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Animated Series Episode Two

Episode 2: Slave City
Air Date: September 21, 1985
Written By: Dan DiStefano & Janis Diamond



Continuing from the last episode, the heroes of the Shining Realm—Dargon, Mantor, Pinsor and Zak—dodge the spray of venom darts being fired upon them from Spidrax’s men. Dargon tells them to take cover as he draws their fire, and mounts Dragonflyer. The plan works, and the others are able to take refuge in a fog bank. Dargon is also able to escape into the fog. He regroups with his men on a cliff-top, and waits for Spidrax and his forces to approach so they can ambush them.
They attack, and easily deal with the Wasp Troopers. Spidrax and Dargon engage in an aerial battle again on their respective steeds. Dargon wants Mantor’s map back, but Spidrax (of course) refuses. On the ground, the opposing sides continue to battle. Suddenly, Spidrax calls for a retreat and Dargon and his men pursue them. Pinsor is right behind a group of Wasp Troopers when one of them turns to shoot. He hits Pinsor in the head with a venom dart. It doesn’t penetrate Pinsor’s helmet, but it does knock him off Battle Beetle. Pinsor clings to a branch on the side of the cliff face and calls out to Battle Beetle and Dargon. Dargon swoops down and saves him just in the knick of time.
The group continues their pursuit, when a giant wasp is woken from its slumber. It uses its wings to create a forceful wind, successfully blowing the heroes into its nest, where it intends to use them to feed its young. Above them, Spidrax celebrates victory as Dargon and his men are captured. Back in the wasp’s nest, the first of the wasp’s progeny approaches hungrily. Pinsor decides to break through a wall to get them out. Mantor calls out in alarm, but it’s too late. Hive fluid is released and washes them further into the nest.
Dargon struggles against the flow of the hive fluid to save Mantor, who appears to be unconscious. Just as he is about to reach him, large boulders rain down upon them. Mantor recovers and saves himself, only to see Dargon and Dragonflyer swept away down a side tunnel. Dargon finds an exit, and manages to pull himself and Dragonflyer out of the river of hive fluid. They prepare to fly out, hoping their friends are safe. Back on the main tunnel, the other heroes are still being carried swiftly along through the nest. Finally, they see an opening that leads to a waterfall. The problem is that it leads to the sea of Acid Rain. Zak tells them to grab the roots surrounding the cave exit, and they hang on for dear life. A large tree trunk exits via the waterfall below, and into the acid, sizzling slowly. Mantor tells them to jump for the log. Amazingly, they all make it safely on despite Pinsor and Zak’s skepticism of the plan. But, the log won’t last long in the acid.
In the distance they see an “island” that ends up being a large creature/ship that swallows them up. Inside, the threesome is “greeted” by green-skinned beings. They find the green creatures torturing the ship to make it do their bidding. They are introduced to Captain Borja, and realize they are on a ship run by slavers.  Pinsor, Zak and Mantor try to escape, but a trap door opens up. Before they can fall in, they catch themselves. Tentacles rise up from the pit and grasp at them. They manage to crawl out, but the creature the tentacles are attached to rises up and attacks. Pinsor and Battle Beetle hold the creature off. Just as they think they are safe, more tentacles emerge from the wall and grab them!
Dargon flies to a slave city on the shores of the Sea of Acid, knowing Spidrax will stop there on the way to the Hyve. A Slaver takes Spidrax to look at his stock of slaves. Spidrax is not impressed. The slaver insists he has new slaves coming. Shortly after, the slave ship pulls up to the docks of the city. Captain Borja presents Pinsor, Zak and Mantor to Spidrax as his newest slaves. Spidrax is delighted. He orders Skito and Waspax to take his new slaves away. The heroes try to escape, but are subdued before they can.
The slavers meet up at the local watering hole. Dargon comes in and intimidates them into telling him where Spidrax took his men. Deep in a forest, Wasp Troopers are escorting the captured heroes through a forest. Dargon knocks out one of the Troopers and puts on his uniform. He follows his captured friends to Spidrax’s camp. He breaks in, and confronts Spidrax. They battle once more. Dargon defeats Spidrax, but can’t find the map. He rescues his friends, and then calls Dragonflyer to him. Spidrax recovers and calls his forces to attack. The two forces battle once more. The heroes fend Spidrax and his men off, who make a hasty escape. Dargon and his men make their way out of the camp and vow to continue on their quest to the Hyve.
The next day, the heroes are walking through a barren, rocky landscape. Spidrax is spying on them. “Prepare to destroy Dargon!” he yells.
To Be Continued in Episode 3
Factoids of the Ancients:

It’s probable that scientists are scratching their head about the opening narration’s claim that Symbion is a “star planet.”
There is a Masters of the Universe mini-comic called “Slave City.” Of course, the “slave city” is a pretty common component of a lot of fantasy adventure stories.
Another Transformer’s alum is in the cast. Dan “Bumblebee” Gilvezan plays Dargon.

This episode starts off a little slow. The aerial battle between Dargon and Spidrax at the start of the episode feels a little repetitive after a similar battle last episode. However, complaining about battles in a cartoon for kids meant to sell toys seems a bit silly. It’s interesting to note that both episodes so far seem very split into two different stories that are not always that connected other than they are part of the overall quest. I feel like it would have been nicer to focus on one story the whole episode, but clearly part of the reason for this is to have the heroes have a lot of adventures in different locales in a short time. It does lend the story a slightly epic feel as it moves quickly from locale to locale. The side effect is that the “slave city” of the title is actually not that large a part of the episode, nor is any story points really resolved.
The episode picks up a lot once the slavers enter the picture. Of course, the presence of the vaguely aquatic-looking green race raises a lot of questions. Do multiple races exist on Symbion?  It’s not just the Sectaurs? Are they a result of the experiments of the Ancients going awry? The episode doesn’t deal with any of this, sadly, as it’s too concerned with the main action plot. Which, again, fair enough for a kid’s cartoon about a toy line from the 80s. But, given the concept of Symbion portrayed in the style guide, it does raise questions.
It’s interesting to note that the script doesn’t have the heroes really do anything about the slavers or the slave city at all! They make their escape at the end of the episode, and that’s it. No attempt to free the slaves is even mentioned. This is probably far more realistic given their situation and lack of manpower, but seems a bit surprising for  a cartoon in the 80s. - JonWes



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