The Carnage symbiote has been destroyed but the price is oh, so high. In addition to eliminating what may have been Moose Mansfield's father's last hope of survival, destroying the symbiote may have permanently damaged little Ben Parker's hearing. But as if all that and a healthy dose of high school politics weren't enough on May Parker's plate, one of her deadliest enemies is preparing to strike once again.
Somewhere in his secret headquarters, Roderick Kingsley is preparing for his next move by submitting himself to the Winkler mind-control device "to precondition my mind and reinforce my defenses against mental manipulation." Roderick's brother Daniel is more than a little confused (along with the rest of us), but the Hobgoblin brushes him off. Shaving his head to pose as Daniel, Roderick leaves to fly to Las Vegas, locking his brother in the facility until he can return.
At the Parker household, May nearly works herself into hysterics trying to get baby Ben to hear her. Peter and MJ try to tell her not to blame herself (Peter, true to form, blames HIMself), but May can't get over the guilt of what she did to Ben. Heading off to school, May realizes that today is the day of the student council election. She finds Davida Kirby in the bathroom trying to pull herself together, and talks her into swallowing her butterflies and rejoining the rest of the student population. She asks Davida about Courtney and learns that she's out sick, worrying about Moose who is in police custody. May figures she knows where and ducks into the stairwell at lunchtime to change and swing away, not hearing Gene Thompson calling her.
In Las Vegas, Kingsley is calling on a Mr. Leonard Groote at a fancy hotel. After slipping the concierge some money, he receives the key to Groote's penthouse apartment and heads up to find a young man surrounded by dozens of good looking women. Kingsley says he is here to discuss a man named William Turner, and Groote pulls him into the bedroom to talk. It seems that the real William Groote is in rehab and the man talking to Kingsley IS William Turner, better known as the Mindworm. Protected by the Winkler device, Kingsley can see through Mindworm's psychic projections. He offers the Mindworm a deal: help him against Spider-Girl and the Black Tarantula and in return "attain real power and riches." The Mindworm is intrigued and agrees to aid Kingsley.
Back in New York, Spider-Girl swings off to the abandoned amusement park that houses Agent Weadon's super team, where Moose is being held. She convinces Weadon to let her talk to Moose, who calls her a murderer and screams at her until she leaves. Kaine attempts to console May, who manages to swing a few blocks away before the tears start to fall.
Returning to school, May learns that the election is over and Davida has won. Overjoyed, May promises to help her in any way that she can and volunteers to help decorate for the upcoming dance. Planning for the dance reminds her that she needs to make plans with Gene, but when she finds him she is shocked to learn that she's tired of the way she has treated him. Berating her for all but ignoring him unless she needs a shoulder to cry on, Gene tells her that he's breaking up with her. He walks away, leaving her crying in the hallway.
Maybe it's me, but I would be able to muster up a bit more sympathy for Gene were it not for the fact that he was the one spreading those "Down with Parker" posters when May was running for student council herself. Oh well, this was no surprise. Wes is probably next in line for May's affections, anyway.
Not a bad issue but more of a set up for the coming storyline than anything else. We get a bit of insight into the mind of the Hobgoblin, who has a few interesting theories into what kind of person Spider-Girl truly is. Bringing back the Mindworm was a surprise--has he shown up at all since the mid-70s?--but I'm all for bringing back classic Spidey villains, even the lesser known ones (can the Big Wheel be far behind?) This issue leaves no clues as to what kind of plan Kingsley has for his heavy-headed partner, however, which is a bit disappointing.
In fact, other than Davida winning the election and Gene breaking up with May, nothing really happens in this issue. No definitive word yet on Ben's hearing loss, no idea of what Hobby has in mind, nada. Taking a breather every now and then isn't a bad idea, and the high school plots really did need some resolution, but next week's issue had better have a bit more plot development to show for itself.
Pretty good stuff but fairly uneventful. Three webs.