Hey you X-Fans out there! Have we got a treat for you. Thought that the X-Men were pretty 'rad', eh, 'dude' what with their major motion picture and their shiny black leather and all their awesome powers? You just wait and see how lame the X-Men can really be after Ice-Man gets the full Spidey Super Stories treatment here. And he's one of the ones who was 'cool' (a pun! I rock!) enough to make it into the movie. Which scientifically proves all the other X-Men are even more lame than this.
Mr. Caption: Wait a minute! What's Spidey doing on a ski
Answer: God knows, but I'd bet the farm it involves embarrassing himself and somehow breaking fundamental laws of physics.
And I'd be right, since the splash page shows Spidey wearing Ice Skis, sliding up the Ski Jump, and using a Web-Shield to deflect Ice-Man's Rapid-Fire Ice Balls. And Ice-Man is skiing down the ski jump on his own Ice Skis, and spitting out three continuous streams of Ice Balls at Spidey, one every two inches. On this one page, Ice-Man has no less than 33 Ice Balls flying at Spidey, who's about seven feet away. Not to mention that one stream of Rapid-Fire Ice Balls is coming from his left hand, and one stream from his right hand, and one from, uh, somewhere else... if we're lucky, maybe his neck. Is that a part of Ice-Man's normal powers? Could he always shoot melon-sized goiter-like Ice-Balls out of his neck or hands like a machine gun? Thankfully, this is only a splash page and doesn't actually represent what happens in the story, which is much, much worse.
(As an aside, yes, I know his name is actually "Iceman," but Spidey Super Stories insists on calling him "Ice-Man" and who am I to argue with the writers of Spidey Super Stories? Me, I'd never do that. Heh. And you know, hyphens al-ways make easi-er read-ing for-all-the kid-dies.)
So a biplane writes, "SKI RACE TOMORROW!" in the sky above New York City. Bobby Drake, "also known as the Ice-Man" is the first to read it, smartly dressed in a canary yellow dress shirt with the top two buttons unbuttoned, and green striped bellbottoms. He thinks "Oh Boy! I'd sure like to enter that ski race! I'd better hurry to catch the train to the snow. And it will be really great to leave this hot, stuffy city!" So barely teenager Bobby Drake immediately runs to the train station to buy a ticket to go somewhere unknown but far away from his guardians for who knows how long without telling anyone, based on something he saw written in the sky. So kids, if you ever see the Goodyear blimp in the sky, it's perfectly ok to run away from home and hike across the country looking for the Goodyear home offices. I sometimes wonder if Spidey Super Stories is really some kind of secret population control device, weeding out the really, really dumb kids from the only mostly dumb ones for genetic purity.
Mr. Caption: The next person to read the sign was Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson...
So, out of all of New York, only two people have noticed the giant sign in the sky. That's not a real effective use of your advertising dollar, I have to say, ski race organizers. So JJJ leans so far out the window to read the sign that Joe Robertson and Mary Jane have to grab him and yank him back in his office. And he says... wait a second! What the hell is Mary Jane doing in his office? I have no idea, but JJJ and Joe seem to think its the most natural thing in the world for Mary Jane to be lounging around in his office in a mini-skirt, which frankly bothers me quite a bit.
JJJ: I want pictures of that ski race!
Joe Robertson: Sorry Mr. Jameson, but everyone here has a bad cold!
Mary Jane: Everyone except Peter Parker!
JJJ (through intercom): Parker my boy, I've got a job for you! Pack your bags! I'm sending you to the ski race!
Peter (thinks): Rats! I had a date with Mary Jane tonight!
And Mary Jane just smiles. At first I didn't even realize what a total witch she's being. Go and reread that bit. She agrees to go out with Peter, but then without hesitation volunteers him for an assignment that forces him to miss their date, and then looks really, really happy about it. Damn conniving women. But I guess that's fair, considering that Peter has to sneak out of all of their dates anyway to go fight Captain Llama or whatever. She probably just got tired of picking up the check.
So Peter goes to the ski race, where Ice-Man is already competing. Though what he's really doing is skiing downhill with no skis or poles, using his ice powers to keep himself sliding down the snow. And for some reason, the event organizers aren't really concerned about people cheating with their super-powers. There's probably a reason, though. "Man, ever since the Silver Surfer won the national bowling title by converting all his opponents to cosmic energy, we don't mess around with super-people. You want the trophy? Have some lame powers? Yours."
But the other skiers are pissed about it and say, "That Ice-Man has been showing off all morning! He won't give anyone else a turn!" So of course Peter, who has "enforcing ski etiquette" just above fighting crime on his priority list, decides to change into Spidey and teach this "Ice-Man" a lesson.
So now immediately begins the ludicrous fight scene between them. They don't even bother with the usual "Hey! We're both good guys! This is a misunderstanding speech", they just dive right in to the pummeling. Spidey swings in from high off-panel and kicks the unsuspecting Ice-Man in the back. This is a little strange, since they're on the top of a snowy mountain and the only trees visible are hundreds of feet away. Maybe Spidey snagged a passing sea-gull or something with his web, I don't know.
