Spider-Girl #66

Background

Mr. Nobody has been caught, Darkdevil's life has been saved, and everyone knows that the Black Tarantula has been behind the whole thing. Nothing left to do but bring him in, right? But do they have the right criminal mastermind? And what will Spider-Girl have to do to see justice done?

Story 'If This Be Victory!'

  Spider-Girl #66
Arc: Part 6 of 'Marked For Death' (1-2-3-4-5-6)
Editor: Andy Schmidt
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inker: Sal Buscema

Mr. Nobody has been arrested and is being interrogated by the FBI, but he's not talking. Special Agent Arthur Weadon, however, remains convinced that the Black Tarantula is behind all of the recent attacks. He and his group of former supervillains is preparing to take down the Tarantula. Spider-Girl is not invited, and after getting a brief update from Weadon, she is asked to leave. Raptor hugs her and thanks her for capturing the man who shot her boyfriend, Normie Osborn. More than a little awkward seeing as how May secretly has the hots for Normie herself.

Regardless, May arrives at school to find Courtney, Moose, Brad, and Jimmy waiting to wish her a happy birthday. She still doesn't know that her parents are planning a surprise party. Lost in thought over recent events, May barely pays much attention to Brad when he asks her out, and all but walks into Sandra Healy, who accuses her of attacking her abusive boyfriend and stomps off in a rage before May can respond.

Later, May runs into JJ who asks if she's heard from Nancy Lu. The rumor is that Nancy will be suspended or expelled for using her mutant powers. May seeks out Coach Thompson and finds out that the rumors are true. "The league's even talking about suspending me and making us forfeit the season. They're saying I should have realized that one of my players had super-powers and an unfair advantage over the other kids." Cut to the quick by the truth of that statement, May tearfully quits the basketball team.

It isn't until May leaves school and puts on the webs that she realizes what's been bugging her about the whole thing. Mr. Nobody was arrested with a cell phone. "You remember seeing a cell phone numerous times during the course of this case." She reaches for her own phone and sets up a meeting with Canis.

"This all began when I saved you from a gang of hired gunmen," she tells Canis. "Why would a professional assassin like Mr. Nobody hire other gunmen to kill you... when he used firebombs on everyone else...? You pretended to help by sending me after one of the Kingpin's underlings, but Mr. Nobody just happened to beat me to him. On at least two other occasions, you were on your cell phone just moments before Nobody suddenly appeared. I believe you hired him to kill off the competition so that you could become the new Kingpin of Crime."

Canis doesn't deny her accusations, but tells Spider-Girl that she has no proof. Mr. Nobody's cell phone was new and untraceable. He asks if she will try to beat a confession out of him, and laughs as she grits her teeth and swings off.

Spider-Girl stops on a nearby bridge to phone Weadon and tell him what's going on. Unfortunately, his crew met up with the Black Tarantula and have the bruises to show for it. Weadon tells her to avoid the Tarantula at all costs until he can arrange backup. May gets a four-alarm spider sense warning. "Any chance you could rush some over to that little park on the East River?"

Down below, the Black Tarantula has arrived to confront Canis. Asked why he was dragged into Canis' scheme, the crimelord admits that he was only to be a distraction. Tarantula knocks Canis across the park and nearly beats him to death before Spider-Girl can intervene. He recognizes her from the funeral and stops fighting her. "We have reached an impasse. I have no desire to harm you, but I will not allow Canis to escape my justice." Spider-Girl proposes that he confess his crimes and accept the justice of the courts, and BT agrees and leaves. Canis is still smug despite his injuries. "If Fisk could rule his empire from prison, so can I. I'm the new Kingpin of Crime!"

Afterwards, May stops by the hospital to visit Normie only to see Raptor kissing him. She slips away before she can be spotted and aimlessly roams the streets (missing her birthday party) until she runs into Sandra outside a battered woman shelter. Sandra apologizes for the way she's been acting but admits she's nervous about entering the shelter and admitting she's a battered woman. "Take all the time you need, Sandra," May replies. "There's no rush. No pressure. I don't have any real plans tonight and there's no place I'd rather be!"

General Comments

And with that, Spider-Girl's second six-part series draws to a close.

"Marked for Death" was an enjoyable read from the first issue to the last. While the final issue was not as earthshaking as "Season of the Serpent," the story as a whole was much more cohesive and engaging. Part six was definitely a bit slower than the other issues of the series, however. More of an explanation of the previous issues than a rousing climax. I guess the thing that gets me is that throughout the first five issues, there's a mysterious crimelord who turns out to be the Black Tarantula and no real question that he's the man behind the curtain. But only after Spider-Girl takes down Mr. Nobody do we get a hint that somebody else might be behind everything. Making Canis the bad guy isn't contrived by any means, it just wasn't set up as well as it could have been.

Okay, enough of the negative. This was still a suspenseful "whodunit" that opens the door for some new directions with Spider-Girl. Hopefully Weadon's little super squad will be making more appearances. Mr. Nobody's stock in the world of supervillains just rose; somewhere along the way he changed from your run-of-the-mill bad guy to badass.

One important thing about "Marked for Death" is the supporting plotlines, primarily the outing of Nancy Lu and its repercussions. May and Davida's friendship is now strained, although probably not for much longer. May quitting the basketball team was a bit of a surprise, but in character. And Sandra finally getting the nerve to admit she needs help was a welcome development. (May's only been after this girl for months now.)

All in all, "Marked" doesn't exactly end with a bang, but it was still one of the better storylines we've seen in Spider-Girl lately.

Overall Rating

Part six in and of itself gets 3 webs, "Marked for Death" as a whole gets four. Good, yet good for you.