom (possibly because Doom has made the bold choice of wearing clashing greens; his cape is its traditional dark green, while his tunic looks more like an unripe banana). Doom electrocutes Spider-Man with ease (eliciting a hilarious high-pitched scream from the wallcrawler), and then use his amulet/satellite dish combo to shoot an unknown beam from the amulet into space; then Doom helpfully explains when the beam comes back, whoever holds the amulet gets the omnipotence.

That time Spider-Man accidentally let a sad old man in a bowtie be godS

Obviously, before the beam returns, Spidey knocks the amulet out of Doom's hands and off the roof, where it lands right in front of none other than Mr. Frump, who picks up the amulet just as the beam hits. Mr. Frump's first act as an being of limitless power is to drop the amulet, breaking it, which is less disturbing than the reveal that Mr. Frump has holes in his shoes… and, apparently, his feet.

Dr. Doom hands Spidey his ass yet again, blasting him to wherever Firestar and Ice-Man are (immediately following a scene where, in a stunning display of their basic competency, Iceman has to tell Firestar to back away because she's melting him). Spidey tells them about Doom and his amulet, Ice-Man makes a terrible "omelette" joke, and somewhere on the moon, Uatu the Watcher retches.

Meanwhile, the newly omnipotent Frump enters a "Used Stuff" store looking for a job. The owner, a terrifying man wearing suspenders and no shirt (and reading a newspaper with the outstanding headline "TOURIST UNMOLESTED IN CENTRAL PARK STROLL") tells Frump repeatedly to bug off. The irritated Frump tells him to bug off, causing the man to transform into a giant, Kafka-esque cockroach person. The surprised Frump runs away in horror.

Next, a group of school children taunt Frump, singing "Funny Frump, Funny Frump, looks like he lives in the garbage dump!" Frump, failing to concede that he does kind of look like he lives in a garbage dump, tells two of the boys to go jump in a lake — which they do –- and a third boy to "clam up," transforming him into a giant, hideous clam. It finally dawns on Mr. Frump that he may be god.

That time Spider-Man accidentally let a sad old man in a bowtie be godS

Frump calls a hot dog into existence, albeit a hot dog where the dog is the same horrible brown as the bun. The all-bun hot dog having proven his omnipotence beyond a doubt, Frump wishes for new clothes, a gilded carriage (with the mean boys as footservants, which is unbelievably creepy) and "someone special" to be his friend "forever and ever," which, quite tellingly, ends up being a cat named Mabel.

Doom and the Amazing Friends have found the broken amulet at the exact same time, and have each grabbed a single piece. Doom begins handing the trio their asses, although Spidey does get a good hit when when he leaps onto the flying Doom and throws him into the concrete from about 200 yards up. The fight is interrupted when the stormy sky suddenly turns sunny and full of rainbows, the buildings turn psychedleic colors and patterns, and red carpets begun covering the streets, thanks to more wishes from Frump.

Back at the Frump-mobile, Mabel meows, which Frump interprets as the cat questioning how Frump got his powers. Frump agrees with the cat, and demands the universe tell him. The universe simply teleports Dr. Doom over to "Lord Frump," as he's begun calling himself. Doom immediately realizes what has happened, tells Frump he gave him his new powers and that Frump will definitely need his guidance. Frump agrees, because if you can't trust a stranger in a terrifying metal mask who calls himself "Doom," who can you trust?

That time Spider-Man accidentally let a sad old man in a bowtie be godS

Doom immediately tells Frump he needs to destroy Spider-Man, Firestar and Ice-Man, because… of reasons. Frump simply summons the trio and turns them into stone, and Frump and Doom share a hearty laugh.

Alas, Doom, having failed to take into account that Frump is an idiot, slowly realizes that Frump has also turned the pieces of the amulet the Amazing Friends were holding into tone as well. As he desperately tries to pry the pieces from the statues' hands, Frump sadly tells Mabel he needs someone to talk to (presumably someone whose responses aren't imaginary), and teleports Aunt May over. Aunt May, who looks uncannily like Henry Fonda in Grapes of Wrath, expresses shock at everything — being teleported, Frump, Frump calling himself the "Master of the Universe," Firestar being a statue, etc (she does not seem to give a shit about Ice-Man or Spider-Man's statue status).

That time Spider-Man accidentally let a sad old man in a bowtie be godS

Frump, eager to please May, returns the Amazing Friends to life, but removes their powers to assuage Doctor Doom, which leads to the odd scene where Firestar touches the ice-covered Ice-Man and tells him he's not cold (must be some of that room temperature ice we've been hearing so much about). Frump, whose impossibly short-attention span rivals that of the MTV generation, wishes for and receives a palace. Doom takes out the powerless superheroes, while Frump wishes for "all the money in the world," which begins to fall from the sky. Doom's assault is stopped when about 200 lbs. of spare change falls on him, knocking him down. Frump and Aunt May immediately start drowning in money until Frump wishes for it to go away… which doesn't actually make the money go away, just stop raining. Clearly, the amulet has begin accounting for Frump's idiocy.

"If you can have anything, why do you need money?" Aunt May asks astutely. "Give me the world's largest car! And a super giant TV set! And a yacht!" Frump demands, perhaps missing May's point (it's also worth noting that the yacht is much too tiny to accommodate human beings, and besides which, it probably can't do much sailing while it's inside Frump's palace).

