Comics : Amazing Spider-Man: Weather Forecast Danger (Whitman)

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Worst of the Worst

This review was first published on: Jun 2013.

Background...

This giant colouring book is 11" x 15". It's one of the seven Whitman colouring books from the late 1970's. Inside it features 48 black and white newsprint colouring pages which also tell a complete story starring Spider-Man, J. Jonah Jameson and introducing new villains "Weather-Master and the Council of The Elements".

This isn't quite the largest colouring book ever produced. That title must go to the half-dozen super-sized books filed under Spider-Man Coloring Books (Giant Format). But despite not being the largest, this story may very well be the STUPIDEST Spider-Man story EVER WRITTEN!

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man: Weather Forecast Danger (Whitman)
Year 1976 : SM Title
Summary: Over-Sized "Giant Comics to Color"
Publisher:  Whitman Books
Staff Only
Issue
Review

Our tale begins with Peter Parker in Jonah's office at the Daily Bugle. Peter is trying to sell another Spider-Man photo, and Jonah isn't impressed. We get a nice couple of pages of flashback of classic villains, which are great colouring pages.

Jonah tells Peter to find a real story to cover, and at that moment the phone rings with news of a massive flood. But how can Peter get to the scene to cover it? Fortunately, the Daily Bugle has a helicopter, and Jonah is a trained pilot. So Jonah flies Peter over the scene of the flood. We see Manhattan flash flooded by a tidal wave with office buildings drowned up to half their height.

Manhattan flooded a hundred feet deep? So, I guess that's about five million dead people, right?

"Wow! Look at all the damage!" says Jameson.

Suddenly, the helicopter is hit by a GIANT STEEL RAIDROPS!

The helicopter crashes safely into a tree. I have no idea how you get from down-town Manhattan to a massive hill with a giant clump of trees, but geography was never my strong point.

Anyhow, Peter has no safety helmet, so he's OK. But Jameson is wearing a safety helmet so he is knocked unconscious. Peter rescues Jameson, before being bombarded with GIANT HAIL STONES!

The villain is revealed as... some weird villain in a bizarre helmet. Peter quickly changes to Spider-Man and demands an explanation. Instead, he gets a nine-page fight vs. HAIL-STONE GUY, FOG-GUY, and SUNSPOT GUY.

Mr. Sunspot invites Spider-Man to "Meet with Us... before we reek havoc upon your world!"

Yeah, I know he means wreak. But he's a powerful alien being, so we'll forgive him an amusing spelling error.

Spider-Man follows Sunspot to a cave, were he meets the aforementioned "Weather-Master and the Council of The Elements" (Twister, Chain Lightning, Sunspot, Pluvio and Foggy). Each of the badly-drawn villains politely introduces themselves, and everybody politely ignores the fact that these guys just killed millions of innocent people.

Weather-Master quickly gets to the point: "We have been banished from our world as punishment for misdeeds, once we destroy your world we can return to our home!"

Seriously? How the feck does that work? Banished for being naughty, but if we kill a few billion earthlings they can go home? What were these "misdeeds"? Not killing enough people? And why did he give this explanation? Was he trying to get sympathy? Oh, well... OK then. If it's the only way to get you guys home, then I guess I'll just help you destroy the planet.

But wait... what's that noise? "It can be only one thing..." exclaims Weather-Master, "A Space Force is hear to destroy us for failing our mission!"

Oh, good. I did get that right. "Banished for misdeeds" did indeed mean "sent to destroy the people of Planet Earth". But... why?

"We must hide deeper in the bowels of this planet!" cries Weather-Master.

"No... you must fight for your freedom.. and I'll help you!" responds Spider-Man.

What. The. Fruitcake?!

The... mass killers must what, Spidey? You're going to HELP this psychopaths? Because?

But wait, it gets more strange. Spider-Man now spends three pages swinging around leading the newly arrived flying saucer as it chases him and shoots death-rays at him. How is Spider-Man doing this? What is he swinging from, up on those hills above the city? What are his webs sticking to?

