Spider-Girl #96

Background

Spider-Girl can't help but shake a vision of her future, a vision of her dying at the hands of a Scrier. Unfortunately for May Parker, the Scriers have learned of her existence thanks to Kaine's ham-handed tactics, bringing her one step closer to a future she'd just as soon avoid.

Story 'Shadows From The Past!'

Spider-Girl has plenty on her mind these days, what with Normie Osborn harboring the Venom symbiote, on-the-job injuries suffered by Moose Mansfield's father, and the usual amount of superheroine angst. As such, only her spider sense saves her from three ninja stars that are thrown at her while she is swinging. "Couldn't possibly be a Scrier," she thinks. Or rather, hopes.

After searching in vain for her attacker, May heads off to school and meets up with Courtney, who can't help but shed a few tears over Moose and his father. "Moose blames himself for what happened," she says. Just then the bell rings, and May finds herself face to face with Coach Thompson, who makes another pitch for her to rejoin the basketball team. May begs off, and Coach Thompson walks off for a meeting with the Assistant Principal.

This meeting is the source of Felicity Hardy's anger when she runs into May. Apparently Flash Thompson is in danger of losing his job and Felicity blames May for quitting the team. May tries to reason with her, then gives up and goes to change and webswing home. On the way, her spider sense goes off, and May swings around to confront her attacker only to find Felicity dressed as the Scarlet Spider again. May loses her temper and leaves, realizing that stress is pushing her to the limit. Suddenly, her spider sense goes off again, and she swings to the nearby roof to confront the Scarlet Spider...

... only to find herself face to face with the Scrier who attacked her earlier. The Scrier said that he had orders only to observe her, but that her discovery has forced his hand. The two begin to battle, and the Scrier whips out a sword. Terrified at the thought of her vision coming true, it's all Spider-Girl can do to keep from panicking. Matters are made worse by the sudden reappearance of the Scarlet Spider, who promptly finds herself being taken hostage. Spider-Girl pauses, collects herself, and then springs forward and frees Felicity. Having earned the upper hand, she pounds the Scrier into submission and webs him up. The Scrier declares that the wrath of his entire cult will be unleashed upon her, then erupts in a blaze of fire.

After escorting a seriously shaken Felicity home, May swings by the hospital to visit Moose. Unfortunately, Courtney arrives in time to see the two of them hugging, and walks away without saying a word.

Back at the secret Scrier mountain stronghold, Raza (apparently head Scrier) learns of the death of their agent in New York. Rather than dispatching another Scrier to deal with her, Raza has a better idea. On a nearby table rests a file. The name on the file is "Hobgoblin."

General Comments

Yay! Hobgoblin's coming back! Yay!

*Ahem* As I was saying, in this issue we see Tom DeFalco laying the groundwork for the rumored last issue coming in just a few short months. May Parker's personal life plays a bigger role than in issues past, as we see the stresses of her dual life starting to take an even bigger toll on her. A possible confrontation with her best friend may be looming, and a mysterious organization wants her dead. All this and trigonometry, too?

It will be a shame if this book does come to an end, and more than a little disappointing that we have to put up with Scriers in the book's final months. Once again, my personal opinion is that the whole "Cult of Scrier" should have died with the rest of the Clone Saga. Given that, DeFalco does a good job of making the Scrier in this issue menacing. Self-immolation may be a tad cliche, but it's still pretty cool (albeit with limited repeat potential.)

Bringing back the Hobgoblin, however, is an excellent move. It'll be interesting to see how May goes toe-to-toe with someone who fought her dad to a standstill for several years. (That guy's got to be pretty old, though, seeing as how he wasn't exactly a spring chicken when he fought with Peter.)

Not a bad issue, but notable mostly for what it is beginning to lead up to rather than this month's story itself. I imagine this will be par for the course until we near issue #200.

Overall Rating

The pot is beginning to simmer; let's hope the payoff turns out to be worth the wait. Three and one-half webs.