Spider-Girl #29

Background

Despite the objections of her parents, her uncle, the Ladyhawks, and even Nova, May Parker continues to prove that she can be a superhero despite the loss of her powers. But when a powerless Spider-Girl faces off against a powerful mystery man, will determination be enough to save innocent lives?

Story 'Strange Allies'

  Spider-Girl #29
Summary: Spider-Girl & Nova vs... Un-Named Villain
Editor: Matt Hicks
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Pat Olliffe
Inker: Al Williamson

"Your name is May 'Mayday' Parker, and you recently lost the amazing spider-like powers you inherited from your dad. As you struggle to find a way to continue being Spider-Girl, you begin to study the martial arts with a little help from the Ladyhawks."

*KWA-THWOMP!*

"Not exactly your brightest idea!"

So sets the stage for the latest issue of Spider-Girl. Training with Phil and the Ladyhawks (there's an 80s band name if I've ever heard one!) is proving to be futile, as she is now no match for even a superior athlete. After calling a halt to practice and letting the twins leave, Phil berates May for trying to be a hero without her powers. May tells him that she can't quit until Raptor is brought to justice, but Phil won't have any of it. "As far as I'm concerned, you've spun your last web!"

The rest of May's life is circling the bowl with equal velocity. At school, Brad Miller is still seeing that "airhead" Heather Noble, and just when she decides to get her own love life back on track, who comes waltzing in with Nancy Lu--Central High's telekinetic basketball star and a hotty to boot--on his arm? Jack Jameson. May returns home only to get in a fight with her mother about plans to continue her career. Storming out of the house, May turns to the one person who might be able to understand, "a friend of the non-spandex variety!" That person is Normie Osborn.

Letting May confide in him, Normie admits that MJ has a point but hopes that May never quits as he owes her his life. To that end, he spirits May away to a meeting hall once owned by his grandfather... which contains a secret cache of goblin gear, complete with a glider far more maneuverable than Phil Urich's stolen model. May, relieved beyond words, gives Normie a big hug and suits up to hunt down the Raptor.

She travels no farther than the Daily Bugle before a strange explosion at that bastion of reporting integrity catches her eye. A mysterious man in a suit and cape shoots out of the building. May tries to catch up but is upstaged by "The Man Called Nova!(tm)" who orders May to back off. May has never been good at following orders, though, and continues her pursuit. Her enthusiasm is tempered, though, when the mystery man slugs an overconfident Nova and knocks him through at least two buildings. ("Backing off suddenly sounds real good to me.")

Nevertheless, May presses her attack but is completely stymied by the stranger, who won't even give his name and only wants to leave. May's glider barely keeps her out of danger, but she can't get close enough to do more than web the man up. Snapping her webs easily, the mystery man rips a one-ton air handler off the roof and throws it over the side. Horrified, May realizes there is absolutely nothing she can do to save the people below. Nova, however, comes back in time to knock the equipment into the East River. The two notice that the stranger slipped away during the confusion, and Nova begins to criticize her again. May loses her temper and gives the conceited avenger his comeuppance, pointing out that he didn't do any better than she did against "uhhhh... whoever that was!" She flies off, declaring that Spider-Girl is here to stay.

Still, that outburst does little to help her mood as she realizes that she allowed the bad guy to escape, couldn't save innocent people by herself, her parents will throw a fit when they learn what she's been doing, and that the couple having an intimate lunch in the Indigo Cafe are none other than JJ and Nancy Lu.

General Comments

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Generic Man!!!

Okay, that's a little unfair. After all, the villain in this piece was written to be mysteriously vague (and he's already more of an appealing character than The Man Called Nova(tm) in my humble opinion.) The costume is completely lame, however.

Getting down to business, the Parker luck seems to be running true to form throughout this entire issue. (Yay!) First off, May should not be surprised that JJ is taking an interest in somebody else. She did not treat him very well, nor did he deserve to be treated very well considering the way he has acted since the two began to date. This relationship was probably doomed from the start. On the other hand, May and Normie continue to bond. Could this be the beginning of something more? I vote "no," just because I like their friendship the way it is and throwing romance into the mix would likely ruin that. Besides, how romantic can you get about someone whose diapers you changed, as May has claimed to do back in the day? Ewwwww!

Setting the soap opera aside for a minute, I really liked the fight scene at the end of the book. First of all, a villain who actually keeps his mouth shut is a bit of a novelty, plus I have no doubt we will learn all we need to know about the man in coming issues. Most of all, I liked May's reaction to the fact that she nearly got people killed. We all know that with great power comes great responsibility, but what about not-so-great-power? Unfortunately, by joining the fight and trying to be a hero, May still ends up with great responsibility, too great for her to handle. Sooner or later someone is going to die because she didn't have the power to stop it. Maybe one of the reasons May is getting so much flack about continuing her career is that, in addition to her own safety, nobody wants to see another "Uncle Ben?"

And I'd like to end this review by giving praise to the art team of Olliffe and Williamson. Out of all the comics I collect, these two are tops in my book. They consistently put out great material and, unlike the creative team on Daredevil, put it out on time! Nice job, fellas.

Overall Rating

Maybe I'm a meanie, but I do tend to enjoy issues where "the Parker luck" takes center stage. Besides, I found the mystery guy intriguing. Four-and-one-half webs.