May Parker had been through many adventures as Spider-Girl before hanging up her webs at the request of her mother. Now a junior at Midtown High, May is getting used to life as a normal teenager again. But events in her life are beginning to take an ominous turn with the return of an old enemy, and May could very well learn the lesson her father dealt with many times over the course of his career: hanging up the webs isn't as easy as it seems.
A blond, buxom Spider-Girl crashes through a skylight and blows her enemies away. Her father, watching from a distance, proclaims her ready to reclaim her birthright and return to her ancestral home of Spidera. Needless to say, May Parker is less than impressed with Jimmy Yama's "Spider-Girl" comic book. Other than that, life is good for the Parkers' firstborn: she has fit back into the normal social life of Midtown High, she is running for student counsel, and she is even dating Flash Thompson's son Gene (much to her father's dismay.) Even a vandalized campaign poster calling her a quitter--referencing her much ballyhooed departure from the basketball team--hardly shakes her up.
Yet life is not all freewheeling fun for the former first lady of the MC2 universe, as she also volunteers her time at the St. Andrews Women's Shelter (and if you're wondering how May got involved here, go pick up a copy of Spider-Girl #0 and get caught up. We'll wait.) As May and Courtney Duran reach the shelter they find Caitlin Leiber fending off a young man who insists on seeing his girlfriend Mona. He storms off, yelling how he'll be back. As Caitlin and the two girls enter the shelter, Mona arrives and tells Caitlin that she should leave. Caitlin reassures the girl, but May's spider sense triggers. "There may be more to that woman than meets the eye," she thinks.
Later that evening, May joins Davida for a quick game of one-on-one before heading off to meet Gene and the gang at Cafe Indigo. Deciding to swing by St. Andrews first, May stumbles across Charlie--the loudmouth from the shelter--being harrassed by two goons. "You were supposed to deliver the item a few days ago. Where is it?" "My girlfriend's holding it for me," Charlie whimpers. May pulls out a phone to call the police, but one of the goons points a gun at Charlie's head and May realizes she does not have time. Donning a red hoodie, May takes out the two goons and gives Charlie a chance to escape. Rather than leave, however, she trails the two as they walk back to... an ice cream parlor? She leaves, convinced that anything going on can wait until tomorrow, not knowing that the goons' boss is none other than... the Hobgoblin!
Heading to St. Andrews in her makeshift costume, May spots Charlie standing outside with a Molotov cocktail, ready to burn the shelter down if needs be. May has no web shooters, and can only jump from the roof and kick the bottle out of Charlie's hand. The bottle, unfortunately, flies into the street and explodes over a passing car. May pulls the passengers out of the car a split second before the gas tank explodes. Caitlin has been watching from a nearby window, noticing something familiar about the girl in red. Mona, meanwhile, is tipped off about Charlie's fate but is less than thrilled to get the police involved. "Not while I'm carrying this...!" A faint green glow emanates from her purse.
May, however, is oblivious to all of this and heads off to Indigo to meet up with the gang. Gene walks her home and the two kiss on the front porch. MJ, predictably, is thrilled that May has adjusted to normal life so well. May is not so sure.
She would be even less thrilled to know what is transpiring at St. Andrews that very moment. Hobgoblin has taken matters into his own hands and is attempting to beat Mona's location out of Caitlin. Caitlin doesn't know where Mona has gone, and Hobby believes her, but then insists on getting a list of her teenage volunteers. "Based on recent events, I think one of them may be the daughter of an old friend."
And with that, Spider-Girl has been officially relaunched. Of course, nothing has changed except the title and a renumbering, and one could argue (as I have) that this would have been a good opportunity to bring in a new creative team, but one advantage to keeping the same writer and artists is their familiarity with the character. Reading this book was like running across an old friend you haven't seen in awhile, which should help bring back May Parker's devoted following. I remain skeptical that starting over from issue #1 will do much to bring in new readers, but hope to be pleasantly surprised.
Anyway, moving on to the story itself, DeFalco and company do a good job of showing what several months without web-swinging have done for May Parker. She has grown her hair longer, is more involved with school and has even dumped her previous cadre of loser boyfriends for... well, hopefully not another one. Volunteering at St. Andrews was a nice touch and perfectly in character. I'm not sure if using that service as a plot point to get her back into the webs is such a good idea, however. While handled well, I wonder if bringing the Hobgoblin and Mona's mysterious Pulp Fiction-esque glowing object into a battered women's shelter doesn't diminish the impact of having a battered women's shelter in a comic book. Re-read Spider-Girl #89, which features the all-too real spectacle of a battered teenage girlfriend and how her friends react to her. Now re-read ASG #1 and watch a supervillain beat up a counselor to get his whatever-it-is back. What was once a powerful statement is now just another one of Hobgoblin's diabolical plots, which is unfortunate.
Otherwise, this was a good first issue that does a nice job of referencing old continuity (Courtney and Moose, Felicity Hardy, etc.) and transitioning to the new stuff. Hopefully May's enjoyed her time off, because it won't be lasting much longer. Oh, and Hobgoblin really needs to ditch both the suit and ESPECIALLY the green overcoat. Not that his typical outfit is much better, but his new style just doesn't mesh with the orange cowl and fright mask. Just sayin'!
Three and one-half webs. Welcome back, Spider-Girl!