Spider-Girl #97

Background

The stress of her secret identity is driving May Parker to the breaking point. The Brotherhood of Scrier wants her dead and one of her oldest friends (Normie Osborn) is harboring the Venom symbiote. What else could go wrong? Here comes HOBGOBLIN!

Story 'I'm Back!'

Seeking to hone her skills and boost her chances of surviving a battle with the Scriers, Spider-Girl decides to take in a training session with Phil Urich, the Green Goblin (in his third or fourth iteration). The two spar for a while until May takes down her "Uncle" with a wicked backhand. "Nicely done!" Phil says. "Too bad Normie couldn't join us."

The aforementioned Osborn is, at this moment, meeting with Agent Weadon and his government special forces team. Normie tells Weadon that he is willing to join the team and follow his instructions, but only if Raptor is given a full pardon. Raptor objects, saying that she didn't ask him to sacrifice himself on her behalf. Normie placates her, then tells her that she will need the extra time to plan their wedding. Kristy Watson, Normie's executive assistant, cannot hide a look of surprise as the two embrace. After Brenda leaves, Kristy asks Normie why he hired her, and why she tags along whenever he does anything. Normie admits that his control over the Venom symbiote might not be as complete as he believes. Her real job is to inform Spider-Girl if he goes over the edge so that she can destroy him.

Back at Midtown High, May runs into Felicity Hardy, who is still a little stunned at the previous evening's events. She apologizes for getting on May's back about the basketball team, and May admits that things have gotten out of hand. Felicity suggests that "someone's life needs a major makeover." Davida Kirby gives May the same advice during a subsequent pickup game in the gym.

Moose, meanwhile, is visiting his injured father in the hospital. His uncle tells him to be strong for his younger brothers, but Moose admits that he is having trouble. His uncle suggests that Moose come to live with him for a while. Moose mentions this to Courtney, telling her that he is having serious trouble coming to a decision, and mentions that he needs to talk it over with May. "You need May?" a stunned Courtney asks.

Later, May is walking home from school when she has a brainstorm. The vision showed her dying while wearing her red and blue costume. But that isn't the only costume she has to wear.

While all of this is going on, a man representing the Brotherhood of Scrier is meeting with Roderick Kingsley, who has been captured and imprisoned in the Caribbean isle where he has been living in exile. The man tells Kingsley that his organization wishes to engage his services, and that they will provide an opportunity to get even with Spider-Man and Norman Osborn. That is all Kingsley needs to hear. The Scrier allows Kingsley to free himself in rather dramatic fashion, and the two of them escape to a nearby helicopter.

As Spider-Girl pulls on her black uniform, Roderick Kingsley puts on his familiar orange and blue costume. Spider-Girl is back in black. Hobgoblin is back in New York.

General Comments

The suspense is terrible. And, quite frankly, it's lasted long enough.

Tom DeFalco spent last issue putting the pieces in order for what may be his last Spider-Girl storyline. This issue is basically a full-length lead-in. We get more people telling May it's time for a change (we get it, we get it!), more conflict brewing between her, Courtney, and Moose, and we get Normie admitting that harboring the Venom symbiote might not be such a good idea after all (ya think?) Hobgoblin is reintroduced and re-suited, but does little other than show up.

There are some nice stories developing for Spider-Girl's final three issues. I just wish we'd actually get to the good stuff, although I'm sure next issue will finally move things along. Spider-Girl usually keeps a pretty brisk pace, so the slowdown of the last couple of issues is surprising. Hopefully that just means DeFalco's gearing up for something truly special in the months ahead.

Oh, by the way, how old is Kristy Watson? She was a teenager during her tenure in the Spider-Man books, we learn that she was Normie's nanny when he was a kid, but she still looks like she's fresh out of college at most. Roderick Kingsley doesn't look a day older than his last appearance (okay, he could use a little Just For Men, but that's it.) Don't people age even a little bit in the Marvel Universe?

I know, I know, silly question.

Overall Rating

Enough setup, get to the action! Two webs