Comics : Amazing Spider-Girl #20

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This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

May befriended Sara Hingle when her mutant powers manifested themselves several months ago. Now her friendship with Sara could drag her into the ongoing conflict between human- and mutantkind. (And no, despite Ron Frenz' cover, May has not yet joined the cheerleading squad.)

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Girl #20
Jul 2008 : SM Spin-Off
Editor:  Molly Lazer
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Ron Frenz
Inker:  Sal Buscema
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Early one morning, Peter and May are whipping up a batch of web fluid. May muses what it would be like to have organic webbing, and her father rejects the idea as "disgusting." (My, how things have changed in the Spider-Man universe.) As the two of them wrap things up, she asks her father if she has told MJ about Ben's super powers. Peter admits that he hasn't, blaming the craziness around the Parker household of late. The two head downstairs for breakfast, and May stuns both of her parents by mentioning that she was considering joining the dance squad.

Davida Kirby is even less receptive to the idea when May arrives at school, and takes the opportunity to gripe about May's boyfriend, Gene Thompson. Even Courtney can't come up with any reasons why the two should be dating, and Davida rests her case. As she arrives at her locker, she's approached by a group representing "Humanity First" about forming a new club at school. As V.P. Slattery later informs MJ, Humanity First is a hate group that targets mutants and believes their next targets are public high schools. MJ knows nothing but promises to keep him informed. Little does she know that a meeting of Humanity First is taking place at an abandoned church, led by a bespectacled blond-haired lady who exhorts her audience to come forward about any mutant sightings. A young man in the crowd mentions Sara Hingle, and she asks him for more information.

May, meanwhile, runs into Sara Hingle but blows her off when Gene Thompson arrives with a rose. She promises to watch him practice, but has to cancel when MJ needs her to babysit Benjy. May heads home, but catches a tingle from her spider sense. The stalker has returned, following her in a dark brown overcoat, and May decides enough is enough. Before she can confront the stalker, however, a group of people in Humanity First ski masks (merchandising is so important) gets to her first and sprays something in her face. Spider-Girl snatches her up to the rooftops with a webline and pulls the hood of the stalker's jacket back to reveal... Sara Hingle. Before Spider-Girl can figure it out, the Humanity First lowlifes are caught in a cyclone. "Sara's still out," Spider-Girl thinks. "If SHE isn't causing this windstorm--"

Out of the cyclone come two... interesting women calling themselves Impact and Pirouette. Impact is dressed in dark leather and can expand any part of her body, whereas Pirouette is a blond-haired woman with eyepieces that can apparently manipulate the wind. The two tear into the thugs, forcing Spider-Girl to intervene to save their lives. Impact orders Pirouette to "check out the newbie," and Spider-Girl hits the rooftop in time to see Pirouette call Sara by name and cyclone off with her and Impact. After webbing the mouth shut of one of the Humanity First thugs she saved, Spider-Girl follows them to Sara's house, where they say they will contact her and fly away. Spider-Girl declines to follow them, noting that Sara is safe and she's late to get home to babysit.

Peter, meanwhile, has followed up on a suggestion of May's and has contacted Normie Osborn. Normie tells him that he has recovered an artifact of his grandfather's and needs to see him about it. Peter agrees, and Normie takes him into a chamber deep below Oscorp Chemical, telling him how his trip several months ago was not just a honeymoon but a survey of some of the properties he inherited from his grandfather. Stumbling across a hidden laboratory, Normie found something that he had to bring back to America with him. He shows a stunned Peter an unconscious woman in some sort of stasis tube, a woman who, per Peter, "looks exactly like my May." "According to my grandfather's diaries," Normie replies, "she is the real May Parker! The girl you raised, the one you THINK is your daughter, is actually the impostor!"

In General...

Mr. DeFalco, to paraphrase the Islamic terrorist in "Team America--World Police"" "you have balls... I like balls."

One of the things I have always appreciated about Spider-Girl is its willingness to reference the Clone Saga. Love it or hate it, the Clone Saga was an important event in Spider-Man history and the determination of the core titles to forget it ever happened was a mistake, IMHO. Yet in Spider-Girl we have seen references to the Scarlet Spider, the appearance of Clone Saga villains like the female Doctor Octopus, etc. Now we have the beginning of a similar storyline, and while it's too soon to say if it collapses under its own weight the way the first one did, I love the fact that Tom DeFalco is willing to try going this direction. I do think he's going to have to start using the C-word, though. Normie uses the word "impostor" in this issue, and when Peter told May Parker about her "Uncle" Ben in the previous series, he also didn't mention the word "clone." DeFalco is going to have to start using it here.

One potential problem here is that we already know how this story is going to end. It's very, VERY unlikely that Normie's latest discovery will turn out to be the real May--no way any of the spider books goes down that road again--so the writing and the stories will have to be awfully good to make up for it. Still, as I said before, I like that DeFalco is trying it for the simple reason that this is the kind of thing Norman Osborn WOULD do if he could.

As for the rest of the story, is there a doubt in anyone's minds that the leader of Humanity First and Pirouette are one and the same? Didn't think so. And I'm sorry, but Pirouette and her buddy Impact were just a little on the creepy side. I didn't enjoy those two at all, though I'll admit that using a group like HF to sniff out new mutants for recruiting is a good idea if done before (I remember an issue of Amazing Spider-Man from the late 80s where Spidey runs into some of the X-Men, who are using the cover of a group named X-Factor to accomplish the same goal; DeFalco wrote that issue.) It will be interesting to see how Sara Hingle reacts to their message after Spider-Girl was seen saving the lives of her attackers and after May Parker blew her off.

Last issue I asked for something to happen. This issue didn't disappoint. Next issue should be a doozy.

Overall Rating...

Loved the ending, didn't like the bad guys. We'll call this three and a half webs. Hopefully the upcoming storyline is a keeper.