Between 1977 and '84, Parkes Run produced eight giant-sized coloring books featuring Spider-Man. Nearly all of them were a massive 17" x 22" format. But this little gem here is the odd-one-out.
It's the baby of the family being one-third of the size at 17" wide but only 7" tall. That super-wide, short-height format makes it unique among my entire collection. I love this book.
The book contains 16 pages of clean white paper with black and white illustrations for you to color!
But please, if you have a clean and bright copy of this book – do not give into temptation! Do not apply coloring to any page. Instead please Mail Me and offer to sell me your book for money to replace my scruffy copy which has been vandalized by felt-tip marker pen.
The book is split into two stories each of 8 pages. The first one stars Spider-Man.
Peter is heading past the NY subway entrance when he gets a bad feeling about a character heading down the stairs. As in, "Spider-Sense" bad feeling. He wasn't planning to catch a train, but he follows down afterwards to investigate, and just manages to get on board before the train departs.
Unfortunately, Peter isn't in the same carriage as his suspect. So he fails to stop Electro from revealing himself, and executing stage one of his plan! i.e. to suck all the electricity out of the tracks while the train is between-stations. The train comes to a screeching halt, and all the lights to go out.
Apparently, stage two is mass robbery of the stranded commuters.
Honestly, I'm not sure this is a great train robbery. It really strikes me as a pretty mediocre train robbery. If people are rich, they tend to take a cab, surely? I mean, have you seen the kind of folk who take the subway? Not too many Rockefellers among them, if you know what I mean. This is low-reward crime – it doesn't scale effectively.
Furthermore, I don't see how Electro is going to rob people properly if he can't see their valuables in the dark. Is he expecting to use the "honesty" system?
But even mediocre crime is crime, and Spidey has to foil it. So Peter changes into his work-outfit under cover of the darkness and confronts the villain. Is it still dark? I don't know. Everybody seems to be finding everything fine, so maybe the lights came back on?
When Spider-Man confronts Electro, the villain decides to scarper:
I've already got enough loot in this bag to call it quits!
Really, Electro? Two minutes of panhandling on the subway and you've reached your loot limit? I'm disappointed in you. I thought you were A-Lister material. This is shoddy work, Max. Shoddy!
Electro makes a run for it, flying above the rails. But Spidey shoots a web-line onto a convenient metal drain pipe and pulls it into Electro's path. They contact. Short-circuit. Game over.
I'm really not sure about the metal pipe. It didn't even contact Electro's bare skin. It just touched his costume and zap... KO!
So how does that work? Subway trains are made of metal too! Electro walked up and down the subway car, and he handled the train's controls. Maybe Electro's shoes and gloves are insulated against contact but the shoulder of his costume isn't?
It all just feels vaguely unsatisfactory.
The best rating I can offer is Five Webs.
What? Don't look at me like that. I LOVE this collectible, I told you that already!