Comics : Spider-Girl #56

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This story is part of an Arc: "Season of The Serpent"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

When we last left our intrepid hero, she had just seen her "Uncle" Phil apparently murdered at the hands of the leader of the Soldiers of the Serpent, then was tossed overboard and left to drown at the hands of said leader. Now, already weakened from battle and with only a three minutes before she runs out of air, how will Spider-Girl escape her latest predicament?

In Detail...

"Three Minutes!"
Spider-Girl #56
Mar 2003 : SM Spin-Off
Arc: Part 3 of "Season of The Serpent"
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Pat Olliffe
Inker:  Al Williamson
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Review

The story begins with Spider-Girl struggling to free herself from the anchor which is drowning her. She tries to break the bindings, but is too weak. Suddenly, she remembers her Uncle Phil who could be dead or dying after the Serpent leader's attack. "You can't fail him," she thinks. "You can't!" Unfortunately, every time she tries to break free, she loses too much air. Her head begins to spin, and she begins to picture Normie, her father and her mother. Gradually, Spider-Girl gathers her strength for one last attempt. She finally breaks free, then swims like mad for the surface and spins a web floatie to lie on and recover her strength.

Unbeknownst to Spider-Girl, Phil did survive the Serpent leader's blast--looking little the worse for wear considering the blow destroyed his glider--and phones Normie for backup. "I need you to round up the New Warriors and call the police."

Back on board the tanker, the Serpent leader is rebuffing suggestions that he leave the premises. "No power on earth can stop me now." Spider-Girl appears. "Wanna bet?" The Serpent leader laughs, removing his cowl and revealing himself to be "Seth, The Serpent God of Death!" Spider-Girl doesn't recognize him (hell, I didn't either) which sends him into a rage. Seth is about to attack Spider-Girl when another lackey arrives with the news that they are under attack. The Warriors have arrived. Seth reluctantly agrees to leave, but Spider-Girl leaps after him and begins to hit him as hard as she can. "I'm not afraid of you!" she cries. "I know," Seth replies, "and that is all that saves you. Death should be feared, and I demand my tribute." Not even throwing a punch, Seth merely stands still and lets Spider-Girl work herself into exhaustion, then walks away.

Abovedecks, the Warriors are taking care of the Serpent footsoldiers when a groggy May arrives. Overcome with relief at the sight of Phil Urich, she pulls him into a bear hug. Darkdevil interrupts, asking about the Serpent leader, and May admits that she couldn't stop him. Buzz makes some crack about how she couldn't even stop one guy, and May swings off before he can tell her he was kidding. "Hey Buzz," Darkdevil says, "SHUT UP!" My thoughts exactly.

Spider-Girl swings over to the F5 building and collects her mother's medicine, then swings home. Her mother's obvious worry again causes her to question whether she's doing the right thing by playing the hero. But when she arrives in her bedroom and takes a good look at herself in the mirror, she smiles. This is her calling.

In General...

Well, it wouldn't be a six-part story without a few rough spots. This issue happens to be one of them.

Apart from the opening scene, another homage paid to Peter's escape back in ASM #33 (and a scene which, for me, will never grow tiresome), the rest of the story was a disappointment. The main baddie is revealed as some green, scaly-faced serpent guy I've never heard of (and I don't know if I should have or not) and her interaction with the New Warriors is predictable. I did enjoy the scene where May threw everything she had at Seth and he didn't even bother to fight back, knowing that he didn't have to, but May's failure only sets up another "am I good enough for the job" bit. It's been done, Tom DeFalco. Fortunately, this one is resolved in short order, but it's still something that wasn't necessary.

And Buzz? Next time take ol' Seth on by yourself before giving May attitude. Punk.

The ending seemed a bit strange. Had I not known any better I would've thought the whole storyline had come to an end. It just had a finality to it that seemed out of place, even with Seth still walking free. Had this scene come at the end of part six, it would have fit perfectly. But we're only halfway through the storyline. I don't know, it just didn't work for me.

Don't get me wrong, this wasn't a bad story by any stretch of the imagination. It's just a step down after parts one and two. Hopefully next issue will boost this storyline back into 4-5 web territory where it belongs.

Overall Rating...

Okay, the plot gets a little thin here, but I'm confident that the next three issues will make up for it. This book hasn't really let me down yet. Three webs.