Spider-Girl #85

Background

Fury, the Goblin Queen, has been defeated. Normie has been freed from the Venom symbiote, but has decided to keep it. Still reeling from recent events, can Spider-Girl handle the return of... eh, why spoil it?

Story 'Rescue Me!'

May Parker and Normie Osborn are visiting Phil Urich in the hospital, where he remains under observation for injuries suffered in his fight with Fury last issue. Phil can hardly contain himself when describing the fight to his two visitors. May is slightly more circumspect when he asks her what happened to the Venom symbiote: "We *uhhhh* shoved it into an oven... and it just kind of... melted." Upset with having to lie to Phil and still more than a little nervous about Normie's course of action, May confronts him on the way out of the hospital. Normie tells her not to worry. In the next breath, he tells her that Brenda Drago--Normie's fiancee Raptor--does not know that he kept the symbiote.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the city, a bald man in an orange jumpsuit is escaping from a prison van. "I want to look my very best, because I'm sure the media will be in a frenzy over the return of FUNNY FACE!"

Later, May returns to school only to find that Davida and Courtney have been worried sick about her since the engagement party. "You're so lucky Chris Jarkoer was there." The three of them stumble across young Mr. Jarkoer telling a captive audience exactly how he saved the day. May wonders whether or not he should get away with it when her cell phone rings. It's her father checking up on her. "Why?" she asks. "You almost never do that." The mystery is solved moments later as May hears students talking about the return of Funny Face. May changes into costume, assuming that FF is on the way to rescue his mother, when she has another thought. She pulls out her cell phone and calls Uncle Phil to "check a location."

At the Midtown South police department, Peter Parker is calling in an update when suddenly a large explosion rocks the precinct. Funny Face has arrived, and he wants nothing more than to rescue his "friend." Taking Peter hostage, he demands that the police "bring him to me right now." Peter is confused, thinking that FF was after his mother. "I believe I have the answer," someone says. They turn around to find Spider-Girl hanging from the ceiling, holding... BUNKY!

(That would be Funny Face's puppet, for the uninitiated.)

FF threatens to blow Peter's head off. Spider-Girl threatens to crush Bunky's. FF blinks first and asks how she wants to exchange hostages. Spider-Girl throws Bunky across the room, giving Peter an opening to elbow FF in the gut. After getting her father out of harm's way--much to his chagrin--Spider-Girl jumps into action. The two of them fight until Spider-Girl webs Bunky to the floor. "You monster!" Funny Face cries. "He is claustrophobic and you're torturing him. His mother used to tie him up and lock him in the closet for days at a time." Momentarily stunned by the abuse "Bunky" suffered, May snaps out of it and fells FF with a right cross to the jaw.

Afterwards, Peter and Spider-Girl chat briefly on the roof of the precinct. Peter tells her that he is impressed with the way she handled herself, and that he couldn't be prouder. Spider-Girl starts to tell him about Normie, but chickens out and swings away.

Normie, meanwhile, is conferring with his adopted father, Foggy Nelson. He has decided to take over operations at Osborn Corporation. "I know [your mother] would be so very proud of you today," Foggy says. "And so would my REAL father," Normie replies. Oh, and by the way, "it's time for people to start calling me Norman... just like my grandfather."

General Comments

This issue was a good mix between a nice, self-contained one shot story and preparation for later plot developments. As for Funny Face, his first appearance since he and his mother went on a rampage several issues ago was fun, if somewhat lightweight. For all of FF's talk about being a stone killer, May handled him with ease this time. In fact, this is one of the few episodes I can remember when May was firing on all cylinders: she figures out why her father's checking in on her, figures out what FF is up to, and then dispatches him with minimal effort. If it weren't for that pesky detail about Normie Osborn, this would have been a pretty good day for her. As it is...

So Normie... excuse me, NORMAN Osborn is taking over the family business, huh? Why do I get the feeling this won't end well? In all seriousness, I am a little concerned at the direction this storyline is going. Normie gets dunked in Goblin juice, he keeps the Venom symbiote for himself, and now he's going to be head of Osborn Industries. Sounds like the makings of a major league baddie, which would be a mistake, IMHO. Normie's turned into an interesting character ever since he went straight; changing him into the latest incarnation of the Osborn curse is hackneyed to say the least. Well, there's still a ways to go before we see where this development takes us, but color me skeptical.

Chris Jarkoer turned into a schmuck in short order, didn't he? This guy's Jimmy Yama 2.0 (whatever happened to Jimmy, anyway?) I didn't like this idea at all, quite frankly. Turning Chris into a spineless braggart is cheap character development.

Pretty good issue. Nothing too special or too objectionable. And I'll admit it: I missed Bunky.

Overall Rating

We'll give this one a slightly above-average rating. Three and one half webs.