If you've been half-watching, you would know that a young teenage girl named Mattie Franklin picked up some power at the Gathering of The Five a few months back, and started kicking around in a padded suit, taking over the gap left by Peter Parker Spider-Man when he hung up the webs about the same time.
Well... she's had enough of sharing the glory, and she's reinvented herself as Spider-Woman... the third, after the original Jessica Drew (now a private eye in Madripoor, and Julia Carpenter, now a solo mother on the West Coast. Both of the former Spider-Women, by the way, have been mysteriously attacked.
Then last issue we saw yet another Spider-Woman in the mix. This is just getting silly now.
|Cover Art:||John Byrne|
Peter is starting to feel guilty over lying to MJ, not telling her that he is wearing the webs again. The strange phone calls keep coming.
Spider-Man meets Spider-Woman The Fourth in an alley. She is clearly not all bad, and she tries to resist some external influence which appears to be responsible for her actions - however she can't reveal who. She takes Peter by surprise, and captures him.
JJJ and Marla visit Mattie in hospital. As they depart, she is then visited by Madame Web, who has been rejuvinated from the gift of youth she received at the Gathering of The Five.
Peter comes 'round, upside-down, wrapped in psychic-webbing in a laboratory occupied by Spider-Woman and... Doctor Octopus! Yep, seems he took a fashion designer (with a dark side), played with her genes and personality to create a creature who, unclothed, looks a lot like the fairie form of Meggan from Excalibur.
Doc Ock commands Spider-Woman to kill Petey, but he breaks free, and it appears that they have some strange interaction... she, the female spider, can partly mesmerise him... while she is unable to drain his powers, and he seems resistant to her 'psionic webbing'.
Spidey escapes, smashes window of underwater base in the East River, all escape to fight another day.
Conclusion: Peter arrives at beauty salon to pick up MJ and Aunt May. Aunt May has had three face-lifts and intensive steroid and hormone treatment. Looks 40 years younger. Another six months of Byrne and you're gonna have to check for the cameo brooch to tell her apart from the Black Cat!
Second Conclusion: Flash is in trouble.
Average stuff, with the occasional terrible moment!
Don't even get me started on the Aunt May makeover. Oh, and Aunt May doesn't seem to mind semi-naked, very buff MJ's prancing around the place... very modern for an 85 year old! And Peter seems to be regressing... and how the heck does MJ not know what's going on... Peter turns up... no cab in sight... he's sweaty from three hours of web-swinging... he's always late, he's not at the Bugle. Gee... what is he up to?
And... what the HECK is Peter doing not turning up for his high-tech job? This is soooooo stupid.
Let me see... your aunt and uncle save every penny to help you get a decent education and a college degree... you have an extra-ordinary scientific talent... and out of the blue you score fantastic job at one of the highest-prestige think-tanks in the country where they think you're God's gift to experimental leading-edge science...
...so of course you decide to just flick them off for dead-end job earning rat-droppings at a newspaper belonging to a bigot who hates you and treats you like said rodent-excrement... just because... well... because you're clinically stupid.
Oh, and the Black Cat is still sweet on Spidey? That's rather sadly two-dimensional. And then the banal throw-away tragic stuff to give Mattie a bit of depth. Still, Mackie knows his trade, and is putting in the ground-work for future stories. If only they turn out to be a little less sloppily constructed than these ones.
Without the tragic bits, a cleanly woven story like this might be three or three and a bit webs worth - but the Devil is in the detail (or in the living room, if you're Dr Strange) and the execution was majorly flawed. Can't justify more than a couple of webs here.