Spider-Man Vs. The Hulk! at the Winter Olympics
Script: Bill Mantlo
Story: Bill Mantlo, Mark Gruenwald, Steven Grant
Pencils: Herb Trimpe
Inks: Bruce Patterson
Letters: Jim Novak
Colors: George Roussos
Covers: Bill Sienkiewicz, Bruce Patterson
Art Department Coordinator: Dan Crespi
Coloring Coordinator: Andy Yanchus
Originally published: 1980
God-awful. One (hyphenated) word: web-skis.
This is an insane story, overly complex with no reason or payoff, insanely long and boring. The only cool thing was seeing hulk in battle armor, but he ditched that pretty quickly.
If you don’t care about the really boring plot, skip to the last paragraph.
The holidays are over and it’s time for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. We open at the Olympic Village, one night before the events are to start, where skater Maria Karsov is being kidnapped by some creepy-looking weirdos. They are Digger, Boulder, Landslide and Water-Witch: the Outcasts. Spider-Man fights them, but it turns out they were maybe actually trying to protect the athlete — while all this is going on, a weird giant diamond rises up through the ground, envelops Karsov, and sucks her back into the Earth. The Outcasts get away.
Later, we find out that Karsov is the third athlete to go missing like this. There’s a bunch of talking and exposition that bores everybody.
The next morning the Hulk is jumping around like a lunatic when he gets captured by one of the weird diamond things. He breaks out, and then some “lava men” attack him with a “lava catapult” and some “carbonizers” and “flame-guns”. Hulk takes care of them and enters their cave and eventually meets Queen Kala, Monarch of all Subterranea. She wants the Hulk to help defeat her enemies and to be her king (or so she says).
The next day, a skier named Brad Rossi is competing. He went to Midtown High with Peter Parker. There’s a full freaking page describing his ski-jumping, in detail. Gimme a break. As Rossi is performing a second jump, he gets eaten by one of the big diamonds and sucked into the Earth. The crowd is upset, the readers not so much.
As Spidey attempts to help Brad, the Outcasts show up again and they all fight for no reason at all. It’s dumb and annoying. The Outcasts overpower Spider-Man and knock him out. When he awakes he finds himself underground, in the presence of the Mole Man. There’s a lot more boring exposition and it turns out he’s the enemy Kala wants vanquished and Mole Man, it seems, would like her defeated as well. See, Mole Man has a fountain of youth that Kala wants. Mole Man won’t let her in because she spurned him. Kala’s ridiculous plan is to have the kidnapped Olympic athletes fight the Outcasts. Mole Man doesn’t know that Kala also has the Hulk, and Kala doesn’t know that Mole Man also has Spider-Man. Ugh.
Lots of fighting. Hulk fights because he’s drugged and under mind control, Spider-Man fights because Mole Man threatens to destroy the Olympic Village, the athletes fight because Kala is holding Brad’s girlfriend hostage. The athletes get some ridiculous equipment: Brad gets “rocket skis and power poles”, Maria gets “super-skates”, Claude Lebron gets a “bomb-sled” and Bobby Lyle gets a “super-stick that fires power pucks”. You know what you could give them instead, Kala? Guns. Or anything not dumb. But, these are apparently the “most advanced weapons known to subterranean science”.
I can’t believe how much I hate this comic. I can’t describe any more. In the end it all works out. Fine, done.