Ice-Man now busts out with his "Machine Gun Ice Fists of Death" attack. (Which can be used on level 17 in combination with his "Ice Evisceration" attack for a 'mortal fatality') So with the machine gun attack he shoots 40 Ice Balls at Spidey in the next two panels. And he doesn't throw them, he just creates five every second and magically sends them zooming out at the speed of sound to try and crack Spidey's skull. Spidey, however, has his Web-Shield already in place to deflect them. Boy, he's sure lucky he can make nylon webbing into a rock-solid full-body defensive screen in less than a second. Is there anything Spidey can't do with his webs? I bet he could give Green Lantern a run for his money. 'Why, I'll just create a Web-Bulldozer to push the Earth back into it's orbit! Jeepers!'
So here's the witty superhero banter they exchange:
Ice-Man: A fight in the snow is a whole new ball game! *throws Ice Balls*
Spider-Man: If this snowman thinks he's won... he has another THINK coming! *shoots webs at him*
Ice-Man: Nice try, Web-Slinger, but your webs slide off my ice coating!
*actually, Spidey misses him by about 5 feet, but if Ice-Man thinks it's due to his special non-stick coating, more power to him*
Spider-Man: Now you'll get yours, you big Ice Cube!
Then Ice-Man gets the not-too-stupid idea of creating an Ice Slide under Spidey's feet (Mr. Sound Effect: SLIP!), so Spidey slides and bumps his head into a concession stand (Mr. Sound Effect: BUMP!). I think someone here really doesn't understand the whole point of sound effects. You would think that in the post-Batman tv series world of the mid-70s, they'd know a little something about good sound effects. I swear, if I were writing comics then instead of not even being a gleam in my mother's eye, I would put ZAP! POW! KAZOOIE! like four times in every panel. But no, here he slips, (SLIP!) and bumps into something (BUMP!). I can see where this is going to lead. One day Spidey's grilling bratwurst (Mr. Sound Effect: GRILL!) for the poor neighborhood kids (Mr. Sound Effect: POVERTY!), when the Vulture attacks (Mr. Sound Effect: ATTACK!) and Mary Jane runs away (Mr. Sound Effect: FLEE!).
So then Spidey gets a great idea! And this isn't just one of those normal wacky ideas Spidey's always getting, he gets a LIGHT BULB LIGHTING UP IN HIS THOUGHT BALLON kind of idea. This would be an appropriate time for everyone living in the New York metropolitan area to run to your bomb shelters, or if unavailable, just go into your yard and cover yourself with big mounds of dirt. Cause God knows, with this light bulb level of stupid idea, at first I assumed Spidey decided the best way to defeat Ice-Man is to nuke the surrounding area. "Let's see you form ice balls now after I've vaporized all the water in the surrounding three miles via nuclear fusion!"
No, his great idea has less radioactivity, but even worse psuedo-science backing it up. Spidey sees a salt shaker in the concession stand, next to the ketchup and some mysterious condiment that looks exactly like cranberry sauce. He thinks, "You throw salt on a sidewalk to melt the ice. So why not throw salt to melt an Ice-Man?" Maybe cause its a stupid idea, I don't know. I could go on about how that raises the freezing temperature of substances it's suspended in, but Ice-Man can lower the temperature further anyway, or how... well, you knew it was stupid as soon as you read it, this is Spidey Super Stories after all, so I don't really need to go any further, do I?
What's really strange is that when Spidey goes to throw the salt shaker at Ice-Man, it releases more salt than could possibly be contained in 50 salt shakers in a giant cloud six feet high. What is this, a freakin' pan-dimensional hydraulic-powered salt shaker? I have to shake my salt shaker ten times to get enough salt out to cover one lousy potato. And Spidey just sorta flings it at Ice-Man, and in mid-air it releases a cloud of salt large enough to envelop a human body? Man, think about the use for these things. Whoa, whoa, don't think that hard about it. I don't think that's legal in any state...
So the ice coating on Ice-Man instantly melts off and Booby Drake's suddenly standing there cold and drenched and shivering on a snowy mountain. Good job, Spidey, you've just given Ice-Man hypothermia.
*sigh* Remember where Spidey fought Medusa, and just when the fight was on the verge of being clothes-ripping nasty, some dumb kid got stuck on the Statue of Liberty? This never being a comic to mess with a proven story idea, suddenly some kid runs over to say, "Help! People are trapped in the cable car!" And we're supposed to believe that somehow the only way to save everybody is to have these two super-heroes who were recently enemies to team up, put aside their differences, and become weight-lifting buddies.
No, actually, they have to use their super-powers together. I'll let you be the
judge of just how useful Ice-Man is in saving the cable car.
Ice-Man: We must somehow get up the mountain before the cable breaks!
