Spider-Girl #14

Background

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...

Story 'Defeated By Kaine'

Spider-Girl is web-slinging in the rain when she hears gunfire and sees two hoods running away from her. They think she's with “that musclebound freak” and are scared stiff. She easily webs their guns and knocks them out. She thinks they were talking about Darkdevil, who she hasn't seen in weeks. She decides to call it a night and head home.

The next day at school she is hanging out with Jimmy Yama, who thanks her for the heart-to-heart talk they had yesterday (which took place between issues). It seems he's determined to turn over a new leaf, as he even approaches Moose (a bully he's been sparing with for the last 8 issues or so) and apologizes for for being such a jerk lately. Moose waves it all away and says he thinks they're going to be best friends from now own. May sees this and is suspicious of the sudden buddy-buddy act.

After coming home from school, May overhears her parents arguing about Kaine (Peter has been put on his case at work). They drop some exposition and hint at a connection between their daughter and the killer. It seems they haven't heard from him in 16 years and wonder why he's shown up now. They really talk up about how powerful and monstrous he is, which naturally freaks May out.

She goes out for a web-swing again that night and finds Darkdevil on a rooftop. He tries to shoo her away from Kaine. He says she's not ready for him. She follows an ambulance and arrives in time to see the aftermath of Kaine's presence – men beaten to within an inch of their life. She swings off, ruminating on violence and vigilantism. Suddenly, her spider-sense starts buzzing and she turns around just in time to see Darkdevil attacking a grizzled old man with long stringy hair, a scarred face and a trenchcoat – Yep, she's finally come face to face with Kaine!

Kaine and Darkdevil also have a history (because, of course they do). Kaine's strength clearly gives him the upper hand as he smashes Darkdevil against a series of brick walls. Our hero's hand-wringing about how violence never solves anything is tossed out the window as she springs into action. She starts by giving Kaine a double foot plant on his face. Then, she whaps him with her strongest punch for good measure. All he does is smile back at her and says “You've grown.”

Now it's Kaine's turn. First, he throws a punch and she dodges. Darkdevil recovers and tries to get a headlock on him, but Kaine easily flips him over. May grabs a pipe from somewhere and smacks Kaine in the face again. He retaliates by landing a solid blow right to her face, and talks smack about her father. He punches again but this time she manages to dodge his blow. Then, its her turn to try and get him in a headlock, he counters that by crushing her against a wall. All the while he keeps taunting her, saying he has finally returned to claim his prize, like Rumpelstiltskin.

Spider-Girl keeps dodging his fists, but she is beginning to slow down. Kaine reaches out, grabs her by the neck, and knocks her away in a full page spread. Ouch! You can almost feel the blow. She teeters off the edge of the roof and Darkdevil teleports in and saves her. After safely getting her to the ground, he lectures her some more and then disappears. She slumps down, exhausted, and slips off her mask to show one wicked black eye. But the night wasn't a total loss, as she's finally put the pieces together and realizes Kaine was talking about her!

General Comments

A downer ending, but interesting to see our web-stunner finally meet her match.

Overall Rating

This is a quick read, as it's mostly just chasing and fighting, but it sets the stage well for the upcoming issues.

Footnote

So, what's the story with May and Kaine? For the answer to that we have to return to those woe-begone days of the Clone Saga. And since the in-series revelations are outside my reviewing purview I will spoil them here:

In the 616 universe, baby May supposedly died in Amazing Spider-Man #418, immediately after MJ gave birth to her. In that very issue, however, a woman named Alison Mongrain is seen carrying a “mysterious package” out of the hospital and setting off on a yacht. At the time, it was hinted that this package was actually a very alive baby May, who had been kidnapped by the Green Goblin. Kaine eventually caught wind of this nefarious scheme and chased after Alison Mongrain, but he was unsuccessful in catching her.

In Amazing Spider-Man #434 Alison delivers her “mysterious package” to a group of Scriers in Europe. But this is not the end of the teasing because in Amazing Spider-Man #441 Alison Mongrain returns to New York and just before dying she reveals to Peter and MJ that “May is alive.” Talk about a cliffhanger! Only, in Spider-Man #97 the Green Goblin reveals that baby May is definitely, absolutely dead and the May that Alison was talking about is Aunt May (who died way back in Amazing Spider-Man #400). Oh, and as for that “mysterious package” it turned out to a mystical tablet that was used in the Gathering of the Five storyline. Talk about a letdown after nearly two years of build-up!

*****

Obviously, this is not how it went down in the MC2 universe. The “mysterious package” that Alison stole away with was actually, truly baby May, not some stupid magical MacGuffin. Kaine caught up to her in time, rescued May, and returned her to her parents. A simple, but elegant, retcon that makes a whole lot more sense than what really happened.