Comics : Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #5

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This story is part of an Arc: "Origin of Spider-Woman Number Four... or Five"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

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.

In Detail...

"The Trouble With Girls"
Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #5
May 1999 : SMURF 446.600 : SM Title
Summary: Black Cat, Spider Women
Arc: Part 2 of "Origin of Spider-Woman Number Four... or Five"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Howard Mackie
Pencils:  Bart Sears
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  Bart Sears
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Articles: Aunt May Parker, Betty Brant, Black Cat, Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn) (FB, Cameo), Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Spider-Woman III (Franklin)

Peter goes on the run with Mattie (Spider-Woman Three) and ends up at the Black Cat's place. Mary-Jane is looking real buff as she works out at home. I mean real buff. Like something out of X-Force, or Image Comics. A phone call really upsets her, someone from her and Peter's past returning to haunt them. MJ goes to hunt Peter, but can't find him.

Hey, just an observation, but every woman in these comics (with the exception of Aunt May) is massively busty, has perfect legs and hair, and dresses fantastically all the time (except when they're mostly undressed, or freshly beaten-up by some villain). Wierd, isn't it! I just noticed how bad it was getting. The young guys who read these comics are going to be mighty confused when they put down those comics and step out into modern America where 26% of women over 30 years of age are clinically obese, 12% are unhealthily underweight, and the rest just don't give a damn.

Just an observation. Anyhow, Spider-Woman Four (the bad one in the awful costume) turns up at Black Cat's place, but the three heroes sort her out for now. Peter lands a tracer. Oh, in the middle there's some MarvelAngst (tm) about Mattie and her dad, and her Mom, and hospitals, and... well nothing important.

In General...

Some average stuff. Some terrible moments! The Spider-Woman is a terrible, terrible villain. I know we wanted some new faces, but... this is just tragic. Byrne and Mackie must have dropped into the office after a couple two many at the local bar. Shame the editors can't recognise a joke when it's handed to them.

And 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.

Overall Rating...

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.