*for the record, this 'mountain' looks about as steep as a leaf pile*
Spider-Man: *shoots webs at a snow bank, trying to pull himself up the mountain with his webs* Darn! My webs won't stick to the snow!
Like duh, Spidey.
Ice-Man: To climb that mountain, we're going to need skis
Or your feet! That's not too crazy a suggestion, is it? I mean, you were just fighting on a much steeper mountain, and didn't need skis there... Hello?
*Ice-Man creates perfectly formed Ice Skis and Ice Poles for himself and Spidey
out of thin air. Even scarier, he already knows Spidey's shoe size!*
Ice-Man now helpfully takes the time to give Spidey a lesson on using skis. Good thing no one is hanging perilously a hundred feet in the air awaiting a bone-crunching death!
Ice-Man: *helps Spidey adjust the Ice Foot Straps* Here's how you put on your skis Spidey!
Ice-Man: Then you use the poles to push yourself! *demonstrates for Spidey*
Ice-Man: Then you can walk up the mountain like this! Oh, and keep your skis pointed out!
Meanwhile, the passengers are watching this, suspended high in the air above the mini-mountain. I know I'd be pissed if these two were running a frickin' ski class while my last moments on Earth were spent wearing snow pants.
So as they are slowly walking up the mountain, then Spidey has an idea to rival
his Super Salt Shaker Thought, though this one doesn't get a scary little idea
Spider-Man: Ice-Man, can you make an Ice Slide?
*Ice-Man makes an 'Ice Slide' up the gently sloping hill*
Spider-Man: When I get on this slide, give me a good hard push.
Ok, it's not such a bad idea so far. Sure it wastes more time while people's lives are hanging by a half-centimeter of steel wire, and you could just walk the last two hundred feet. But once Ice-Man pushes him, he does quickly go right under the weak part of the cable and shoots a few webs at it as he goes zooming by. So far so good. Then Spider-Man on his Ice Skis crashes into a giant snow bank at the end of the Ice Slide. A little bit stupid, but not so bad. Spidey sees he needs to put more webs to reinforce the weak spot, or it's still going to quickly snap. So what does he do? He walks right underneath the weak spot, and then keeps walking another couple hundred feet down the hill until he gets to Ice-Man again. Then he demands Ice-Man make him another Ice Slide. So Ice-Man makes another one, pushes Spidey, and Spidey shoots webs at the weak spot as he zooms underneath and then crashes in a snow bank. And then he again walks RIGHT UNDER the weak spot on his way back to Ice-Man, but oh no, doesn't just STAND THERE and shoot enough webs so the cable won't snap and these people don't die. No, he wants another Ice Slide, and another push. Look guys, this is not Snow Fun Play Time here. Stop with the damn Ice Slides and just rescue the damn people already. I swear, by this point we could've called the French Foreign Legion, had them shipped over in freight, and had them do the rescue. No, Spidey goes back a fourth time, and finally there's enough webbing that the "cable is fixed."
The cable car safely continues on its way, and as it passes by I'm sure the passengers hurl curse words and spit on Spidey and Ice-Man. I know I would. Then Spidey and Ice-Man shake hands and Spidey says, "I hope we meet again." Yes, well I'll be counting the days.
Then back at the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson holds up a rival newspaper that already has the headline, "Spidey and Ice-Man", since you know newspapers always report news the very same day it happens. JJJ says to Peter, "The most daring 'save' in history, and you missed it?" Uh, I wouldn't call it the most daring save in history, really. How about when the Athenians came to Sparta's aid in the Battle of Thermopylae? Or how about when Luke and Han rescued Princess Leia from the Death Star? Here, we've got two super-heroes throwing snowballs at each other, building slides, learning how to ski and otherwise frolicking in the snow for an hour while people are precariously balanced over the great abyss of death.
Oh, and in the background, we see Mary Jane is still lounging around JJJ's office, after several hours. I really want to know what's up with that...
This story has some major artistic problems. Not that many stories don't but I tried to follow it and I can't make any sense of it. Sometimes the cable car is uphill from Ice-Man, and then sometimes it's downhill, and then sometimes it looks like it's hanging over a snowy plain. Well, I don't really expect much from penciler Winslow Mortimer anyway. Speaking of which, I just found out he has drawn other comics, he used to do 50s and 60s romance titles for DC. Which is a little strange considering how unattractive all the women in this comic are drawn.
Ice-Man defeated by a salt shaker. Ooh. What embarrassing things are next for the X-Men? Wolverine fearing kitty litter? Storm's archenemy is that Willard Scott guy from the Weather Channel? Cyclops gets roaring drunk and gets jabbed in the eye by a Greek sailor? Only time and future issues of Spidey Super Stories can tell for sure!
For the record, I would just like to point out what a shame it is that Dr. Fright (Issue 5, Story 2) is still frozen. He could have taken Ice-Man down for the count, no prob.
2.5 webs. The Moral of this Story: It's good to save people's lives, but there's no rush if you're having fun doing something else.