Doom tries to get Frump back on the "ruling the world" track, but the best he can do is have Trump teleport everybody to a Roman arena, where he gives Spider-Man, Ice-Man and Firestar their powers back, and forces them to face the most powerful warrior in history… Genghis Khan. Failing to foresee that a 12th Mongolian might have a problem facing three superheroes, Frump is surprised when Firestar almost immediately sets Khan on fire, and dismisses the warrior.

Doom suggests Frump try the mythical Cyclops and three-headed dog Cerberus, neither of whom are so easily immolated. At Spider-Man's suggestion, Ice-Man makes three dog biscuits — out of ice — for Cerberus, which achieves absolutely nothing. After Ice-Man puts Cerberus' three heads in an ice stockade and the Cyclops trips and falls down, Frump wishes for "the weirdest creature in the universe to appear," summoning a Lovecraftian nightmare blob covered in beaked tentacles. It pretty much immediately hands the Amazing Friends their assess, grabbing everyone in its tentacles, including Aunt May.

That time Spider-Man accidentally let a sad old man in a bowtie be godS

Frump, who is proving more and more with every passing second why he shouldn't be trusted with a broom, let alone omnipotence, decides to save Aunt May, dubbing himself "Wonder Frump," wishing himself into a pale yellow superhero costume, and yet leaving himself portly (hardly the worst thing in the world, but if you've got omnipotence, man, go for the gusto). Frump saves May and creates a crack in the ground for the Frumpcraftian creature to fall though, although it does politely let go of Spidey and friends on its way down to hell.

Frump is ready to tangle with the heroes, who no longer wish to fight a dangerous idiot with limitless power. So Frump turns their feet into tree roots, and flies off with May, Superman-style. Doom uses the opportunity to demand the heroes work with him to reverse the spell and regain the pieces of the amulet, lest he bring Frump back over and summon a giant lawnmower. The heroes immediately capitulate to this threat, even though Frump has left and Doom has no way to contact him.

That time Spider-Man accidentally let a sad old man in a bowtie be godS

Aunt May, being at least 120 years old, does not care for being carried by Frump, flying, or Frump's habit of referring to himself as "the Master of the Universe." He sets her back down in the arena, and immediately starts sulking with his only true friend, Mabel the cat. Doom takes the opportunity to tell Frump that his new-found powers will disappear after an hour — a claim the Amazing Friends support while crossing their fingers behind their backs, because they have the maturity of 6-year-olds — unless Doom repeats the incantation. Obviously, Frump, who idiocy has been well-established by this point, demands Doom re-cast the spell, returning them to the "Latvarian" embassy rooftops and recreating the earlier storm.

Not that the showmakers gave a shit at any point in this episode, but here's where things get extra-stupid: Doom pulls a yellow button out of one of his machines — you read that correctly — and then molds it like clay into an exact replica of the Lion King amulet. Meaning part of the machine that helps create the amulet that bestows omnipotence on its holder was made out of fucking Play-Doh.

That time Spider-Man accidentally let a sad old man in a bowtie be godS

Doom very cunningly hides this faux amulet by holding it behind his back, while Spidey, Ice-Man and Firestar reluctantly hand him the pieces of the original amulet. Doom gives the fake amulet to Frump and has him recite some kind of spell. The fake amulet somehow, for some reason, shoots its own beam of light into the sky, although Spidey still realizes it's a fake. Doom makes the mistake of threatening Aunt May to prevent the heroes from attacking, which enrages Wonder Frump to the point where he wishes Aunt May to be home again and… nothing else, actually.

Spidey and Doom wrestle over the real amulet, while the beam from the fake amulet — which still apparently has the bestow god-like powers on the amulet holder — is heading back to Earth. Eventually, Firestar throws the amulet into the sky, where the beam hits it and it explodes, despite the fact that the whole point of the damn amulet was to be hit by the beam. Whatever. Frump's powers and palace disappear, including the city's hideous new paint scheme. Doom cries that the power is gone forever, which would be slightly more effective if he doesn't immediately follow it up by saying there's another omnipotence-bestowing amulet somewhere, and he's going to find it. Oh, and for some reason, Doom says everyone's going to forget the incredibly stupid events of the afternoon, despite the fact this should make him forget he wants and/or needs to go find that second amulet.

Spider-Man, having put in his hours for the day, just lets Doom leave to hunt for this other item that will give him unlimited power. Frump returns to his previous task of complaining he no job or friends, until Mabel shows up; the excited Mr. Frump takes Mabel away, presumably to have long, intimate conversations in his apartment, as well as some heavy petting. And then the Spider-friends forget everyone thing that happened. They're the lucky ones, my friends, because we viewers do not have this luxury.

So What Did We Learn?

That time Spider-Man accidentally let a sad old man in a bowtie be godS

• We learned that not only is Mr. Frump clearly too incompetent to hold down any kind of a job, but that he's kind of a terrible person and deserves to be unhappy.

• We learned that if Dr. Doom had performed his amulet ritual almost anywhere else in the world, he'd currently be god.

• We learned that Firestar isn't smart enough to stay more then five feet away from Ice-Man, even when he's made of ice and she's on fire.

• We learned that Dr. Doom is the only reason Frump's reign of omnipotence came to an end, more or less making him the hero of the episode.

• We learned why you should never be nice to old men with self-esteem problems who wear bowties.

• We learned that deep in the earth, the dread creature Frump summoned lies in wait for the end days, when he can devour all of our souls.