Comics : Spider-Girl #52

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

May Parker has had it with her double life and quit her career as the sensational Spider-Girl. While people like Felicity Hardy wonder what happened to her, and her friends wonder what's wrong with her, who could possibly persuade May to return to the webs?

In Detail...

"Seize the Day!"
Spider-Girl #52
Dec 2002 : SM Spin-Off
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Ron Frenz
Inker:  Al Williamson
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Review

Spider-Girl has disappeared from the scene, but the Scarlet Spider seems more than willing to pick up the slack. Decked out in a spiffy new costume, Scarlet (a/k/a Felicity Hardy) tears into a helpless Apox while the grateful Avengers can only watch in admiration. But soon, the fantasy fades away and all that's left is a bewildered Felicity sitting on her bed wondering what happened to Spider-Girl.

The ex-super hero is having some troubles of her own. An offhand remark about Alison Mongrain and Kaine--whom she is secretly planning to meet later that afternoon--freaks out her pregnant mother to no end. All but ordered out of the house, May goes to school where her life is faring no better. Jack Jameson wants to date her, but she knows about his secret identity as The Buzz and wants nothing to do with him. Brad Miller believes he is already in a relationship with May, but she is still unsure about her feelings toward him. Naturally, she runs into both boys that morning, but blows them off in a rush to meet Kaine and Mongrain.

Kaine, meanwhile, is currently getting throttled by the Scarlet Spider. The Avengers--who again are left to do nothing but watch in awe--gush over how Scarlet has defeated every one of Spider-Girl's old enemies. "Whatever happened to her anyway?" The fantasy fades again, and Felicity is left sitting on a park bench. "She just... disappeared."

Later, May meets up with Kaine and Mongrain, and the older woman talks to her for a long time, explaining how she came to love May despite kidnapping her. As May is leaving, Kaine thanks her for coming. "I don't even know why I care," May says. "The woman put my family through Hell. And you... everyone says you're an amoral miscreant who used to torment my Dad and my Uncle Ben." "It's true," Kaine replies. "I'm as bad as you heard. And worse. But I'm trying. That's one of the qualities I've always admired about your father, and I'm glad to see that he passed it on to you. You believe in redemption and think everyone deserves a second chance." "Not everyone," May thinks as she leaves, more confused that ever.

At the Web Site, Phil Urich and Normie Osborn are discussing Peter's abrupt re-retirement. Normie can't get his mind off Blackie Drago, who is now in prison (currently summoned to a meeting with a balding man in a tie and sweater vest who is promising her the chance "to make amends.") Just then, Normie's cell phone rings. It's Darkdevil, and he asks to speak to May on an urgent matter. Normie forwards the call to May, who is in no mood for another chiding.

The Scarlet Spider, meanwhile, is in no mood for ANYTHING. Sick and tired of discussing Spider-Girl, who "used me like a cheap accessory," Scarlet rips into the Avengers, but pulls up short when she hears a familiar voice. Spider-Girl has returned, and apologetically wants to be partners again. Felicity doesn't answer.

While this is happening, May's attempts to dodge Darkdevil fail, and she reluctantly meets him on the roof of a building. Expecting the worst, May's jaw drops when Darkdevil tells her she's been doing well lately. He pulls out the Spider-Girl costume May threw away, thinking it's a duplicate. "No need to thank me. It's just my way of showing you that I think you've grown as a super hero. I've been on your back ever since you first donned your webs. It's only because I wanted you to succeed.... You've made some mistakes--quite a few of them actually--but that's okay. You always try your best. That's all anyone can ask of you." Darkdevil leaves, and a bemused May picks up her costume and stuffs it into her backpack. "Looks like everyone is entitled to a second chance."

In General...

Well, I wasn't expecting May's retirement to be that short, but the first time Peter ditched the webs he unretired by the end of the issue, so I suppose May's entitled to change her mind again this early.

Kaine and Alison have sure become fast friends, haven't they? Wasn't it just a few issues ago that he was ready to stop her by any means necessary? To be honest, I wonder where Tom DeFalco is going with this plotline. He can't just leave those two hanging around without doing anything with them, but what's coming? Could there actually be a reconciliation between Alison, Kaine, and the Parker family?

Felicity Hardy's issue-long fantasizing was fun and believable. I also like the new costume and hope to see it in the future--Felicity's never going to make much of an impression in someone else's duds. The thing I'm wondering is who is she angrier at, May or herself? Reading her dialogue--"she couldn't deal with the constant danger and awesome responsibilities"--it's pretty clear that she's talking about herself at least as much as she is May. Felicity hasn't pulled on the costume since Kaine nearly killed her, after all. This young woman looks like she'll be in for a rough time before things get any better. Which is a definite step up from the awe-struck sidekick routine.

Someone should teach Darkdevil the meaning of "constructive criticism." He may have come through for May this time, but there's a reason why she was trying to avoid him all issue long. Whatever else Reilly Tyne might be, master motivator ain't it.

Not a bad issue, and while I'm surprised that May has gone back to the webs so quickly, I'm relieved that this plotline was wrapped up so quickly. We KNEW May would become Spider-Girl again sooner or later just like we knew her father couldn't keep from pulling on the webs again. No point in trying to pretend otherwise.

Overall Rating...

May's back in action, with more troubles in her personal life and a sometime ally facing her own moment of truth. Good stuff. Four webs.