This issue prints episodes from Amazing Spider-Man Digital, originally available on Marvel.com. Written by “Web-Head” Bob Gale and pencilled by Patrick Olliffe, this story occurs somewhere between Amazing Spider-Man #604 and #612.
Recently Mayor J. Jonah Jameson has demanded that the Anti-Spider Squad, a battalion of men armed with old SHIELD technology, must bring Spider-Man to justice or face losing their jobs. They plan to lure him out by watching The Spider-Girls (three high school girls who have taken upon a Spider-Man work ethic and gained massive media attention because of it). The Spider-Girls have become a target of media harlot Teri Hillman, who has jumped on their media bandwagon!
When Peter Parker goes out with Michele Gonzalez to discuss The Spider-Girls, Spectrum attacks! Peter changes into Spider-Man outside and can’t believe his eyes!
Spider-Man looks at the scene on the street. Affected by Spectrum’s powers to impair vision, three muggers are snatching bags on the street. Spider-Man successfully webs them up and then demands to know where their leader is. One confesses that they just took advantage of the panic on the street! Spidey checks the camera he left running and determines that Spectrum was on the scene and that his powers only affect human eyes not lenses.
Peter returns home to apologise to Michele for running out on her. She understands and they discuss the pictures he took of Spectrum and whether Spectrum was breaking the law.
Spidey figures he needs to speak to Teri Hillman about her marketing the Spider-Girls name to sell merchandise. He finds her hotel room and, after dealing with a bit of security, meets with Teri. Whilst coming on to him in a rather risqué nightie, she explains that she is just using them to make money but can’t back out now.
The Spider-Girls take things into their own hands and approach a lawyer to represent them. The lawyer thinks that she can get money for them but they realise she is trying to rip them off as well.
At FEAST they give their statement: They don’t like what Teri Hillman is doing so challenge her to be a real Spider-Girl and do what is right with the money she is earning.
The following day Peter is working for Mayor JJ Jonah Jameson, snapping his visit to the Anti-Spider Squad (A.S.S.). Peter recognises one of the squad from outside FEAST and works out that they are watching the Spider-Girls. As they tour, Teri Hillman responds. She agrees with the Spider-Girls and says that she will donate $100,000 to a children’s charity… if Spider-Man has dinner with her on Saturday! JJJ’s assistant, Lubeck, explains that if Spidey doesn’t show the public hate will be on him and if he does, the A.S.S. can be waiting right outside for him! Peter just knows this is going to end badly!
The next day, The Spider-Girls make another statement: Teri should give the money to charity because she is a true Spider-Girl, not because of a publicity stunt. They again call for her to do what is right.
Teri is livid and prepares to make another statement. Meanwhile, JJJ is livid and calls the A.S.S. to get the job done now. Spectrum receives a call about a job on Saturday night and the A.S.S. prepares to bring Spider-Man in with hostages… three girls, to be precise!
As previously this issue is full of story.
Bob Gale continues to use clever dialogue and wittiness to deliver realistic characters who react naturally with one another. The motivation of the characters as this story climaxes, involves the reader with clever bouncing between scenes, flitting from Spider-Girls to Teri Hillman via the players in between and drawing upon the elements that Gale has already confidently established. It’s a slow build but a good one.
I’m still not bored by the amount of dialogue. It is, in fact, very clever and presents some intelligent, natural, honest thought through The Spider-Girls and Michele.
Patrick Olliffe’s art remains at his usual high quality. The inking remains sharp and the expression of the character (especially seeing as there are a lot of them and a lot of telling to keep the reader focussed on) stays clear. There’s a bit more Spider-Man here as well, which offers an improvement on my problems last issue.
There are some excellent scenes which you know would have worked just as brilliantly digitally. Teri switching on the light, for example, uses comedy timing to perfection. That and the scene where JJJ switches on to Lubeck’s plan (stoic to grinning like a Cheshire cat!).
Another good issue which begins to push these full characters and developed plot lines towards a solid conclusion. Gale is producing the best work he has with Spider-Man and maintains the focus on supporting cast not villains, changes or dramatic Spider-Man events.
And again, given the time he deserves, Patrick Olliffe remains an excellent storyteller.