Past, present, and future are colliding at full steam as the key players in the MC2 conclusion to the Clone Saga--Kaine, Alison Mongrain, the Green Goblin, Peter Parker, and May Parker--draw nearer to their inevitable reunion. But will May's desperate attempts to get a handle on the situation lead to triumph... or tragedy?
Spider-Girl is a woman on a mission. She's going to track down Kaine no matter what the cost. Her only lead, however, is the enigmatic avenger known as Darkdevil. She doesn't know where to reach him, but her Uncle Phil does, and sets up a meeting between the two after school. Despite an invite from Courtney Duran to go clothes shopping, Spider-Girl meets Darkdevil and learns a little more of Kaine's history. Darkdevil tells her, among other things, that Kaine was devastated at the death of Ben Reilly. "You think it's possible that Kaine wants to atone for the past?" she asks. Darkdevil has no answer.
Kaine, meanwhile, is continuing his search for Alison Mongrain, who has returned to the city with murder in her heart. We learn the reason through flashback, as Alison recalls the day that Norman Osborn hid baby May with her fifteen years ago. In time, she grew to love the child, and felt heartsick as the Scriers came to take her away. That was almost the last day of her life, however, as her payment was rigged with a vial of knockout gas and the yacht that served as her hideaway wired with explosives. Before she was killed, however, Kaine arrived and pulled her off of the yacht. Kaine was in Greece investigating a lead on Norman Osborn, and questioned Alison at length. Revolted by what she had done, he knocked her into the water to die and went in search of young May. He recovered her, then brought her back to Peter and Mary Jane.
As Kaine remembers the past, he suddenly realizes the truth of Alison Mongrain's plan. She wants revenge on the man who stole "her" child and double-crossed her. Norman Osborn is dead, but Normie is not. Alison plans to kill him.
At the Fantastic Five building, Peter is spending the day watching Big Brain repair his bionic leg. The Torch questions him once again whether he is doing the right thing, and Peter again defends his actions. Later, the Torch finds Peter off on his own, also reminiscing. He remembers the day he saw May again, and how he had to rush off into action to keep Kaine from completing his vengeance and murdering Norman Osborn. He tracks down Osborn "in the middle of some crazy ceremony... that kind of mumbo-jumbo seemed wildly out of character."
(Best line in the story by far, and I doubt anyone who suffered through "Gathering of Five" and "The Final Chapter" would disagree.)
The battle between the Spider and the Goblin begins to rage as the other members of the Gathering flee for their lives. Norman pummels Spidey, and blocks a web shot with Spider-Man's own foot, gluing themselves together. The Goblin readies a pumpkin bomb, but falters when Peter tells him that Kaine is on the way. In his panic, he accidentally pushes the detonator, incinerating himself and blowing off Peter's leg.
At the end of the day, Spider-Girl lands on an anonymous rooftop and pummels a chimney in frustration. She didn't find Kaine, she didn't help her father, and she blew off one of her best friends in the process. "Would it really have killed you to spend a few hours with Courtney this afternoon?" Maybe not, but at that moment, Courtney is exiting the dress shop. In her excitement over her new outfit, she fails to notice an oncoming car. It slams into her, speeding off and leaving Courtney bleeding on the sidewalk....
A full-length lead-in. Not to mention a brief recap of how the Clone Saga's final chapter could have ended.
Before we got a brief taste of the past. Now we have actual details. In the official continuity, Alison Mongrain washes up on the shore of a Grecian beach and meets up with Joe Robertson, who was there investigating Osborn and whose presence inspired Norman to move the "package," which, implausibly enough, turned out to be Aunt May. Kaine has a brief cameo in one issue, but fades from view almost as quickly. Alison manages to tell MJ about May before succumbing to injuries, and Peter meets up with a supernaturally mad Green Goblin. The rest, unfortunately, is history.
Now, we have Kaine rescuing baby May, and Peter looking for Osborn sooner than he otherwise would have (Kaine would have less trouble getting back to New York than a woman who was desperately trying to stay hidden.) Now he finds Norman just before he initiates the Gathering of Five, and things go from there. It fits that the MC2 Peter would have his climactic battle with the Green Goblin right around the time that he temporarily gave up being Spider-Man in the regular continuity, since he was half-ready to quit in the months leading up to that point in time. The timeline gets a little murky, however, considering that May was two years old at the time, according to Spider-Girl #0. That detail has probably been retconned, with no loss. However, is it me or was the final battle between Spidey and the Goblin a little anti-climactic? A few pages, one bonehead mistake by the Goblin, and that's that? Then again, the teaser for next month's issue #50 reads: "You know how it all began... now learn the truth about how it all ended!" Could Peter be telling a white lie or two?
Not much else going on this month, as we wait for whatever bombshells issue #50 may have in store. The lone exception is Courtney Duran's tragic accident. She may be alive, and probably is, but is obviously badly hurt. And, naturally, May Parker will blame herself for this, thinking that her spider-sense would have detected the car. Poor May's going to end up as neurotic as Peter in short order! But I loved the plot twist, namely because it came out of nowhere (in more ways than one). I hope Courtney survives. She's always been my favorite supporting character. Maybe because it's refreshing to see a female comic book character that doesn't look like a personal trainer. In any case, we're sure to find out next month.
The multiple POV is back, and will likely stick around through next issue. Just don't let it become a habit, Mr. DeFalco. This is still May's book, you know.
Good story, better backstory. We're primed and ready for the anniversary issue. Actually, some of us were ready two issues ago. Three and one-half webs.