Comics : Spider-Girl #21

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Phil Urich wants to get back in the superhero game, and Spider-Girl is more than willing to teach him. But when one of their Ladyhawk allies is seriously injured, does the Golden Goblin have what it takes to bring him to justice? And the moment of choice has arrived for young May: Brad or JJ?

In Detail...

"Earthshaker!"
Spider-Girl #21
Jun 2000 : SM Spin-Off
Editor:  Mike Marts
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Pat Olliffe
Inker:  Al Williamson
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Review

After so many months of being taught by her Uncle Phil--as well as her father--May has her webbed hands full now that she's the one giving the lessons. Her student: Phil Urich, who is anxious to begin patrolling the city as the Golden Goblin. After all of his support, May feels that she should help her uncle. At the same time, she worries about the dangers inherent in the life of a superhero. Her concern is borne out as one of the Ladyhawks is brutally beaten by an unknown assailant.

May knows nothing of this until she runs into Moose Mansfield the next day. Telling her about Ladyhawk, Moose admits to worrying about Spider-Girl, whom he still believes is Courtney Duran. "I know you don't believe she's secretly Spider-Girl... but I can't take the chance that she isn't! I really like her!" While May is left pondering what to do about Moose's deulsion, Davida reminds May that she has a personal decision of her own to make. Will she go to the dance with Brad or JJ? May brushes her off, muttering something about getting to an aerobics class. Davida clearly doesn't buy the excuse.

Making matters worse for May is the problem with Ladyhawk's attacker, whom she identified as "Earthshaker." The remaining 'Hawk admits that the man is out of her power class and wants to bring in some help. Uncle Phil brushes off the notion, saying that this would best be handled by the three of them, much to Spider-Girl's chagrin. But the worst is yet to come, however, for when May returns to school she finds Davida and Brad together. Hugging each other. Without waiting for an explanation she storms off, nearly plowing JJ in the process.

Later that day, Spider-Girl has decided to enlist some backup no matter what Phil thinks. But on the way to the Fantastic Five headquarters she sees an enormously large man crashing through the front window of a jewelry store, gold trinkets in his pocket and unconscious security guards in his wake. Earthshaker, I presume? May jumps in, delivering a few well-placed kicks and webbing his arms together. Earthshaker promptly snaps her webbing and quickly gains the upper hand, boasting that his crime spree is only an attempt to gain publicity for a future job with the "Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation." (And here I was hoping that professional wrestling wouldn't last. Oh well.) Spider-Girl is given a reprieve by the arrival of the Golden Goblin and the second Ladyhawk, yet Earthshaker manages to hold his own against the three of them until Goldie cuts loose with his lunatic laugh. Too stunned to avoid a stream of Spidey's webbing as his feet are glued in place, Earthshaker falls under a barrage from May and Ladyhawk both. May is obviously relieved, yet concerned about her uncle's safety. After a long talk, she convinces him to give up the Goblin identity, at least for the time being.

At school the next morning May is greeted by a near-frantic Davida who, with Brad in tow, explain that nothing is going on between them and that she was just encouraging Brad to ask May out. Brad's heart sinks at the appearance of JJ, however, who gleefully announces that May agreed to go with him to the dance the night before. Ouch...

In General...

I admit it, I thought Brad would be the lucky winner. I just don't trust JJ, I suppose, but May's got a good head on her shoulders. If the Spawn of Jonah turns out to be a complete jerk I doubt he'll last long. Moose and Courtney really do make a cute couple, though.

Another fun issue, albeit with a rather blah bad guy. I don't see too many reunion bouts with Earthshaker in issues to come, but as a throwaway villain he was pretty good. He certainly gave Phil Urich's Not-Quite-Fantastic Four a run for their money. I also think that shelving the Golden Goblin is the correct move at this point. It's there if he needs it, but having Phil hop on the glider on a regular basis would be a distraction. Plus, I like him as in the teacher/mentor role. As a superhero he's just got kind of a "same old, same old" feel to him.

As for May's menage a trois, you've got to wonder how she really feels about Brad and JJ. Brad has been the object of her affection since the beginning, but what role does JJ play? Is she really interested in him or is she using him to make Brad jealous? And what about Davida? She obviously didn't believe May's aerobics story. What does she suspect? Does Moose really care for Courtney, or is he just infatuated with the idea of dating someone he thinks is Spider-Girl? Tune in to the next installment of "All My Spider-Children..." Seriously, I like the latest plot developments in May's supporting cast. Her out-of-costume interaction is one of the major strengths of this book and they really take center stage this issue (we all knew Earthshaker would get whupped, after all). Now if someone would just tell me whatever happened to Jimmy Yama...

That's about all I have to say, except I want to take this opportunity to plead once again for the arrival of some really cool bad guys. Earthshaker, when all is said and done, turned out to be just like every other professional wrestler I've seen (all two of them): nothing but talk.

Overall Rating...

Good story. I'll give it four webs but I want to see some really powerful supervillains pronto. Get on with it, DeFalco! :)