Shows : Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 8

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

This review was first published on: Mar 2010.

Background...

The Rhino is a relatively popular enemy of Spider-Man. He's an indestructible thug who has been given super-powers. Think of him as a gray version of the Hulk with less personality.

Rhino was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #41.

In Detail...

"Horn of the Rhino"
Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 1, Episode 8
Oct 1967 : SM Title
Summary: First Aired Oct 28th 1967 (Full-length story)
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The US Army has created a new secret weapon that is being shipped to a undisclosed location for assembly. It is assumed that these components were developed individually with the intention of later assembly.

The first component is being shipped by train. Spider-Man learns of its route [How exactly? Doesn't this fall under the umbrella of National Security?] and decides to donate his time by providing extra security. He hops aboard the train and begins to watch out for any threats. Almost immediately one threat appears and charges the train, causing it to derail. The individual identifies himself as the Rhino. He steals the component – vowing to get the other two - and makes his getaway before anyone recovers.

When the passengers – all military police – Spider-Man realizes that he should leave before they accuse him of stealing the component. Unfortunately they see him and as predicted blame him for the theft [Yeah, there's that whole "unauthorized personnel" thing]. Spider-Man hides out in a haystack and eludes the soldiers. Somewhere along the line, Spider-Man catches a cold. [Interesting plot device. I was wondering when we were going to have a 'Spider-Man is sick' episode]

At the Daily Bugle, Jameson converses with an individual over the phone. He is aware of the military's transportation plans regarding the other two components over the next week. One by jet, one by submarine, one by armored car. [Wait that's three more. Do they expect to contradict or help Sesame Street © here?] Jameson instructs Betty to contact Parker.

At his house, Peter is in bed. Aunt May has him confined to bed and is bringing in family remedies to help him get well. [All this for a cold? May's over-protectiveness reaches new a new low.] She answers the phone and tells Jameson in very clear terms that Peter is sick and can't take pictures now. Peter knows what Jameson wants, but he agrees with Aunt May; he can't do it "now". Later on, when it's dark, Spider-Man can look into it.

Spider-Man returns to the scene of the accident and confirms that it was a human rhino that attacked them. He follows the footprints into the city [I think many episodes of Scooby Doo © did the same thing.] Spider-Man follows the footprints into the city where he soon loses the trail. Then he decides to check this out from the air [You can't find it when you're on the ground and you think being up higher will help? Time for some stock animation!]

Spider-Man soon hears a disturbance. When he investigates he comes face-to-face with the Rhino, who has just attacked a squad car, crushing the engine. His cold works to his disadvantage and is knocked into an alleyway. The police have him cornered but he escapes by webbing himself into a giant blue bowling ball, and knocking over the cops (with appropriate bowling sound effects). [Good news, he got a strike. Bad news: only four pins were involved]. He returns to his house seconds before Aunt May pops in to check on him.

She gives him some tea with a sleeping agent. As he drinks it, the phone rings. May tells Jameson once again that Peter will not take pictures at the airport tonight. Peter exaggerates his drowsiness to get her to leave. He then sets out to stop the Rhino from stealing the next component, even though he is desperately trying to stay awake.

At the airport the Rhino waits until the military jet has landed and steals the component, running through the security detail. Spider-Man manages to temporarily take the briefcase back, but his cold again causes problems and the Rhino leaves with the second component.

In the rhino cave inside Central Park Zoo, the Rhino combines the two components amid the mud dripping from the ceiling. He is pleased he is one part away from world domination. [How does this device stay clean? It's a mud cave.]

Jameson contacts Peter once again and asks as politely as he can that he take pictures of the submarine delivery. Without his pictures, they'll be scooped by every newspaper in town. May grabs the phone away from her nephew and tells Jonah that Peter's not going anywhere. Perhaps if its this important, he could take his own pictures. At first Jonah is livid, but reconsiders thinking that he can pretend to be a cub reporter again. Jonah's attempts to disguise himself and gain access to a restricted military area result in his arrest.

Convincing May to let him sleep it off, Peter tries to stop the Rhino from stealing the third component, arriving by sub. For the third time he fails and returns to his house. [Rhino is apparently a world-class swimmer as can build up enough speed to destroy the sub. He looks like he running though. Did they forget water isn't solid? Or that subs tend to be in very deep water?]

After some rest, he goes out once again to find the Rhino who has escaped a police dragnet around Central Park. Looking in the most obvious place – the pool in the rhinoceros exhibit – he discovers Rhino's muddy hideout complete with the Rhino and the assembled super-weapon [Is it too late to point out how easy it was for a common thug like Rhino to assemble this? Because it was way too easy.]

Spider-Man attaches a can of pepper that he borrowed from Aunt May's cupboard to the Rhino's horn. This causes him to sneeze uncontrollably. [Pepper? We're really doing this? Ugh.] Rescuing the weapon, Spider-Man watches as the Rhino's sneezing causes the ceiling to collapse on him, burying him in a mound of mud. To make sure that he doesn't leave, Spider-Man whips out his instant heat ray [That he picked up at the A & P for $4.95 - a great bargain!] and bakes the mud into a form-fitting prison. [This holds him? He collided headfirst with a train and walked away, but dried mud holds him?] He then takes a picture of him for Jonah and leaves to contact the police.

With the day (and world) saved Spider-Man returns home to try some more of Aunt May's cold remedies.

In General...

I think this is Aunt May's first and last appearance in the series. I honestly don't remember how often she was used.

If by any chance, you read my review of episode #1, I mentioned that something was off; Doc Ock deserves a better storyline. With a few tweaks, this could and should have been the Doc Ock episode.

Having the Rhino build an all-powerful weapon just doesn't work in this instance. They had to simplify the weapon to the point where it resembles a child's toy. At this point you're no better than if you just have him commit a series of random robberies.

Overall Rating...

2 webs. The story was decent, but they used the wrong villain. Again this should have been a full-blown Doc Ock episode. It would have been easy to show him assembling this weapon in his lab with his arms grabbing different components and tools. Why they didn't do this, I'll never know.

There are some other plot elements that were added for no particular reason.

  1. How did Peter get a "cold" from brief exposure to to water after the train wreck and/or exposure to the hay? If the hay caused it, it's not a cold, it's allergies. Home remedies won't work.
  2. The "bowling alley" sequence was just goofy. He couldn't climb or swing away like he usually does?
  3. How did anyone find out about the Army's transit routes? That is highly sensitive data.
  4. Finally using a can of pepper to defeat the Rhino is so bad I can't find the right words to describe it.

Footnote...

Time once again for the "funny caption" game. Match the items here with the screen cap numbers above.

  1. Softball injury is acting up again.
  2. With my bean bag chair disguise, I'll win the hide & seek world cup!
  3. Pat Boone keeps me mellow.
  4. Hooooooole
  5. Instant heat. (What else can be said?)