Animated Series Episode One
Episode 1: Spidrax Attacks
Air Date: September 14, 1985
Written By: Dan DiStefano & Janis Diamond
Spidrax, Skulk, Waspax, Skito and Wasp Troopers from the Dark Domain attack a village near the capital city of the Shining Realm. They begin by burning the Skall fields. Most of the villagers run away from the onslaught, but a young Sectaur named Sekor mounts his steed Ultifly and attempts to stop them.
In the capital, Dargon orders Zak to fend off the invaders while he flies off on Dragonflyer to face Spidrax himself. Mantor warns him to not face Spidrax alone, but Dargon insists.
Waspax leads his forces to burn down the village. Wingid attacks, knocking Sekor and Ultifly out of the sky. Waspax and Sekor duel as Zak and Pinsor lead the forces of the Shining Realm to defend the village. The villains conspire for a moment—the burning of the village is just a distraction. Spidrax is really after a map in Mantor’s possession they believe will reveal the location of the Hyve of the Ancients.
Spidrax confronts Dargon in an aerial battle aboard their respective steeds. Skito secrets away with Toxcid to steal the map from Mantor’s lab while Skulk and Trancula take care of the guards. Mantor interrupts Skito and they battle. Just when Mantor has the upper hand, Toxcid sprays him with sleep-inducing venom. Skito, of course, abuses Toxcid for his trouble.
Skito informs Spidrax that he has the map. Spidrax calls for an immediate retreat. Dargon topples a water tower to put out the flames. A frustrated Dargon wants to follow, but Pinsor warns that night is approaching, and—unlike the residents of the Dark Domain—they can’t see at night. Zak is just happy they sent the enemies away, but Dargon isn’t convinced by the easy win.
Sekor wants to join up in the fight, but Dargon and Pinsor insists he is too young to help. Up in Mantor’s lab, Pinsor revives Mantor, who then reveals the map has been stolen. Dargon prepares to take off, and Sekor shows up again to offer his help. Again, he is told his help is not needed. So, Sekor and Ultifly make their way to Spidrax’s castle to show their usefulness. The inexperienced duo are surrounded seconds after landing, but Ultifly manages to escape.
Later that night, the villains celebrate their theft of the map. The guards bring Sekor in. Spidrax realizes that Dargon must be close, and says he has a plan to deal with the approaching heroes. Dargon, Zak and Bitaur make their way to Spidrax’s chamber where they see Spidrax and his forces. Bitaur chomps through the door of the chamber, and they battle. Spidrax reveals he has Sekor captured. Dargon procures the map, but the victory is fleeting. He and Zak are overwhelmed by the superior numbers of Spidrax’s forces, and only a timely rescue by Spiderflyer saves them.
Later, at Stellara’s tavern, the heroes try to figure out how to stop Spidrax. Mantor says all hope is not lost—he knows the map well and remembers the way. Their journey will first take them across the Lake of Blood. Later the next day, the heroes of the Shining Realm are hot on the tail of Spidrax’s ship. Spidrax orders his men to head the ship toward the island of the Web Widow. Spidrax’s crew fears that the enchanting song of the Web Widow will trap them. But Spidrax tells them to fill their ears with bee’s wax to avoid hearing it. The music of the Web Widow’s web harp overpowers the heroes on the deck of the ship. Dargon, who was below deck, is not affected. Just as he reaches the deck and realizes they are under a spell, he is knocked from the ship into the Lake of Blood. Pinsor, Zak and Mantor make their way to the island and towards the Web Widow’s castle, becoming hopeless ensnared in moments. The Web Widow inspects her new guests, and carries them into her Web Castle.
Dargon coats himself in mud from the Lake of Blood so he does not stick to the walls of the Web Castle. He tries to save his struggling friends from the web, when Web Widow attacks. He is caught momentarily by her, but manages to free himself and quickly incapacitates her with his Vengun.
The heroes continue onward through a forest, when they see Ultifly overhead. They catch up to Ultifly, who is badly wounded. Mantor manages to communicate with Ultifly and finds out that Sekor is on the other side of the forest with Spidrax. The group then comes across a gigantic tunnel worm, and Dargon decides to use the worm’s underground burrowing abilities to surprise Spidrax. They prod the worm to a location under Spidrax’s camp. The worm emerges into the camp, followed swiftly by Dargon and the others. Sekor is relieved to see them in the company of the healed Ultifly. The two forces battle as Zak frees Sekor. Spidrax and Dargon face off again, and Sekor saves Dragon’s life by deflecting Spidrax’s attack.
Spidrax vows to still reach the Hyve of the Ancients. The heroes send Sekor off home while congratulating him on his bravery, and this time he complies. Zak is relieved it’s over, but Mentor warns that nothing is over. They still have to stop Spidrax. Pinsor says they do not have far to go—Spidrax and his forces are on a cliff-top above them! Spidrax gives the command to fire, and a hail of weapon’s fire cascades downward onto our heroes…
To Be Continued in Episode 2
Factoids of the Ancients:
Déjà-vu: A woman’s voice cries, very distinctly: “Help me, help me! He’s horrible” as the villagers run away… and then the same exact line is repeated only moments later.
The first time you hear Mantor speak, it might be a shock if you’re a Transformers fan. He sounds exactly like Optimus Prime.
The animation models for the characters include irises, something the toys do not feature. No doubt this was done so that the characters could emote with their eyes.
The Sectaurs are fond of ululating battle cries. It’s a neat cultural touch in a way, but may cause an adult audience to smirk a bit.
The first thing you’ll notice as you watch the animated series is that it’s a much, much more simplified version of the Sectaur’s story compared to the rich mythos hinted at in the Style Guide or related in the Marvel Comics. Gone are all the political maneuverings. There is no mention of Empress Devora, and it seems that Spidrax is the leader of the Dark Domain. It’s a more straightforward quest with good guys battling bad guys and it’s probably the weakest of the three presentations for it.
That being said, it’s still a lot of fun. The characters seem very true to their depiction in other media. The animation models of all the characters are nicely detailed and toy accurate. It might have been nice to have not included the irises in the eyes, as the effect can be slightly comical at times, but their inclusion is understandable. The backgrounds are richly illustrated with some interesting design elements. The animation itself certainly stands up to similar efforts around this time. It’s a shame the series has not been made available in an official format to better enjoy the look of the show, because it is one of its strengths. - JonWes
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