Spider-Man "swings" back into the cave, where the cowardly villains have been hiding. Our hero then berates the mass-killers for not having the courage to save themselves. Spider-Man has had enough, he says he's going to leave now, and take Jameson with him.

I have no idea how he intends to do that, with a death-ray wielding UFO waiting for him outside the cave entrance. But the fearful Council of the Elements decide that Spider-Man leaving is rude, and they now decide to attack Spider-Man. Obviously. Since he is the only guy on the planet willing to help them.

Queue another three pages of fighting, until Weather-Master yells:

"Stop! Such bravery cannot go unnoticed! If you agree to lead us, Spider-Man, we will go with you this time!"

And... I think it's around this point that the writer of this story suddenly realised that 48 pages is actually quite a lot. That's two complete comic books. You actually need quite a lot of story to fill in 48 pages. And... well, frankly, there's hardly enough plot in this concept to cover an ambitious postage stamp. So I guess it's not surprising that we're going round in circles.

Anyhow, it's too late. The killer robots have come out of the UFO and are pointing their ray guns at the Council of the Elements, saying:

"We mean you no harm, strange one... we must rid ourselves of these cursed creatures of the elements!"

Ya what? But... I thought the Council was banished to earth to destroy it? And frankly, they were doing a pretty good job. They just wiped out much of the major city on the East Coast of the U.S.A, that's a damn good start!

But now... they're mere renegades? So... what's with all the city destroying? Are the Council just a bunch of powerful psychotic jerks? Then why didn't you kill them originally instead of banishing them?

DAMMIT! NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE!

Four more pages of fighting, this time between the Council and the Robots, with Spider-Man cheering on the Council. Eventually the Council are victorious, and they now reveal their true colours.

"You're a fool, Spider-Man! You were merely a pawn to lure the guards here! You were tricked!"

"Come, my children to the world outside... we must destroy Earth and return to our galaxy as the ultimate conquerors!"

And now I think I have this clear. Basically, the Council are just completely brain-damaged super-beings with no plan at all. They're going to flood a few cities on some irrelevant little backwater planet named "Earth", then go back to a completely different galaxy and boast about it.

Not sure how Spider-Man was a pawn. In what sense was he a "pawn"? And in what sense did he do any "luring"? All things consider, I think we can pretty much give up paying attention to any motivations these guys may have. They've already had three chances to make sense. They failed. That's it. No more chances, Bunny Foo-Foo.

Anyhow, it's time for the wrap-up. Spider-Man isn't keen on the world-destroying stuff, so he launches into a final desperate battle. But wait... what is this? Jonah has recovered consciousness and is removing his safety helmet. Weather-Master turns to see Jameson and exclaims...

"No... It cannot be... Yet it is... It is our God... The Exalted one... STAR TWINKLE!"

And, we just jumped a whole row of sharks.

For indeed, Jameson's face is that of the God that these alien beings hold sacred. They all bow before him in worshipful poses, and declare their undying loyalty.

Moved by their devotion, Jameson decides to offer them all jobs as Weather Analysts for the Daily Bugle.

In General...

Look, I'm prepared to grant a little leeway in this out-of-continuity colouring books. But this one is just taking the Mickey. All I can imagine is that half-way through scripting the writer took a massive hit of cocaine and had some sort of mystic vision. How else can you explain J. Jonah Jameson as... Star Twinkle?!

Yes, this is a hard-to-find, classic collectible that sells for $100 even in FN condition, and would fetch double that in Near Mint. But in terms of content, it's laughably bad.

Clearly the plot is inane, and the dialog is terrible. Did I also mention the drawing was pretty bad too?

Overall Rating...

I'm torn. Truly torn. Giant format. Classic collectible. Utterly surreal story. There are only two possible ratings here... a rock-bottom half-web, or a sublime five webs.

Call me curmudgeonly, but I think I'll have to play this one by the book. It pains me. But... it's going to be the half-web.

Footnote...

Heh. Star Twinkle.