Amazing Spider-Girl #3

Background

May Parker is Spider-Girl again, though don't tell her father, and she is trying once again to balance her normal life with her time in the webs. But with another dangerous person hunting down Caitlin Leiber of the St. Andrews Battered Women's Shelter, running for student council just isn't May's greatest responsibility anymore.

Story Details

An old man runs for his life, pleading for mercy. He stumbles to a stop in a dark alley, as ice slowly covers his body. A cold, desolate specter of a woman says goodbye to "Daddy" and freezes him to death.

Well, sucks to be him. Meanwhile, back in the Parker household, May is caught up short when her father asks her for the "big news." It turns out that he is only talking about her campaign for student council, but May's heart beats faster nonetheless. As does Mary Jane's, since she gave May her costume back last issue. But after Peter leaves to investigate the old-guysicle in the alley, MJ pulls the Spider-Girl costume out of May's backpack. Seems she didn't want May to make a career out of superheroing again after all.

At Midtown High May runs into Davida and Gene Thompson, both of whom are hoping to spend time with her today (Davida for campaign purposes and Gene, well, you'll figure it out.) May infuriates both when she tells them she is not free for lunch. Had she told them she wanted to head over to St. Andrews to check on Caitlin, they might not have been quite so torqued. Then again, they are teenagers.

At that very moment, in a police precinct downtown, Detective "I'm not working for the Hobgoblin, honest!" Drasco is questioning Charlie Kurkle, Mona Carlo's loser ex-boyfriend, about the mysterious item she stole. Charlie pleads ignorance (hardly a stretch) but Drasco is not worried. As he explains to the Hobgoblin on the phone moments later, he already has another lead. Little does he know that Mona has made a call of her own, and that her mysterious trinket (that used to belong to none other than Wilson Fisk himself) is about to be sold to the highest bidder. Maybe Drasco's crusing eBay?

Anyway, May heads over to St. Andrews and finds a sheet of ice blocking the door. Realizing that this COULD mean foul play, she runs into the shelter to find Caitlin menaced by the ice queen from page two. Her name was Betty Forest, now it's BITTER FROST, and yes, all the good names have been taken. Regardless, May tries to stop her, nearly freezes her hand off, and gets blasted across the room. BF escapes, having mistaken May for a battered woman and realizing she can't "harm a fellow victim." May helps Caitlin pull herself together and gets the 411 on BF. It seems that the former Ms. Forest's father (now ice sculpture) used to get drunk and beat her repeatedly, as did the loser boyfriend Caitlin unsuccessfully tried to keep her away from. Eventually BF ran off with the loser and Caitlin washed her hands of both of them. Now she feels responsible. Something May can relate to.

May returns to Midtown High and gets a tongue lashing from Davida for blowing off her campaign meeting. Torn between two duties, May realizes that the responsible thing to do is sneak into her own house and steal her costume back. That done, she swings off in search of Caitlin, who is looking for BF in the tenement she used to call home. Following Caitlin is Detective Drasco, who figures she will lead him to Mona (Detective of the Year this isn't, folks.) Up in her former apartment, BF has arrived and is preparing to turn her loser ex into a creepsicle. She tells him that he is responsible for her condition, that he beat her up so badly the last time she ran and hid in a deserted factory where she was exposed to leaky chemicals. Now, rather understandably, she is holding a grudge.

Caitlin shows up, hoping to talk some sense into her. Detective Drasco shows up, wanting to arrest her for freezing her father to death. BF kicks in with another arctic wind and slams them all into the far well until Spider-Girl shows up and belts her one. While Caitlin pleads with Spider-Girl not to harm her, Spidey has her own problems to deal with, as her webs freeze solid before they can touch her. BF shoots a volley of ice shards in her direction, which Spider-Girl narrowly avoids. Drasco tries to knock BF out with a two by four, which freezes solid and breaks in two. The broken piece ignites a nearby propane heater, which explodes over BF and reverts her back to normal. The fire rapidly consumes the old building and May swings Caitlin, Drasco, and Betty Forest out before the fire kills them. (Loser boy bugged out the first chance he had.)

Meanwhile, across town, Mona Carlo is meeting with the man who is interested in buying her pilfered item. It is none other than cheerful Chesbro, right hand flunky to the BLACK TARANTULA!

General Comments

Meh.

This one was less than impressive. For one, it was a standard Spider-Girl plot: May hiding from her parents, May gets butt kicked, May ponders the nature of responsibility while her social life circles the drain, May kicks butt, fade out. There really wasn't anything new about this one as far as the self-contained plot is concerned. And all we learn about Mona's mysterious object is that she's thinking about selling to the Black Tarantula. Okay, fine, but the other 21 pages were all too much filler.

The villain herself was particularly weak, mostly because of her cornball dialogue: "A harsh wind is blowing and the streets have grown cold." "No earthly weapon can harm the dead!" Was Tom DeFalco channeling his inner Stan Lee this issue or what? Her origin story was a bit on the laughable side, too. She holes up in an abandoned factory that just happened to have some sort of leaking chemical strong enough to turn her into icicle lady (yet weak enough that one exploding propane heater was enough to reverse its effects?) This is straining credulity here and then some. Putting her on the splash page was a mistake, too, as it would have been more effective to show the old guy dying, cut to the Parker household, and then see her for the first time when May shows up at St. Andrews. It would have helped, at least.

After two relatively strong issues, ASG #3 turned out to be a pretty big dud. Here's hoping it's the exception, not the rule.

Overall Rating

I would have like to have given this comic two webs, at least, but can't find any reason to justify a ranking that high. Sorry, one and one-half webs.