Spider-Girl #43

Background

Spider-Girl has assembled her very own super team--the Green Goblin, Raptor, The Buzz, the Ladyhawks, and Normie Osborn--to take down Funny Face and his mother. But is this a fight that can be won through brute force? And how can Peter Parker convince the new Spider-Man to lay down the webs before he dies?

Story 'A Separate Peace'

  Spider-Girl #43
Summary: Spider-Girl's Team, Peter Back In Costume
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Pat Olliffe
Inker: Al Williamson

Spider-Girl and company have been scouring the mean streets of New York for hours in an effort to find Angel Face and Funny Face. Their efforts are for naught until Ladyhawk catches someone "trying to set a new distance record in the thug toss!" Normie, who is coordinating the group from the Web Site, orders them in, bringing them face to face with Spider-Man and his reluctant partner Darkdevil. Spidey and DD blow them off when they suggest an alliance, and the two groups go their separate ways. Spider-Girl's group continues to search, and soon surprises the Faces in a random bookie parlor.

While this is happening, the Kingpin of Crime and Canis have agreed to a meeting at Rykers Island prison, where the Kingpin is currently being held. The two agree that the Faces' rampage is strangling their everyday business affairs, and settle on a truce. The Kingpin tells Canis that his employee Mr. Nobody has been fired due to recent events--"and he is no longer under my protection." The news pleases Canis, who leaves satisfied with the arrangements. The Kingpin, however, is already beginning to plan his next move.

The aforementioned Mr. Nobody is having a much worse day. Frantically gathering money that he has stashed, Nobody is preparing to "discuss my severance package with a certain fat man" until he is ambushed by Spider-Man and Darkdevil. Spidey moves in for the kill, but is caught off guard by Nobody's intangibility, and he and Darkdevil both are quickly overwhelmed. Nobody prepares to pull the trigger when he's knocked unconscious by... Spider-Man?

The new Spider-Man flies into a rage at the newcomer, but Darkdevil clues him in as to the man's identity. "He has every right to that costume. It is HIS after all." Spidey II is stunned, but recovers quickly as he realizes that his boyhood hero--the one, true Spider-Man--is standing in front of him. "I'm your bigges fan! You can't imagine what this means to me. Could I have your autograph?" Darkdevil takes advantage of the opportunity to leave, and the two Spiders are left to talk. Peter reveals that he knows Spidey II's secret identity, and asks him for help in saving a young man's life. He then convinces him to submit himself to Reed Richards for medical treatments.

Spider-Girl's group, meanwhile, has proven to be no match for the Faces. Spider-Girl herself is quickly finds her self alone with Angel Face, leaving Funny Face and a few of Canis' goons (with more bravado than common sense) to handle the rest of the crew. FF dispatches them in short order.

But Spider-Girl has managed to hold her own with Angel Face, and as the fight continues, she begins to reason with her. "I failed [Crazy Eight], and failed myself, and you can't imagine how much that haunts me. But THIS won't bring him back!" May quickly gets the upper hand, pummeling AF into a brick wall while desperately trying to convince her to stop the violence. And suddenly May's frantic words seem to strike a chord with the grieving mother, and she asks Spider-Girl to "make her an offer I can't refuse."

Spider-Girl does, agreeing to let the pair go free if they leave the city and give up their lives of crime. The rest of her crew react to the deal with shock and dismay (no pun intended) that Spider-Girl would willingly let a pair of psychotic criminals go free. One by one they leave until only Raptor remains. She tries to comfort Spider-Girl, but when asked if letting the Faces go was a mistake, all she can say is: "big time."

Later, May is still struggling to accept what she's done when she runs into Nancy Lu. May tries to blow her off, but Nancy apologizes for her earlier behavior. Disarmed by the apology, May tells her that everyone makes mistakes.

General Comments

Eh, not sure what to make of this one. Last issue paralleled the theme of Amazing Spider-Man #18. This one invites comparisons with a much more recent story: ASM #375, where Peter made a truce with Venom after saving his ex-wife. If Spider-Man left him alone, Venom would leave Spidey alone. The main difference is that that particular plot development served only to set up the Venom limited series, but May's bargain is a real head-scratcher.

I agree--and recent events have certainly borne this out--that violence goes in cycles. The Irish have been fighting for centuries over barely-remembered crimes because each side wants to strike the winning blow. But letting criminals and murderers free is no solution to the problem, something that May just found out the hard way. Peter Parker would have had too much responsibility to let someone like Funny Face go free (which makes his bargain with Venom that much more contrived, but I digress). May doesn't seem to have that level of responsibility yet. She made a mistake. Chalk it up to youthful naivetee and hope it doesn't come back to haunt her. What am I saying? She's a Parker, OF COURSE it will!

Is it just me, or has Funny Face changed significantly since his brother's death? Flip back to an earlier appearance and you'll see a goony, goofy guy who talks to his hand puppet and seems more happy-go-lucky than dangerous. THIS Funny Face--while he still has the hand puppet and still cracks wise every chance he gets--is more focused, more vicious, and more dangerous. Not one line to "Bunky" in the whole issue. It's a change for the better, and it's good to see some character development going on. Funny Face just might be a truly good character yet.

Any appearance by Peter as Spider-Man is a good thing as far as I'm concerned, although this issue's was fairly brief. Smart thinking on his part; the real Spider-Man was probably the only person on the planet with a chance of getting through Gerald Drew's head. I am, however, kind of surprised that he'd be putting on the webs one issue after barely being able to leave his sick wife's side. MJ was NOT thrilled by this latest turn of events. But then, I guess some things never change.

BTW, if May's "Newer Warriors" can get soundly thrashed by ONE GUY, maybe it's time to consider a career change. "All-Losers Squad" is right!

Overall Rating

I'll give this one three and a half webs not in spite of May's mistake, but because of it. It was, I feel, the wrong move for her character to make, but I liked it anyway. Go fig.