Spider-Girl #81

Background

May Parker and Davida Kirby may have renewed their friendship, but "Electra" is also back in town, and she's not interested in reconciliation. How will her reappearance affect the lives of the original Spider-Man and Electro?

Story 'I Scorn the Body Electric!'

Per usual, Spider-Girl is swinging across town when she stumbles across an armored car heist. The perpetrator is the girl in the Electro costume May battled in issue #51, and she has given herself the name "Aftershock." (Hey, it beats "Electra" and eliminates the possibility of any legal problems.) Aftershock still has much to learn about the supervillain biz--namely that robbing armored cars works better if they are full at the time of the attempted robbery--but her power makes up for her inexperience, as she zaps the driver and makes her escape.

Returning home, May catches hell from Peter about not being home to babysit her brother. The two argue, and May storms off to her room. MJ goes upstairs to talk to her, saying that her father is trying to help "in his own clumsy way," but May blows her off.

The next morning, May gets a message at school from the Avengers, and she travels to the Avengers mansion to find Max Dillon, the original Electro, sitting in the waiting room. May tries to talk to him, but he will only speak to the original Spider-Man, so she calls up her father and he arrives in costume. "I need your help," Max tells him. His daughter is Aftershock, and she somehow inherited Max's electrical powers with one catch--the two cannot touch each other without receiving a severe jolt. Max tells Spider-Man that his daughter has turned to crime and that he doesn't want her to make the same mistakes he did. Spider-Man agrees to help.

Spidey formulates a plan, and Spider-Girl and the Avengers split up to cover the city. While searching, May thinks about what Electro and his daughter have gone through, and realizes that she needs to meet her father halfway and work with him. Soon, a familiar tingle leads her to a jewelry store where she encounters Aftershock. Spider-Girl calls for help after she realizes that even she can't touch her adversary without getting burned. Aftershock manages to zap her, and moves in for the killing strike, but is interrupted by the Avengers... and Spider-Man... and Electro.

Max tries to talk to his daughter, but she angrily dismisses him. Max nearly gives up, but Spider-Man refuses to let him. "Being a father--a real father--is scary! It's hard... and it's 24/7... and sometimes it just plain hurts. The pain cuts deep, and it cuts both way, Max, but you have to show your daughter that she's worth it. You just can't give up. You can never give up on her... or yourself. Well, Max--are you a father or not?" Spurned on by Spider-Man's words, Max walks over, grabs his daughter, and wraps her in a bear hug. The pain caused by the physical contact is unbearable at first, but the two eventually stablize and can touch each other without pain.

Back at the Parker household, the three of them discuss the fate of Aftershock and what role Max Dillon might play in her life. Peter and May both are a little taken aback by the day's events, and when MJ leaves to go to bed, they stay behind to talk. Around 3am, MJ wakes up to find that Peter has not come to bed, and goes downstairs to check on him. He and May have fallen asleep on the couch.

General Comments

Call me a sentimental fool, but I really liked this story. Not only because of several "awwwwwwwwwwww" moments that actually worked, but because it addressed an issue that I was griping about last issue: the constant, irrelevant bickering scenes between Peter and May Parker. Only this time, they actually tied into the plot. Not bad.

Several fun moments in this issue as well, such as May's reaction to the Avengers' phone call and the Spider-Man hero worship at the mansion. Also Max Dillon's question regarding whether Spidey felt as stupid as he did wearing the old uniform. (And it is nice to see Electro in his REAL old uniform, and not that blue travesty that John Byrne came up with, but I digress.) Little things like that make this book a fun read.

I do have to wonder about how cavalier Spider-Man and the Avengers are about Max Dillon. Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't he have to answer for his own crimes, too? Yet other than a throwaway line about "retiring from crime," nobody makes any mention of Electro's own criminal past. So all one would have to do to duck several outstanding arrest warrants is lay low for several years? That part of the story did not ring true for me. Even a brief line about Electro having done time in prison would have made this work, but that didn't happen, and it hurts the story as a result.

Overall Rating

Four webs. Great issue that would have been even better if they'd explained why Max Dillon's walking around as a free man.