Spider-Girl #64

Background

Who has succumbed to his injuries, Wilson Fisk or Normie Osborn? Which former bad guy is on the side of the angels, Mr. Nobody or Kaine? Are Raptor and Quickwire working for the government, or for the Black Tarantula? And what happened to Darkdevil? Read on....

Story 'Outed!'

  Spider-Girl #64
Arc: Part 4 of 'Marked For Death' (1-2-3-4-5-6)
Editor: Andy Schmidt
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inker: Sal Buscema

The issue opens in South America, in a lavish compound belonging to the Black Tarantula, supposedly the mastermind behind the attacks on New York's underworld. Given a copy of the Daily Bugle, the Tarantula learns that Wilson Fisk--The Kingpin of Crime--has died as a result of injuries sustained in a bombing in issue #61. He decides to fly to New York to "pay his respects."

In New York, May Parker is still agonizing over her wounded friend, Normie Osborn, and still trying to come to grips with how she feels about him. School, unfortunately, offers little respite. After losing her spot on the basketball team to Nancy Lu, May's friend Davida is still enraged. As May arrives at school, Courtney warns her that the two of them are going at it in the gym. May arrives just in time to see Davida chuck a basketball at Nancy's head. Without thinking, Nancy telekinetically fires back at Davida, breaking her nose and revealing herself to be a mutant. Most of the kids are at least somewhat sympathetic, but Davida can hardly contain her glee. "Nancy was practically cheating by secretly using her enchanced abilities to juice her game." May, in a similar situation, comes to Nancy's defense, and when Davida asks if she's a closet mutant, May snaps. "What if I AM, Davida? Nice to know it would change the way you think about me!" May storms off just as Davida's cell phone rings. It's MJ calling (with perfect Parker timing) to ask Davida to round up May's friends for a surprise birthday party.

Putting on the costume (and getting another warning tingle from whomever is following her), May swings over to meet Canis and find out what he knows. Canis tells her about the Black Tarantula, who wants to expand into the U.S. and probably ordered the hit on the Kingpin. May asks if Mr. Nobody might be working for him, and Canis is doubtful, since Nobody apparently rolled over and is working for the government. May asks about Kaine, and Canis tells her he "specializes in the kind of wet work that sends a loud message." May begins to wonder if she's been wrong about Kaine this whole time.

Her suspicions are fed by the appearance of Mr. Nobody, who tells her that Kaine was behind the whole thing and gives her the location of Kaine and the other rogue supervillains (Quickwire, Raptor, etc.) Spider-Girl heads over to that location and finds Kaine with the bad guys in question in a warehouse by a deserted amusement park. Except for Raptor, who flies up behind her and tries to convince her to leave. Enraged at Raptor for her apparent betrayal, and angry that someone who proclaimed to love Normie might have attacked him, Spider-Girl lashes out at a stunned Raptor, who is barely able to defend herself before they crash through the roof of Kaine's warehouse.

The two continue to fight until Raptor finally stuns May by swinging her into a wooden shed. Quickwire moves in for the kill, but is KO'ed by Kaine. "I'm open to suggestion, Spider-Girl. How do we get you to back off?" Spider-Girl asks Raptor how she feels about Normie, and Raptor says she loves him. The group is then interrupted by Special Agent Arthur Weadon of the FBI, the short, Arrangeresque fella we've seen once or twice so far. Agent Weadon tells a stunned Spider-Girl that the man she saw them kidnap had been targeted for execution, and that Kaine, Raptor et al are, in fact, working for the federal government. "I don't get it," Spider-Girl replies. "If you're the good guys... who murdered the Kingpin... and what happened to Darkdevil?"

Cut to a shadowy building downtown, where a helpless Darkdevil is being systematically tortured by... none other than Mr. Nobody! "I love the way you sing that chorus, my friend," he says as Darkdevil screams. "Let's hear it again! Once more, for old times' sake."

General Comments

Nice!

Well, all the players are in place, motives have been revealed, and all but a few questions have been answered. The biggest one, however, is one that has not occurred to me until now: who is Mr. Nobody? I don't recall ever seeing what he looks like or learning his identity, and by this point the question is no longer academic. If he shot Normie Osborn, why is he a big fan of the original Green Goblin's work? What "old times" does he have with Darkdevil? And is he working for the Black Tarantula or freelancing? Regardless, that last page was a doozy. I'd pegged Nobody as the bad guy, but seeing Darkdevil at his mercy was a little unsettling, considering how DD had always managed to hold his own in the past. Great cliffhanger.

The main plot is great but the supporting plot between Davida, Nancy, and May is also a treat. I like the fact that DeFalco has stuck with Nancy Lu this whole time; not only hasn't he forgotten about her, but she's causing a serious rift between May and Davida. These two were already on the outs beforehand, but I'm wondering how bad it's going to get now. I can understand Davida being upset about losing her spot on the roster to someone who can direct the ball with her mind, but she seemed just a bit too happy to learn the news. Which, of course, only makes it worse for May. Good stuff.

Before I get too gushy, let me just say that the art was a serious letdown. Average for superheroes, downright bad for some of the regular shots. May looked awful in a few panels. Look, I like Ron Frenz, I like Sal Buscema, but the two of them just don't fit this book. This book has taken a very good direction with the plotting, but the artwork misses Pat Oliffe in a big way.

Overall Rating

Great book, not-so-great art. Four webs.