Spider-Girl #25

Background

Two of the young webspinner's friends have been kidnapped by a cadre of her most fearsome villains, forcing her to defeat them one by one in order to save the lives of the people she cares about. Does this seem familiar to anyone?

Story 'The Savage Six! (or is it seven?)'

  Spider-Girl #25
Summary: The Savage Six, May Loses Powers
Editor: Mike Marts
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Pat Olliffe
Inker: Al Williamson

A beautiful young woman is being herded into a prison van when she is freed by two mysterious villains. Stunned, the woman questions why they would help her escape, and one of the villains tells her that "we all have the same enemy--a lovely little miss called SPIDER-GIRL!"

The web-slinger in question is also facing a change in her life, although not to the degree of the as yet unknown woman on page two. She has a new hairdo that gets reviews from Davida and Brad, although Brad's current main squeeze is less than enthusiastic. JJ also approves, but makes a mistake in assuming that May changed her hair for his benefit.

Meanwhile, the three unknowns have arrived at the staging ground of one (drum roll please) FUNNY FACE, who is assembling a team of supervillains for the purpose of taking out one Spider-Girl. The roster: DRAGON KING (first seen in Spider-Girl #4), KILLERWATT (#9), MR. ABNORMAL (#15), SABRECLAW (uh, someone want to help me out here?), the aforementioned FACE (#22) and the new escapee, none other than RAPTOR (#18). Some of the team members have other concerns than Spider-Girl, but FF tries to convince them that her destruction should be their main goal. But the Clown Prince is upstaged by the arrival of one CRAZY EIGHT (#2) who announces that he had to check in on his little brother, much to FF's dismay. FF recovers quickly enough, however, and starts spelling out the details of his plan (with Crazy Eight in the role of peanut gallery).

Later that afternoon, JJ (you DID know that his full name is Jack Jameson, didn't you?) is abducted from Midtown High along with Courtney Duran, whom he was asking for some pointers with May. Their bait prepared, the Savage Six dispatches Raptor to the Daily Bugle to deliver a simple message to J. Jonah Jameson: "meet me at the site of our last battle if she wants to save the hostages!" Jonah flies into appoplexy, not trusting Spider-Girl to handle things and calling for his staff to get the Avengers or Fantastic Five. But it turns out that one May Parker was in his office at the time, showing her the embarrassingly bad pictures from last month's issue. May suits up, gets to the scene of her and Raptor's last battle, and finds out that she needs to defeat her (and claim the card she wears with the location of her next encounter) to move closer to freeing JJ and Courtney.

Defeat her May does, along with the rest of her cronies, but this book is so much fun that I'm not going to ruin it for you with a lot of details. Suffice it to say that the action is great, the payoff brought a smile to my face, and the final page concludes with a devastating twist: thanks to a jolt she's taken from Killerwatt during their battle, her spider powers are gone!

General Comments

A fun anniversary issue that pays homage to an all-time classic Spider-Man story, this one is a superb effort.

I'm guessing that a fair number of people might not have Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 in their collection (although why they haven't bought the first Essential Spider-Man is beyond me), but it was a fun story in which the original Sinister Six, led by Doctor Octopus, kidnaps Aunt May and Betty Brant, challenging Spidey to fight them in a series of one-on-one battles. The twist in the original is that, for reasons which are never truly explained, Spidey loses his powers BEFORE the battles start, so he heads off to face the Sinister Six as a normal teenager. His powers kick back in just in time and he takes care of them quite effectively, but it was a cool "moment of truth" for young Peter Parker. In this issue of Spider-Girl, May doesn't lose her powers until the book is for all intents and purposes over, so we don't have quite the drama. The question must be asked, though: if Spider-Girl had lost her powers, would she have been able to face the Savage Six without them, e! ven to rescue her friends?

Other than that change, however, the book is structured along the same lines of ASM Annual #1, right down to cameos from the MC2 Universe and each villain's full-page action pin-up. I guess Marvel supervillains just want the glory too much to actually work together, even in MC2. The interaction between Crazy Eight and Funny Face was great; the decision to make them brothers was a wise move and, in retrospect, the obvious one. Here's hoping they make a return appearance soon... together.

I did have one problem with this issue, though: when exactly did May fight Sabreclaw? I have every issue of Spider-Girl and he has never graced its pages. I suppose she might've made an appearance in another book and tussled with him, but a footnote would've been appreciated. If this IS their first encounter, then shame on you, Tom DeFalco, for not bringing in a villain that May's tangled with before. Mr. Nobody's kicking around somewhere, if nothing else.

The appearance of Sabreclaw, though, was my only gripe and even that was assuaged by the manner in which May disposes of him (or should I say, the way he takes himself out of the fight.) Intrigued? Buy the book and find out what happens!

Overall Rating

A flat-out fun issue and worth the higher price for its heftier size. Five well-deserved webs for you, Mr. DeFalco. Now let's see what you do with this "powerless" storyline.