Spider-Girl #35

Background

A mysterious stranger is stalking the Sensational Spider-Girl, the new Spider-Man is still on the loose, and a bold new underworld figure makes his debut. Is May Parker's life about to take a turn for the worse?

Story 'Line of Fire'

May Parker can't help but feel uneasy. Her spider sense has returned, but it's buzzing nonstop. Somebody is following her and she can't figure out who it is. Her attention is soon diverted by the arrival of Davida, Nancy Lu, and Moose, who is breathless with the news that Funny Face has escaped from prison.

The aforementioned supervillain, at that very moment, is meeting with a man known only as Canis. He is trying to replace the Kingpin of Crime and wants FF on board. As token of goodwill, he offers to eliminate Spider-Girl. "I don't know about you, Bunky," FF says, "but I'm really starting to like this guy." Canis dispatches his men to prowl the city with orders to shoot on sight.

May, meanwhile, is having to dodge projectiles left and right. The first is a volleyball--slung from the hand of Brad Miller's jealous girlfriend Heather--which drills Courtney Duran square in the face. The second, after a later change to Spider-Girl, is a bullet. May barely avoids the shot, which then punches through the window of an office building. Panicked at the thought she may have cost someone their life, May swings over to find the building empty. That isn't enough to quell her fears, and she soon finds herself confiding in Normie Osborn. He tries to comfort her and the two nearly kiss.

Still shaken about what happened--and what NEARLY happened--May soon finds herself responding to the sound of gunfire. Donning her costume, she hops a roof to find the new Spider-Man "mishandling" a stranger. Spider-Man tells her the guy took a shot at him in error: she was the target. "According to Chatty Charlie here, some big-shot gang lord put a bounty on you." The bounty hunters arrive immediately thereafter, precisely on cue.

The two Spiders leap into the fray, taking down the gunmen with little problem. The arrival of Funny Face quickly changes the odds. Spider-Man is too inexperienced, and Spider-Girl's too busy worrying about innocents getting caught in the crossfire. The two eventually start to work together, and Funny Face leaves before he can be captured.

Later, Funny Face returns to Canis, who is chagrined at the defeat of his men. "Don't be too harsh with them, Canis. They tried their best, but the girl's certainly a handful. Wouldn't be any fun if she wasn't. If your offer is still on the table, Bunky and I accept."

General Comments

It seems it was just last month I was wishing for the return of Crazy Eight. Wait, it WAS last month. But the return of his little brother is good enough for me. (Next time I need to ask for money.)

Am I crazy, or did this issue feel like the start of something big. We've got a mysterious stalker (with no Howard Mackie to futz it up), the introduction of a new crime boss who could either emerge as the new Kingpin or spark a gang war, another look at the new Spider-Man, and the possibility of a relationship between May and Normie Osborn. Good stuff. I think May's going to have some rough going in the months ahead.

But enough about the future... what about THIS issue?

For starters, it's looking more and more like Funny Face has developed into Spider-Girl's primary nemesis, unless Normie flips his lid and dons the fright mask one more time. I like it, to be honest: FF's a good character and he's just psychotic enough to be fun. We didn't see enough of Canis to get a clear impression of him, but I'm hopeful.

Then there's the question of May's love life. Normie Osborn? Ehhhh, I don't know about this one. There's certainly no guarantee that their "moment" will lead to anything, but it wouldn't surprise me if they tried. Color me skeptical.

What gave this issue its wings was May holding back on her powers. It reminded me of Peter David's outstanding Sin Eater stories. May, reacting unconsciously to her spider sense, dodges a ball that hits her friend and dodges a bullet that could have killed a random bystander. Later, she's so afraid of cutting loose that she nearly gets herself killed. The same thing happened to Peter when he faced the Sin Eater, except that the bullet he dodged DID kill an innocent person. Those of you familiar with the story know that Spider-Man later catches the Sin Eater and nearly beats him to death, the reality of which prevents him from cutting loose against Electro, nearly getting HIM killed. Excellent parallel. Danger will always follow in Spider-Man/Spider-Girl's footsteps. Sometimes innocent people will be hurt.

And I still think Spider-Man's mother is Felicia Hardy.

Overall Rating

Nothing too special, but a good read and a good setup for the next batch of stories. Three webs.