What happens when May Parker's world turns upside-down? Well, that's a fairly typical issue of Spider-Girl, but this month's offering is anything but typical. If you thought "Attack of the 50-foot Spider-Girl" on the cover was unusual, turn the page....
"The fist suddenly cracks into your jaw and--"
May finds herself in political science class, wondering about the dream (if it was a dream) she just had and the migraine she is suffereing from. All of a sudden she morphs into a bizarre turtle-like creature. "We can all see that my dear," her teacher says, "do you have a question for me?" None of May's friends seem to notice anything out of the ordinary, leaving May hopelessly confused.
"You have this vague sense that something's wrong, but you can't put your finger on it." Depressed, and still a turtle, May walks home hoping her parents can explain what's happened to her. She fails to notice the torn scrap of newspaper flitting along the sidewalk describing a prison break.
May arrives home to find that her turtle-ness has worn off. However, she is now looking like she stepped out of an "Archie" comic. MJ is more than happy to pitch in, and she picks out some outfits for May to model. Trying to pull herself together, May runs into the kitchen to be confronted by her father, who berates her for not doing anything about the crime going on in the city. May wonders why she is no longer wearing a cast, but duty calls and she sprouts Roadrunner legs to aid her in her quest to fit crime.
After rounding up every criminal in the city, Spider-Girl notices a familiar storefront and opens the door to confront Misery (remember her from the '99 Spider-Girl Annual? Made May think her parents were killed?) Spider-Girl goes on the offensive, but is quickly clobbered and gassed by the escaped reality-bending villain. As May mutates into a 50 foot tall beast, Misery informs her that she's worse off than she thought: "This is all REAL, Spider-Girl!"
Desperately hoping that Misery is lying, May is attacked by police and helicopters in King-Kong-like fashion. She falls, defeated, only to find herself shrinking down until she is a quarter of an inch tall. Seeking refuge in a water spout--yes, we get it--May is flooded by a sudden burst of water. "I've had enough," she moans. "I give up! I just can't take anymore." Suddenly she hears a voice and sees a brilliantly-lit figure standing in front of her. "Now you listen to me, young lady... you're no quitter!" May recognizes who is speaking to her. Misery intervenes, but the interlude has given May the time she needs to pull herself together and burst out of her opponent's reality-bending machine. Finally back in the REAL world, Spider-Girl makes short work of Misery.
Back home, May has skipped dinner to look through some old photos. After a bit of searching, she finds the picture she is looking for. "I knew I recognized my guardian angel, who turns out to be none other than Aunt May. Taking the picture and framing it, she heads down to rejoin her family.
However, at that very moment, a group of thieves are trying to rip of the Osborn Corporation only to be met by a strange, black-clad individual who beats them to within an inch of their life. Norman Osborn is honing his skills.
"Molly? Tom DeFalco here. Listen, do you mind if I try something a little different this month...?"
Last month gave us the real, this month gives us the surreal. This isn't a significant story but it's cute and worth the read just for the sight gags alone (is there some kind of pop-culture reference I'm missing in regards to the turtle or is that just random?) One gets the feeling that all involved wanted to cut loose and just have some fun after dealing with such a depressing subject last time out. There's nothing wrong with that, although it's probably a good thing that Misery only shows her face once every six years or so.
The only real continuity here is the two-page epilogue with Norman Osborn, who appears to have mastered the Venom symbiote and is preparing for his grand rebirth. I'd be lying if I said that I liked where this plotline was heading; the whole Osborn/Green Goblin bit is drifting dangerously close to self-parody if it's not there already. Taking the one interesting Osborn character left and devolving him back into another half-mad bad guy--symbiote or no symbiote--is the wrong way to go, IMHO.
Of course, DeFalco head-faked us with the Green Goblin before, back when he put Phil in the suit. Who's to say that this isn't another clever ploy?
Overall, a fun issue but not much more than fluff, Osborn notwithstanding.
I'll give this one three and one half webs for being amusing without being laugh-out-loud funny, which it could have been with a little more work.