Spider-Girl #36

Background

A gang war is raging between Canis and the Kingpin, and Spider-Girl can't seem to keep out of the way. Plus, what is wrong with Mary Jane? All this, an old friend's surprise reappearance, and the revelation of the stalker's identity in the latest exciting issue of Spider-Girl!

Story 'Getting Involved'

It's no wonder May has had a hard time getting to sleep. There's a stranger out there who's taken over her father's identity, a few dozen armed criminals trying to murder her, and too many old foes coming back to haunt her. Her mother walks in and flips the light on far too early, and May can barely haul herself out of bed. But sleep is the last thing on her mind when Mary Jane nearly collapses mid-lecture. MJ quickly regains her composure, brushing May off with a warning not to mention the incident to her father. As it turns out, Peter is too worried about the ongoing gang war to do more than forbid May to get involved, which she readily agrees to.

Her problems continue to multiply as soon as she hits the streets. The tingle is back and the stalker has returned. Determined not to lose him again, May turns around and nearly plows into Jimmy Yama, who mutters some lame excuse about running an errand for his mother. May doesn't buy it for a second, and her suspicions only grow as she notes more strange behavior from Jimmy throughout the day.

Meanwhile, Funny Face is making another strike in Kingpin-controlled mob territory, trashing a betting parlor and treating its old manager to "a terrible work-related injury." Canis, his new boss, warns FF that the Kingpin is liable to send Mr. Nobody calling, and suggests drawing him out into the open by calling some of New York's underbosses to a meeting.

Indeed, the Kingpin is meeting with Mr. Nobody at that very moment in Ryker's Island. Nobody offers to teleport into the boss' meeting and "deliver your personal regards," but the massive mob boss tells him he already has a plan in motion.

The scene shifts to MJ's office, where she's valiantly trying not to throw up the small salad that was her lunch. The nausea is momentarily forgotten as the door opens to reveal Felicia Hardy, the former Black Cat. The two briefly exchange pleasantries, then Felicia admits that her kids are not doing fine "and I suspect you have PLENTY to tell me about that lovely daughter of yours."

The aforementioned lovely daughter finds herself swinging around New York trying to blow off steam. She spots Spider-Man, and decides to exploit his lack of a spider sense by tailing him. She follows him to a warehouse by the waterfront, and despite May's hesitance about getting involved in the gang war, she slips in through a skylight. As Funny Face tries to convince some of the Kingpin's men to throw in with Canis twenty feet below, Spider-Girl spots Spider-Man and sneaks over to find out what's going on. Upset that Spider-Girl would horn in on "his" action, Spider-Man gets careless, puts his foot through a rotten rafter, and plummets right into the meeting.

Having no choice but to join in, May dives into her second fight with Funny Face and the mob in as many issues. This time, her fatigue and the sheer numbers work against the Spider duo, and the tide of battle turns against them. But before the mob can organize themselves to hit them all at once, somebody tosses smoke grenades into the mass of mob bosses. At the same time, the police break down the front door. Funny Face uses the confusion to slip out the back door, and manages to make it to the water and escape before the Spiders can catch him. And watching all of this from the shadows is none other than Mr. Nobody and the Kingpin's NEWEST employee: Crazy Eight.

Later that evening, Normie Osborn is walking down a city street. The stalker is in hot pursuit, but is sloppy. Osborn spots him, then nails him, ripping off a baseball cap to reveal... Phil Urich? He admits trailing Normie and May over the past week in an attempt to learn where he's stashed his goblin equipment. Normie smiles. Evilly.

"You want to know my REAL agenda, Urich? Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you, because the time has finally come for THE RETURN OF THE GREEN GOBLIN!"

General Comments

The word "canis" is a Latin root meaning "dog." Keeping that in mind, turn to page six and take a close look at the two bottom panels. Mark my words, there is a lot more to this guy Canis than he lets on.

Spider-Girl shifts into a higher gear this month, and this reviewer couldn't be happier. Canis and Funny Face have sparked a gang war and OF COURSE Spider-Girl's going to be caught in the middle. That's what happens when you don the long underwear. Frankly I don't know why Peter even bothered forbidding her. Wishful thinking, I guess, but he and May both could have worse things to worry about. Is Mary Jane sick? Is she pregnant? Either one could have potentially dire consequences; remember that Pete and MJ dodged a pretty big genetic bullet the first time they got pregnant. Another kid might not be so lucky.

Tom DeFalco, thank you for bringing back Crazy Eight. The brother/brother tension b/w him and Funny Face adds a bit of spice to a storyline that, to be honest, we've seen before. How many gang wars has the Marvel universe seen? Still, it's May's first and it's promising to be a doozy. Besides, Spider-Girl needed something like this. We've seen quite a few issues where May has felt extraneous and unnecessary. Finally she has something worthy of her attention. Maybe that's why I'm liking this storyline so much.

Regarding Felicia Hardy: toldja so. (Like she would show up out of the blue if she WASN'T the new Spidey's mom? Huh-uh.) But forget MJ not looking a day older, the Black Cat didn't look that good when she was in her twenties. I appreciate the eye candy, but Ms. Hardy's got to be pushing forty by now. Either she really has nine lives or she spent her life savings on plastic surgeons.

And then there's Normie and the stalker, who turns out to be none other than May's "Uncle" Phil. Okay, that sounds exactly like something Phil Urich would do. No problem there. I'm just wondering what Normie has up his sleeve besides all those tattoos. Is he going back to his wicked ways? (If so, Tom DeFalco owes us an apology for that "final confrontation" bit he hyped issue #27 with. That was less than a YEAR ago!) Or is he following in Urich's footsteps and trying to play hero? Judging by the next issue box, the answer won't be long in coming, but it's ironic that over the space of three issues, Normie could go from nearly kissing May to nearly killing her. Talk about a May-December romance!

Overall, a good story with good art (aside from the Black Cat's endless youth) and nifty coloring. I've been remiss over the past few issues by not mentioning the use of Heroic Age to supplement more conventional coloring methods. The computer-generated stuff adds a lot of depth and makes the book that much more pleasant to read. Good stuff.

Overall Rating

A great issue that left me wanting more. Will Normie return to the dark side? Is MJ okay? It earns a solid four webs.