Shows : Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 1

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This story is part of a Lookback Series: The Show Must Go On...

This review was first published on: Jan 2010.

Background...

This segment features a villain that was created specifically for the series.

In Detail...

"Sub-Zero for Spidey"
Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 1 (Story 2)
Staff Only
Issue
Review

Our story opens in the middle of summer. The sun is bearing down on our hero as he walks down the street. Through the power of exposition, Peter explains that he's on the way to Dr. Smartyr's lab for a special project. [Wait, "smarter"? *groan*] This is the only way he'd get out in this heat, which he places at 95oFahrenheit [I live in the southern part of the United States. 95 in the summer is a fact of life. Plus the humidity.]

As he continues toward Smartyr's house, he slips on the sidewalk which has been mysteriously frozen solid. He watches as nearby trees spontaneously freeze over. While he is not aware of the source, he does recognize a good story when he sees one. He begins taking pictures of the instant freeze for J. Jonah Jameson. He hears a cry for help and identifies it as Dr. Smartyr.

Peter changes to Spider-Man and enters the house through the lab window, uncharacteristically puffing his chest out as he lands. He then turns to confront the good doctor's assailant - a 10' tall frozen humanoid. Spider-Man uses his webbing to capture the creature, but it is frozen in mid-air. The creature then returns the favor by firing icicles from its wrists. Even though the creature clearly has the advantage, it breaks off its attack and leaves.

Spider-Man checks on Smartyr's condition; he states that he's unharmed. Neither are sure what that was or where it came from, but Spider-Man assumes that it was after the elderly scientist. Spider-Man then promises to get someone to accompany Smartyr to his home [wait, I thought they were already at his home. Minor flaw there, guys.]

Spider-Man then searches the city for the ice creature. As he stands atop a tall building, he sees that the better part of a city block is iced over and then finds the creature. He is easily identified as well. The ice creature then uses his alien powers to freeze the building solid, causing it to split in half. [I take it we're glossing over the possibility that the building was occupied and those occupants were flash frozen.] Spider-Man then abandons the chase and heads for the Daily Bugle.

Jonah is having trouble believing the conflicting reports of winter activities in summer. As Peter arrives, he receives a call informing him about an iceberg in New York Harbor. He then sends Peter to investigate. Once he confirms that there is in fact a giant iceberg in the harbor, he decides to follow up with Dr. Smartyr to determine if there is a connection between this and their visitor.

He arrives at the Smartyr residence and discusses this with the noted scientist. He theorizes that the ice creature may be from the planet Pluto due to the intense cold it seems to generate. [Ok, where did this theory come from exactly? Wouldn't creatures made of ice melt away like Frosty the Snowman in this searing heat? And if Plutonians existed, would they be made of plutonium?]

No sooner is this statement made than his house begins to freeze over, heralding the arrival of a not one but two Plutonians. They freeze both of them solid and kidnap Dr. Smartyr, taking him back to the giant iceberg. Once his prison melts, Spider-Man returns to his house [running all the way if the animation is to be believed] to make some improvements to his costume for his final battle with the Plutonians. He adds a heating unit to be worn under his costume to prevent another deep freeze and adds a new ingredient to his webbing. Once complete he sets out to free Dr. Smartyr.

Spider-Man makes his way to the iceberg and finds his way inside. After surviving the various traps, he finds the Plutonians reviving Smartyr from his cryogenic nap. When Spider-Man attacks them, Smartyr begs him to stop. They are friendly and he is unharmed [how does he know this since he was *just* revived?]

Their leader explains that they became stranded on Earth when their ship was damaged and needed repairs. They were "instinctively drawn" to the one man on the planet that could help them return home with his space warp control system. [Wow. this guy is good if his rep goes all the way to Pluto]. They waste no time and help their new friends repair their ship.

Once repairs are complete, they shed their iceberg camouflage revealing their ship, which resembles a large diamond. [Because a giant iceberg draws less attention than a giant diamond. It's in the Plutonian explorer handbook, 33rd edition, page 73]. With Smartyr's warp drive, they are able to take off and return home without any additional problems. [Good thing Spidey made those improvements to his costume and webs. Who knows what would have happened to him without them.]

Despite photographic proof of today's alien encounter, Jonah is still having a difficult time understanding what happened. He sits at his desk fearing that he'll be a laughing stock if he runs a story about this.

In General...

From the beginning, you could tell this was a cartoon that was made to fill time. For some reason - probably the standards at the time - they couldn't use a specific established character like Chameleon or Kraven and resorted to a Plutonian invasion. Given the goofy nature of this story, I would even have accepted a one-time enemy like the Living Brain.

Spider-Man doesn't typically fight aliens from Pluto or the denizens of the Negative Zone. It just doesn't make sense, as shown here. You can imagine why Stan didn't try to bring this into the the comics.

Overall Rating...

1 web. They did the best they could with this idea. Sadly it wasn't that good. I don't see myself ever being able to warm up to the idea of another Spider-Man/Plutonian fight.