Comics : Spider-Girl #78

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

The inevitable confrontation between Spider-Girl, Lady Octopus, and the Black Tarantula has been brewing for months. Now the time has finally come. Will Spider-Girl be able to defeat the one super villain that has bested her time and time again? Will she be able to overpower the Black Tarantula? How does Special Agent Weadon's group of reformed supervillains factor into this battle royale? Can I tease this issue any more than I already have? Read on....

In Detail...

"The People Played By Games!"
Spider-Girl #78
Nov 2004 : SM Spin-Off
Editor:  Andy Schmidt
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Pat Olliffe, Ron Frenz
Inker:  Al Williamson, Sal Buscema
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Review

When we last saw Spider-Girl, she was confronting Lady Octopus and the Black Tarantula, who have been working together to eliminate Canis and take over for the recently departed Kingpin. Lady Octopus, momentarily stunned by Spider-Girl's appearance, initiates the attack. Black Tarantula tries to quell the fighting, but Spider-Girl turns on her. "You were PLAYING me all along!" she cries. "I suspect that you have been playing ME as well," he replies, adding that he is fascinated by her and that they are destined to be friends if not more.

Weadon's group arrives, and Lady Octopus takes the opportunity to flee into the Javits Convention Center. Kaine sends Raptor after her, knowing that she is outmatched, to force Spider-Girl to help confront Octopus, leaving Kaine to the rest of the group. Spider-Girl catches up with Raptor in time to save her life while Black Tarantula thrashes Quickwire, Big Man, and Kaine.

Elsewhere, Normie Osborn is attempting to fend off his "wife," Elan DeJunae, and receives an even bigger shock when he learns that she is a member of "The Order of the Goblin." He turns to find her wearing a Goblin mask. "The time has finally come for us to formalize our union."

Back at the Javits Center, Lady Octopus has tired of fighting and tries to crush her two adversaries with a yacht. Spider-Girl avoids the boat, but Raptor is knocked silly. Realizing that Octopus is playing for keeps, Spider-Girl does the unexpected and blindfolds herself. As Octopus laughs, May uses her spider sense to avoid her foe's attacks and rips her mechanical harness in two. One more blow to the jaw is enough to end the fight. Hearing applause, May turns around to find Black Tarantula staring at her. Vowing to find a way to defeat him, May is astonished as the Tarantula surrenders rather than fight.

Afterwards, Spider-Girl returns to her "Team Spider" headquarters to find it deserted, save for a bouquet of roses and her closet full of costumes. Wondering how she her life could possibly return to normal after getting involved with the Tarantula, May decides on a symbolic gesture and returns to her old costume.

On the way home, Spider-Girl calls Normie to check up on him and finds herself speaking to Elan, who tells her that she and Normie have decided to renew their wedding vows. "I'm afraid he can't come to the phone," Elan says, "He's a little tied up at the moment." Literally.

In General...

A fitting conclusion to Spider-Girl's longest running story arc, "People" was marred only by the "Order of the Goblin" development. The Elan subplot has been fairly hoaky to begin with; this latest twist seals the deal. Maybe it's just me, but I'm getting very, very tired of the whole Norman Osborn Goblin legacy mishmash. Plus, didn't Norman already found the Scriers? Now it turns out he also founded the Order of the Goblin? What next, the Kennedy assassination? Enough, already!

Now that that's out of the way, I'd like to turn my attention to the rest of the book, which was a great read and very satisfying. The bit with May blindfolding herself was a tad hackneyed, but trusting spider sense got her father out of some serious jams in the past, so it's only fitting that his daughter pulls the same trick. And the Black Tarantula's character seems to fit better in Spider-Girl than he ever did in the mainstream Marvel universe. He just seems like a better foil for May than Peter.

Having May return to her old costume to end the issue was a nice touch, and made for a pretty spiffy full page pin-up, to boot. May swam with sharks and learned her lesson without getting bitten. Fair enough.

Finally, was I the only one who thought Kaine and the rest deserved what they got? Had they not been so quick to dismiss May's help, their battle might have had a different ending. But that's Monday morning superhero-ing for you.

Overall Rating...

Five webs for the main story, minus one for the "Order of the Goblin" stuff. Four webs total.