Spider-Girl #61

Background

"The Series They Could Not Kill" returns with the first issue of a six-part storyline entitled "Marked for Death." And the world that May Parker had learned to accept just one issue ago is about to be turned upside-down.

Story 'Marked for Death!'

  Spider-Girl #61
Arc: Part 1 of 'Marked For Death' (1-2-3-4-5-6)
Editor: Andy Schmidt
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inker: Al Williamson

Alerted by her spider sense, Spider-Girl stumbles across heavily-armed thugs confronting a man in a hooded sweatshirt. The bad guys prove to be little match for the webbed one, although at one point her spider-sense alerts her to an attack that never comes. "I don't get it. Nobody is there." The man in the sweatshirt turns out to be Canis, the rather wolfish crime lord who tried and failed to take down the Kingpin. Looking particularly hirsute, Canis threatens one of the thugs to learn the name of his employer, but is called off by Spider-Girl. Acknowledging his debt to her, Canis doesn't kill the man, and lets May escort her home. While Canis is showing off his home and "the newest members of my pack" (I don't want to know), May's spider-sense goes off with a roar, and she barely gets herself and Canis out of the building before the bomb explodes.

The scene switches to Ryker's Island, where the incarcerated Kingpin is in the gym for his daily (and private) workout. He is interrupted by Darkdevil, who teleports in to warn him that "some South American gangster" is out to take over his territory and get rid of the competition. The Kingpin shrugs it off just before the prison is rocked by another large explosion.

Back in Forest Hills, May Parker is spending some quality time with her little brother. She finds her parents watching the news about the Ryker's bombing, learning that the Kingpin is in critical condition and that Darkdevil was on the scene moments before the explosion. Neither May nor her parents believe he had anything to do with it.

At school the next day, Courtney Duran's return is marred by another tingle from her May's spider-sense. Once again, nobody is there. Calling Phil Urich to get an update on the bombing, May learns that a lot of heavy hitters in the crime families have been murdered. She asks if he's spoken to Darkdevil, and Phil says that he won't (or can't) answer the phone. Concerned, May walks over to the Web Site but gets another tingle from a nearby building. She pulls on her costume and tries to find the person spying on the Web Site, but once again comes up empty.

After a brief meeting with Normie Osborn--where she discovers that being "just friends" isn't as easy as it sounds--May returns to school where she gets yet ANOTHER spider-sense tingle. Before she can try to find the person responsible, Davida bursts out of the locker room right into her face, steaming mad at Nancy Lu for taking her place on the basketball team. Davida and Nancy argue for a minute, then stalk off in separate directions.

Later that night, May and Normie are comparing notes at the Web Site again. Nobody seems to know anything about the attacks, and the only lead Phil Urich had come up with regards "some guy from South America." May's spider- sense suddenly goes off like a rocket, and she pulls Normie out of the Web Site before it, too, explodes. The two survive, but May wonders why her spider-sense didn't detect the bomb earlier. "Unless the bomb wasn't there until the moment you sensed it. That would mean the bomber has the ability to teleport--just like Darkdevil!" May realizes that the bomber might know her secret identity, and that she could be a danger to everyone she knows...

... including her little brother.

General Comments

Wow. Give Tom DeFalco, et al. some credit, they've kicked things off with a bang this time. (Bad pun intended, of course.) Seriously, "Marked for Death" is off to a great start. Canis nearly killed, the Kingpin clinging to life (or is he?), and Spider-Girl's Web Site has been hit. Somebody knows an awful lot about whom to hit.

Suspicion immediately focused on Darkdevil, which suggests that he was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. If, as May surmises, the victim can teleport, there is one other logical suspect. Mr. Nobody can teleport, and since the Kingpin turned on him during the conclusion of the gang war storyline, he has every reason to be furious with Fisk, Canis, AND Spider-Girl. It's doubtful that he's working alone, but as the foot soldier for someone else? Maybe.

As for the "South American gang lord" everybody's talking about? Please tell me we're not about to see the return of the Black Tarantula. That's a storyline from the pre-reboot days I'd just as soon forget about. Regardless, this is shaping up to be one heck of a mystery. And if this mysterious baddie really knows May's identity, the stakes have just been raised.

The fight between Nancy and Davida looks like it'll carry over into the rest of the storyline, as May looks like she's caught square in the middle. It's sad in real life when friends fall out, but makes for good dramatic tension in comic books. May suddenly became the woman in the middle, and somehow I doubt Davida and Nancy will be best buds anytime soon. I like the idea and I'm glad that we're still seeing the Midtown High subplots. Fighting over who starts for the basketball team may be small potatoes compared to the mad bomber, but Spider-Girl has always been more than the suit and the web-shooters. I'm interested to see how May handles this one.

Also, I think it's great that May has become so attached to little Benjamin. Remember back in issue #38 how she was less than thrilled about sisterhood? Somebody just grew up another notch.

A great part one that sets the table for the rest of the storyline. Let's try to avoid the side trips to the Negative Zone this time, hmmm?

Overall Rating

Four webs and eager anticipation for part two.