Spider-Girl first appeared in What If (Vol. 2) #105 in February 1998 and the alternate reality she lived in was eventually spun into a whole universe called MC2. She is May Parker, the daughter of Peter Parker (the original Spider-Man) and Mary Jane Watson-Parker. After hitting puberty, she inherited her dad's spider-powers and decided to follow in his heroic footsteps. These stories occur very early in her crime-fighting career...
The story starts back up in yours and mine favorite place – a random rooftop! Dr. Smythe's Spider-Slayer (Mk. 1) is attacking Spider-Girl. While she is busy avoiding its metal tentacles she recounts to herself (and for any new readers) how she got into this situation. During the tussle, Jonah notices something different about this particular spider-character. He remarks that “he” seems more feminine in form. Dr. Smythe speculates that Spider-Man could be a woman, or, at least, someone who likes to dress up as a woman. Jonah is put off by this, saying he doesn't want to be seen as someone who beats up on minorities (I'm not sure what minority group he is talking about here because last time I checked women actually make up a majority of the population). But, he blows it off as just another stunt by Spider-Man to try and make him look bad. Typical Jonah, really.
Spider-Girl manages to get away but it's a case of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. Literally, because she runs right into the Human Torch! Just like Spidey before him, he thinks she is just trying to impersonate the original and doesn't appreciate it. We cut to Peter at school worrying about the Spider-Slayer stalking him. Spider-Girl manages runs away (she's been doing that a lot lately) after tossing the Human Torch into some wet cement at a construction site. Then, she returns to Aunt May's house where Liz Allan, Betty Brant, and MJ are all waiting on Peter to show up. (Like I said before, this storyline has planted our protagonist right in the middle of Amazing Spider-Man #25.)
May is taken back by seeing her mom so young. They take a walk together and talk awhile. MJ makes remarks about the way she's dressed (jeans and a t-shirt) and says she needs to dress more like a girl (which is basically the same thing she says to May as her parent, as well). From there we switch to the penultimate scene from Amazing Spider-Man #25 where Peter outsmarts Jameson. Now, we move on to a deleted scene - the one where Spider-Girl meets up with Spider-Man once again! They go right back to trading blows as May tries to reason with him and keeps apologizing every time she hits him.
Eventually, the Human Torch shows up, too. She runs away (again) but this time she runs right into Spyral! Turns out that Spyral's been looking for her as it seems he needs both of them to correct the time-warp screw-up from last issue that caused this whole mess. It doesn't take much convincing for Spider-Girl to go along with his plan. Of course, Spider-Man and the Human Torch are hot on their heels still, so they have to rush back to the portal site all the while dodging webs and fireballs. Just as they are jumping through the portal, May finally gets through to Peter that she is not his enemy and he reluctantly lets her go without a fight. May is so relieved that she slips up by telling Peter, “Thanks, dad.” before disappearing.
Next thing you know, Spyral and Spider-Girl re-appear back in the same warehouse from last issue. She quickly knocks him out before he can get away and confirms that she is really back in her own time by visiting Midtown High. Then she returns home and shows a new appreciation for both of her parents. She remarks that Peter didn't have it easy during his teenage years (she doesn't know the half of it) so she gives him a great big hug. She even agrees to go clothes shopping with her mom. MJ is so shocked she thinks May must have been replaced by a pod person (hah, if she only knew)!
I love the depictions of “old” Jonah and the “young” Torch. And how everyone reacts to having a second Spider-Person in their midst. I also like the personal interactions and growth in understanding May has at the end of the story.
DeFalco takes a cliched plot and makes it shine with unique character moments.
Anyone steeped in Spider-Lore who can tell me who Spyral is supposed to be? Facade? Another spider-clone? Uncle Ben? He talks like a time traveler and/or dimension hopper and his identity seems significant, but I don't get the reference.