Seth and the Soldiers of the Serpent have been defeated, little Benjamin Parker is a happy, healthy newborn, and Spider-Girl is trying to come to grips with everything that has happened. Sound like a good place to end the series? Well, that was the idea, anyway....
The story opens with May cuddling her new baby brother. Mary Jane arrives and asks May if she is going to school. After taking a few days off to rest up from her battle with Seth and spend time with Benjy, May agrees that it's time. MJ pulls her into the bathroom and puts on enough makeup to hide the bulk of the cuts and bruises. On her way out the door, May runs into her father who says that "it's time we all sat down... and had a serious heart-to-heart about your future."
May lets her mind wander on the way to school, wondering if she's been a failure as a super hero. Upon her arrival, she walks into the bathroom to check her makeup and is approached by a girl named Sandra Heally whom she knows from her history class. "Was it your father or your boyfriend?" Before May can figure out what Sandra is talking about, the girl flees. Putting the pieces together, May realizes that Sandra was asking if she was a fellow abuse victim.
Badly wanting to help, May spends the rest of the day talking to JJ, Brad, a spousal abuse clinic and (in full workout) the Ladyhawks, trying to get a handle on Sandra's boyfriend in particular and abuse in general. She doesn't end up with much to go on, but learns that the Ladyhawks' father was abusive, and that one of the women had to end up with him when their parents divorced. Not wanting to give up, May confronts Sandra again and is rebuffed. "Okay, so maybe you're not ready... yet. There's no expiration date on my offer. We'll talk... eventually."
Possibly frustrated (or perhaps emboldened?) by her attempts to help Sandra, May decides to work on the other big unresolved problem in her life. Returning to the Web Site, she surprises Normie Osborn, who has been doing some thinking of his own since May lip-locked with him a few issues back. May apologizes, saying that she made a mistake, and really hopes the two of them can get past it. Normie kisses her on the forehead. "I'll always be there for you, kid."
May returns home to find her parents waiting for her. The dreaded "talk" has arrived, but May is pleasantly surprised to find that her parents have accepted her as a superhero, even going so far as to replace the costume that Seth trashed. May hugs them, and then swings out into the night as Spider-Girl. "Okay, so maybe it's no longer a Spider-Girl world, and you'll never be known as one of the truly great super heroes. But you're done all right for yourself, girl. Better than anyone ever imagined. And, at least for now, the snickering has finally stopped!
And so, Spider-Girl has come to grips with her life, has her parents' blessing, and is content with who she is and what she has become. Fade out. Or not.
This issue was obviously intended to be the final issue of Spider-Girl (again) and would have been were it not for the fans that saved it from cancellation (again). It's a shame that this book has been riding the razor's edge for so long. Despite some rough patches, Spider-Girl is a generally strong book with a well-rounded, believable female lead. You don't see that very often in a comic book.
Getting back to the issue at hand, it was okay. Nothing special, but then it was clearly intended to end the series and should be taken that way. It's got to be frustrating for Tom DeFalco and the others working on this book to be told to wrap up the loose ends every year or so only to wind up continuing the book. As a result, ideas like Sandra Heally which were probably intended to be left open-ended now have to be dealt with. I liked May's reaction with Sandra and thought both characters were portrayed well. I just wonder what's coming next. Don't forget about this girl, Mr. DeFalco.
Otherwise, a nice issue that had May and her parents coming to grips with her decision to be Spider-Girl. I just wonder how many times we're going to see that happen. Again, this was supposed to be the final issue, but we've lived through enough of these "final issues" that they're becoming more than a tad repetitive.
Once again, Spider-Girl avoids the axe, and turns what would have been the last issue into a decent one-shot. Three webs.