Spider-Girl #71

Background

Spider-Girl has fought many enemies during her tenure as a superheroine, but can she hope to survive when it comes to fighting something she can't even see? Also, what happens when Jack Jameson, a/k/a "The Buzz," finds the spider tracer that Spider-Girl planted on him two issues ago? All this and J2, too.

Story 'Eye of the Beholder'

  Spider-Girl #71
Summary: J2
Editor: Andy Schmidt
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Pat Oliffe
Inker: Sal Buscema

Spider-Girl is late for school and has no time for any extracurricular activities and she hurtles toward Midtown High. Naturally, she encounters J2 tearing up a busy New York street. She stops to investigate. "I'm glad you're here, Spider-Girl. Maybe the two of us can stop this army of demons." Spider-Girl sees nothing, but before she can figure out what's going on, her spider sense kicks in and she dodges an attack from... nothing. Closing her eyes and trusting her spider sense, Spider-Girl "makes with the hoo-ha" and the pair of them manage to drive off their attackers, leaving a crowd full of angry commuters in their wake.

When she finally reaches school, May phones the Avengers and tells Stinger that there was more to the incident than meets the eye. Stinger believes her, but has no idea what's going on. May is interrupted by Jimmy Yama and his cousin Zane (J2's alter ego) and the two of them end up heading to The Spider Shoppe.

Meanwhile, Jack Jameson is conferring with Richie, his technical support. They are examining the spider tracer that May failed to recover from J.J. Convinced that Spider-Girl has gone too far, the two agree to trace the signal and try to track down the web stunner. Their search leads them to the Midtown South police precinct, where they see a female cop exiting the building and assume that the woman is Spider-Girl. What they do not see is that Peter Parker, walking along side the woman, is really setting off their sensors.

After slipping away from May and Jimmy at The Spider Shoppe, Zane transforms into J2 and calls Spider-Girl, telling her that he knows someone who can explain the day's events. They meet at a comic store, and head to the back room to find Doc Magus, who is apparently the Doctor Strange of the J2 universe. He examines the two and discovers that they have been the victims of some form of paranormal activity. They quickly locate a dimensional rift and travel to a mystical dimension to face Nemesus and his army of "Darklings." Spider-Girl still cannot see her enemies due to the large machine behind Nemesus; Doc Magus assures them that the machine must be destroyed, so Spidey and J2 try their version of a "fastball special." Simply put, he throws her into the machine. The angry hoards become visible, Magus casts a spell that renders the remaining bad guys invisible to themselves, and the three beat it back into their own dimension.

So all is well that ends well for young May Parker. At least until she returns home. "What's this I hear about a fight between you and J2 that resulted in a few hundred thousand dollars worth of damage?" Peter grills her. "Well? What do you have to say for yourself?"

General Comments

No fair! Just when I've gotten used to Ron Frenz' artwork, Pat Olliffe has to step back in for an issue and remind me how much I love his pencils! Sigh.... In all seriousness, Olliffe does a great job on this issue, and he's welcome back anytime as far as I'm concerned.

As for the issue itself? Well, color me less than impressed. It's your standard "Spidey kicks some interdimensional butt" story that we've seen every now and then since the days of Spider-Man and Doc Strange's first team-up. I did like Doc Magus, however. His flippant attitude was a nice contrast with the old "hoary hosts of Haggoth" dialogue that Strange came up with, at least during Stan Lee's run. But overall, this seemed like a rather "low-carb" issue of Spider-Girl: sustaining, but not terribly tasty.

The subplot with JJ and the spider tracer was entertaining, however. I wonder what's going to happen to Buzz when he realizes that he's got the wrong woman. The fact that Buzz even found the tracer is a nice idea, and hopefully good for more than just a two to three issue space filler. Might Buzz succeed in unearthing May's secret identity? Could be interesting.

Oh, and Brad Miller needs to get a clue. That's all I have to say about that.

Overall Rating

Two and a half webs for the story, plus a full bonus web for the all-too-brief return of Pat Olliffe.