Spider-Girl #54

Background

May Parker has battled the Soldiers of the Serpent before and come out ahead. But this time, they have united behind an enigmatic, powerful leader, and May's spider powers might not be enough to save her this time. Also, May's romantic life takes a sudden left turn. All this and more in part one of "Season of the Serpent."

Story 'Season of the Serpent'

  Spider-Girl #54
Arc: Part 1 of 'Season of The Serpent' (1-2-3-4-5-6)
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Pat Olliffe
Inker: Al Williamson

Spider-Girl's day starts off as normally as it ever does. While on patrol, she runs into a gang dressed in Santa Claus outfits and dispatches them in short order (all the while scoping out Christmas gifts for her parents.) She returns home to tell her father, who is bemused but upset that she charged into such a situation. He tells her to trust her instincts. They are interrupted by an anguished groan from the other room, and turn to find MJ in obvious pain. May is worried, but Peter all but kicks her out of the room.

At school the next day, things aren't going any better for May. Talking with Davida about her mother helps, but she runs into both Brad Miller and Jack Jameson, both of whom invite her to spend the holidays with them. She brushes them both off, and is hesitant to commit to a relationship with either boy. To clear her head, she suits up and swings over to the Web Site to talk to Normie Osborn, who declines her offer to spend Christmas with the Parkers. "There's been a lot of bad blood between our families over the years."

Unfortunately, that's the least of Peter and MJ's worries. Mary Jane's problems are apparently serious enough for Peter to ask Reed Richards to examine her. "My preliminary tests indicate ample cause for concern." Peter and MJ are both horrified at the news. "I-is our baby in danger?"

Their daughter knows nothing of this, and is swinging across the city when she notices two men in trench coats who set off her spider sense. She swings into the warehouse they enter and stumbles upon a gathering of the Soldiers of the Serpent, who are planning to detonate a nuclear bomb in St. Patrick's Cathedral. She calls for help, but cannot resist poking her nose into the situation and jumps into the weapons locker. The Soldiers hear her and break in, only to be sent into right field by Spider-Girl and the HUGE rifle she found. The leader of the group is unimpressed.

Spider-Girl jumps in to take him down, but is overpowered in a matter of seconds by the man who moves even more quickly than she can react. Her life is saved only by the arrival of a SWAT team, and he escapes by throwing her into the oncoming police. The police officers cordon off the scene and send people to check St. Patrick's cathedral, but May is shaken and slips out at the first opportunity. Not knowing where to go, she decides to trust her instincts and head back to the Web Site. Normie asks her if she's all right, and she replies, "there's something I've been wanting to do for a long time." Then she reaches over and plants a deep kiss right on a very stunned Normie Osborn.

General Comments

They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I took one look at Spider-Girl--wearing a Santa hat and carrying the VERY big gun she used in the story--and knew right off the bat that this ish was a winner. And sure enough, it was.

It's sad to see Mary Jane having problems with the baby, but it's necessary, IMHO. Anybody remember a story called "The Mutant Factor"? It was written by Erik Larsen right around the time that McFarlane's run on Spider-Man was ending, and it centered around Spidey talking to the Beast about having a child. Beast told him it was very likely that his baby would have some kind of genetic alteration. They got lucky with May--even if she is Spider-Girl--but you have to figure there would be problems with having another child. Good stuff.

The surprise ending surprised me a little, but it had been foreshadowed for a while. So May's got the hots for Normie, huh? Too bad he's already dating Raptor. Geez, if I'd known you could get girls like that by flipping out I'd have popped my cork years ago. Seriously, I wouldn't mind seeing these two hook up--a Parker dating an Osborn would have ol' Norman spinning in his grave, assuming he's really dead--but I think it's going to take more than just one smooch. Would've worked for me, but then I'm not Normie.

Finally, the Soldiers of the Serpent. From throwaway villain to significant threat, and all because of one mysterious leader. No clue who this guy is and right now I don't care; I've been waiting for a big, powerful bad guy in this book and now it looks like he's finally arrived. The ease with which he manhandled Spider-Girl does not bode well for her future encounters with the man. In any event, it's high time that May face down an opponent she cannot physically defeat (at least not yet.) It will make the ending that much more satisfying.

Part 1 of 6? Hope they can keep this going over six months. They are certainly off to a great start.

Overall Rating

Good stuff, and I'm eager for more, but I'm not going to drop a 5 on this story just yet. Four webs.