Amazing Spider-Girl #4

Background

With May's reluctant return to the webs threatening to blow her entire life apart, the last thing she needs is a grandstanding bounty hunter/reality show host to deal with. Of course, this being a Spider-Girl comic, the last thing she needs is usually the very thing she gets.

Story 'Caught in Mad Dog's Crosshairs!'

A mysterious figure is tearing into a militant survivalist group known as the Zebra Patrol. He attacks with the Shocker's vibro-gauntlet, the Kangaroo's boots, Cardiac's staff, Prowler's claw, and Cyclone's wind machine. (Rather eclectic fellow, no?) He is "MAD DOG, the world's greatest bounty hunter and a true American hero." Peter Parker, called to the crime scene along with several officers from his precinct, would beg to differ. As would Detective Drasco--secretly a double agent for the Hobgoblin--after hearing Mad Dog brag to the world about how Roderick Kingsley is his next target.

May, meanwhile, is still keeping her return to the webs secret from her mother. Her grades are slipping, her boyfriend is upset that she isn't spending enough time with him, and her preparation for the upcoming student council debate takes up what little spare time she does have. May offers to meet Gene for coffee later on that night, but that doesn't stop him from spending a little time with May's rival for the student council, Simone DeSantos.

May would also not be pleased to know that Mona Carlo has made contact with the Black Tarantula, and has offered to sell her formerly mysterious object to him for the right price. That object is finally revealed as... a DVD. A DVD containing all of the former Kingpin's contacts and the government officials on his payroll, but still just a DVD.

While this is going on, the Hobgoblin--slightly less than amused by Mad Dog's bravado--uses his brother Daniel to spring a trap. Pretending to offer Mad Dog information on Hobby's whereabouts for money, Daniel actually gives him a location where Hobgoblin's hit squad can ambush him. May, on her way to the coffee shop, wonders why any of this is her business. Ultimately, she decides that the Hobgoblin is her responsibility. She dons the webs, gets information out of Daniel, and arrives on the scene in time to save Mad Dog from being gunned down.

Spider-Girl and Mad Dog begin to take out the gunmen, and Spider-Girl is horrified to learn that her actions are being filmed. ("My parents will go ballistic if they see me on the tube.") She asks Mad Dog to delete her from the footage, but he refuses: "A guest like you will boost ratings and keep the show on the air." Spider-Girl and Mad Dog continue to fight while Detective Drasco watches from afar. Despite working for the Hobgoblin, Drasco owes Spider-Girl for saving his life and repays the debt by taking out a gunman who had her in his sights.

The hero and the hired gun wrap up the bad guys, Spider-Girl swings away, and Drasco calls Hobgoblin to give him the bad news. "Watch your tone, Drasco! You almost sound pleased. Have you forgotten where your true loyalties lie?" "Absolutely not, sir," Drasco replies as he watches Spider-Girl swing away. "They couldn't be clearer."

General Comments

Remember the glowing suitcase in "Pulp Fiction?" Remember the suitcase in "Ronin" or even the "Rabbit's Foot" in Mission Impossible III? The trade name for an object like this is "MacGuffin," and it is a plot device that motivates the characters and advances the story, while having little other relevance to that story (hat tip to Wikipedia). Amazing Spider-Girl had it's own MacGuffin for the first three issues: the glowing item in Mona Carlo's purse, and like the contents of Marcellus Wallace's briefcase, it was more effective when we didn't know what was inside.

Seriously, a lousy DVD? BORING! I'll grant you that it makes sense in the context of the story: Hobgoblin is looking to make his play as a big time bad guy, he needs the information on that disc to do so, BT wants to keep that information in his possession. Fine, I get it. But pulling back the curtain and finding out that ASG's MacGuffin was something as commonplace as a DVD is more than a little disappointing.

The story itself was good, though not exactly an instant classic. DeFalco and company are clearly having fun with Mad Dog, who seems to be a mix between Dog the Bounty Hunter and any random character on MTV's "The Real World." Having him use equipment inspired by other heroes and villains was a nice touch. (Whatever happened to the likes of Prowler and Cardiac, anyway? Bringing them into the book might not be such a bad idea.) May's angst about not telling her parents is being drawn out a little too long, however. Bite the bullet and get it over with, May, you've got webs to spin.

A step ahead of last issue, as it benefits from the lack of any quickie supervillain to beat up and forget about, but it could be better.

Overall Rating

The story as a whole deserves three webs, but I'm deducting one half for the DVD thing. Two and one-half webs.