Comics : Spider-Girl #41

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

After last month's shocking ending, Spider-Girl must figure out a way to recover from a death she helped cause. This month's story also ties in to Marvel's company-wide "silent month," in which the stories are told without any dialogue or plot exposition.

In Detail...

"Funeral for a Fiend"
Spider-Girl #41
Feb 2002 : SM Spin-Off
Summary: 'Nuff Said - Silent Issue (Crazy Eight Buried)
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Plot:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Pat Olliffe
Inker:  Al Williamson
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Review

The story begins with a bored-looking medical examiner receiving a rude shock. The latest body bag to cross her examining table contains the dead body of Crazy Eight, still in makeup and uniform. Regaining her composure, the M.E. removes the black curly wig, wipes off the makeup, and removes the costume. Soon, this larger-than-life supervillain is nothing more than an average-looking dead guy. She processes the body, which is soon buried.

Back at the "Website," the secret headquarters of Spider-Girl, the Green Goblin, and Normie Osborn, a furious May Parker is taking out her frustrations on whatever is handy. She finally stops, barely holding herself together, but then collapses into Normie's arms, sobbing. Eventually, she makes her way home to Forest Hills. Nancy Lu is waiting for her, obviously wanting to talk, but May blows her off. Normie, meanwhile, heads to the hospital to check on Mary Jane. Peter is there, and the two have a momentary standoff. Soon, however, they are shaking hands. Then embracing, as a very relieved MJ looks on.

In a scene that neatly parallels May's, Funny Face is raging behind Canis Kennels, home to New York's newest crime boss. When destruction isn't enough to satisfy his pain, he flees to Ravencroft, breaking in and ripping down the cell door of a straitjacketed woman, apparently his mother. He cuts her free, then falls into her lap sobbing his eyes out.

The new Spider-Man, meanwhile, is also having trouble dealing with last issue's events. Finally, he decides to take the fight to Canis directly, and finds him cleaning up the mess Funny Face's tirade left. (Carrying a crate that looks far too heavy for any normal person to lift.) Spider-Man swings into the yard and is promptly clocked. Canis begins to hit him again and again until someone catches his hand. That someone is Spider-Girl, who saw some reference to the event on TV (see my comments on this below). The two stare at each other until Canis offers her Spider-Man's unconscious body. She takes it and swings off to a nearby rooftop. Spider-Man eventually awakens, but rejects May's offer of help and leaves.

The next morning, May (as Spider-Girl) is spotted leaving flowers on Crazy Eight's grave. He is buried only under the name "Crazy Eight," as his real name is unknown. May slowly walks away.

In General...

As far as gimmicks go, I like this one a lot more than gatefold, holographic, foil covers or anything else that jacks up the price of a comic two or three times more than it rates. Not something I'd want to see on a regular basis, of course, but considering the reflective mood of the story-showing how the characters react to CE's death-an issue with no dialogue fits well. Kudos to Olliffe and Williamson for drawing a very descriptive story. My one complaint is the TV news bulletin that sends May to Canis Kennels in time to save Spider-Man's life. On the TV, all they are showing is Crazy Eight. How does May watch that, then figure out that she needs to pay Canis a visit? That was the lone instance where the drawing doesn't pull its weight, but doesn't really detract from the story.

Okay, I know I'm supposed to recognize Funny Face's mother, but I'm drawing a blank here. Anyone care to help a clueless (yet earnest) reviewer here?

Out of necessity, very little of the overall plot is developed here. The sole exception is Canis, who is definitely more than your average crime boss (even one that looks a little TOO much like his wolves for my liking.) Show me a man who can lift crates THAT big and smack Spider-Man around like a rag doll and I'll show you a man who will cause Spider-Girl even more trouble in the months to come.

Overall Rating...

This issue shows just how good Pat Olliffe and Al Williamson can be. For the sake of all Spider-Girl readers, I hope they stay on this book for a long time to come. Four webs.