Spider-Girl #39

Background

In the wake of last issue's surprising revelations, can May Parker hang on while her life begins to burst at the seams? Especially with a gang war raging behind the scenes?

Story 'Duty Calls!'

  Spider-Girl #39
Summary: New Spider-Man
Editor: Matt Hicks, Tom Brevoort
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Chris Batista
Inker: Livesay

Spider-Girl has been busy lately. The gang war between the Kingpin and the mysterious Canis is weeks old, and her best attempts to quell it have barely slowed the tide. As this issue opens, she finds herself fighting next to the new Spider-Man. Canis' foot soldiers barely slow May down, but the new Spidey catches a bullet and begins to panic:

"I... I've been shot! I'M BLEEDING! M-my arm could become infected, and... oh God!" He swings off, leaving May to wonder what just happened.

Upon returning to the sanitarium, May reluctantly listens to Phil and Normie and decides to take a break from crime fighting. Her "normal" life, however, proves to be no less complicated when she stumbles across Jimmy Yama and Heather Noble, who's cheating on mutual friend Brad Miller. May confronts Jimmy, who tells her in no uncertain terms to mind her own business. (Is this the same guy that was practically licking her boots when this series started? Ay!) After a brief, evasive run-in with Brad, May heads home to spend some time with her newly-pregnant Mom. MJ, however, already has plans for the day. "No problem.... Any chance you know where I could find Dad?"

The man in question is currently talking with Julia Carpenter, the former-Spider-Woman II. She comes clean about the new Spider-Man's true identity: he is the son of Jessica Drew, the first Spider-Woman. Diagnosed with a rare blood disease, the boy was subjected to the same treatment that saved Jessica's life when she was younger. Unfortunately, while the treatment gave her son spider powers, it didn't cure him. And according to Julia, "that boy is a danger to himself... and everyone around him!"

Meanwhile, May's day keeps circling the drain. She and Davida run into Jack Jameson, much to the dismay of Nancy Lu, who has been seen frequently with J.J. in the last few issues. J.J., however, refers to May as "my girl." Later, after arriving at Midtown High, Coach Thompson pulls her aside to congratulate her on "cozying up to [Nancy] and recruiting her for our basketball team." Guess who manages to overhear yet ANOTHER conversation? May, sickened by the misunderstanding, tries to find Nancy, even blowing off a plea from Courtney Duran to help Jimmy (who's secret is out at last.) May finally catches up to Nancy, who doesn't even listen to her. Slamming May into a row of lockers with her telekinetic powers, Nancy Lu runs off to leave her lying in a stunned heap.

On the gang war front, Phil "Green Goblin" Urich interrupts another meeting between Crazy Eight and Funny Face only to find himself beaten within an inch of his life. But far more serious is the plight of Mary Jane. During a casual lunch with long time friend Felicia Hardy, MJ collapses to the floor with a scream.

General Comments

The title of this issue could have been "The Ol' Parker Luck," because it is in full force here. Let's see, in one issue May manages to alienate several of her friends and make little progress against the gang war while "Uncle" Phil gets thrashed and her mother collapses from an unknown ailment. Even in his heyday, Peter Parker would be hard-pressed to have a worse day. Maybe that's why I liked this issue.

After several months spent focusing on May in the costume, issue #39 devotes most of its time to May's personal life. After this story, she doesn't have much of one left. The tiff with Nancy Lu was predictable--considering they share the same guy to some extent, it was doubtful that these two would truly become friends. The one who surprised me was Jimmy Yama. Definitely a bit of "I no longer worship you, so bite me!" motivation in that lad (not that I speak from personal experience, of course. :) ) But overall, this guy does not have a real grasp of his own mortality: first he spends his time lording over freshmen and bragging about beating up Moose, now he's stepping out with Brad's girlfriend? This guy's an ER visit waiting to happen.

Finally we get to learn the identity of the new Spider-Man. And thankfully, it WASN'T Felicia Hardy's son. That would have been way too easy (although it still raised intriguing possibilities as to the father.) As for who he actually IS, well, I have a problem with anybody that fragile fighting crime. Are we honestly supposed to believe that Jessica Drew would let her son play at being Spider-Man--let alone encourage him--if he's in that much danger? Might as well let a kid allergic to beestings harvest honey for a living. It's an interesting idea, but not very realistic.

Pregnancy? Serious illness? Why not both? Glad to see there are a few Spider-writers that haven't blocked out everything from before the relaunch. I hate to see MJ suffer and wonder where this is going, but complications with her pregnancy are a good thing plotwise. Like I said last time: they got lucky with May. Will they this time?

Overall Rating

Good story. Too bad none of the major characters were enjoying it with me. Nice fill-in art by Batista and Livesay, but I want the regular crew back. They've spoiled me. Three and a half webs.