Spider-Girl #18

Background

A mysterious "sky bandit" has been terrorizing New York City. A mysterious figure who calls himself "Buzz" has been sighted. It'll take the only daughter of the retired Spider-Man to sort out who's who.

Story 'Raptor's Regret'

  Spider-Girl #18
Summary: Raptor, Buzz
Editor: Mike Marts
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inker: Sal Buscema

Searching for the "sky bandit," Spider-Girl comes across a strange costumed figure surrounded by unconscious men. Itching for a chance to bring him in, May is startled when he flies off with a few quips. "No gratuitous fight. Not even a polite goodbye," May laments, before hurrying home for her ten o'clock curfew.

May's not having much luck in her civilian identity, either. She gets caught napping during English class, and Brad Miller is still miffed about May standing him up last issue. The enigmatic JJ's appearance while May, Davida, and Jimmy Yama are hanging out between classes doesn't help her much, but it's nothing that a brief training session with Uncle Phil Urich couldn't fix. And since the Daily Bugle challenged her to take out the "sky bandit," she might need her skills as tightly honed as possible.

Spider-Girl comes across the "sky bandit" fairly rapidly, but is stunned to discover that "this isn't Mr. Big Eyes!" It is, as it turns out, a young woman in a black winged costume who is soaring out of the bank with an attache case. Spider-Girl snags the woman--who calls her self Raptor--on the foot with a webline and momentarily panics. After seemingly talking to herself, she manages to fly very high over the Hudson River (or is it the East River? I'm a little slow on my New York geography!) before May catches on. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Raptor pummels her until she falls, too stunned to whip up a webbed parachute or anything to break her fall.

Fortunately for May, Buzz manages to snatch her before she can plummet into the Hudson. May apologizes for suspecting him of being the sky bandit, and Buzz tells her she shouldn't have accepted the Bugle's challenge. Right about the time they realize that Raptor has flown the coop (couldn't resist, sorry), the aforementioned winged thief is coming home to roost (that one was even worse!) to a bespectacled blond man who welcomes her with a backhand across the face. Refusing to allow her failure, the man sends Raptor--Brenda Drago, the daughter of one-time Vulture wannabe Blackie Drago--back out to steal some more. Communicating through a helmet microphone, Raptor is caught in the act by Spider-Girl and Buzz. The two make short work of her, leading her right into a webbed barricade. Satisfied that Raptor is taken care of, Spider-Girl swings away, leaving Buzz to go off after Tony. And it seems he's not working solo either...

But while May Parker misses out on that little discovery, she has her own bombshell to deal with the next day at school. It seems JJ's initials stand for Jack Jameson, "grandson of the ever-renowned J. Jonah!"

General Comments

Marvel's really pushing the next generation. We've already met Normie Osborn--the third official Green Goblin--and whatever Darkdevil is, now we have the daughter of Blackie Drago and a character that looks suspiciously like Yellowjacket. Having Brenda be the daughter of Blackie instead of Adrain Toomes was a good move, in my humble opinion. We've run into the original Vulture too many times for the girl to be his child, at least without a rather large suspension of belief. I'm hoping Raptor can develop into a substantial villain. I liked the original Vulture, Vulture 2099 was appropriately creepy, and I'd like to have a good winged villain in the MC2 universe. Buzz was fun, although I didn't really get into the whole "is he hero, villain or both?" deal. I'm sure we'll learn about him eventually and I'm not really in any hurry.

Could Spider-Girl possibly be interested in the grandson of the most notorious Spider-hater of them all? Irony is a wonderful thing! I'm still in Brad's corner, though.

The art was okay. Ron Frenz and Sal Buscema are always welcome to draw a Spider-book as far as I'm concerned. It just didn't quite work for this particular Spider-book. It seemed a bit severe, in contrast to Olliffe and Williamson's style, and May just didn't look good. The art isn't a large stumbling block, but it is noticable at times. But a solid issue all around, regardless.

(A Parker and a Jameson together? Wow.)

Overall Rating

I look forward to this book every month, and it has rarely disappointed. Three and one-half webs.

Footnote

By Aaron Hoffman says...

Will Harrison brings up an interesting point when he notes that "May just didn't good" in the artwork. In an important sense, Will is right that May does not look as cute in this issue as when she is drawn by Pat Olliffe and Al Williamson. However, I think it is important to acknowledge that Ron Frenz's art has always emphasized what characters would realistically look like. When Frenz was doing the art chores on Amazing Spider-Man in the 1980s, Peter was strong but still very skinny. Mary Jane was good looking without being some kind of supermodel who is the very epitome of beauty. The drawings may be a bit severe in this issue, but they are probably closer to what these characters would really look like. In current comics I would welcome more realism and less idealism when female characters are drawn.