Comics : Spider-Girl #80

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Having rescued Normie Osborn from the clutches of his demented "wife," May Parker decided to give some attention to her normal life and went out to grab a cup of coffee with a new admirer. But will her normal life and the life of a superhero clash once again when the Dragon King returns? And what's up with Moose, anyway?

In Detail...

"Secrets Kill!"
Spider-Girl #80
Jan 2005 : SM Spin-Off
Editor:  Andy Schmidt
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Pat Olliffe
Inker:  Al Williamson, Ron Frenz
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Review

A teenage boy walks down into the basement with a bag of food. He is the target of every bully in school, but not for much longer. "His only friend has finally returned."

Moving over to the Parker household, May is more than a little bit sore after getting impaled by Elan DeJunae in their fight last issue. Her father, of course, is suspicious, but May escapes the house without a thorough inspection. Upon hearing alarm bells on her way to school, a pained Parker reluctantly pulls on her costume to come face to face with the Dragon King, who whups her without even trying hard. May can only watch as he flees the scene, realizing he was searching for something.

At Midtown High, May comes face to face with her estranged best friend, Davida Kirby, and after a few awkward moments the two depart. Courtney Duran, who witnessed the whole exchange, chastises her for not making peace and then runs off to find Moose, who has been acting "buggy" lately. May's attention turns to Kevin Hartman, who is getting hassled by two of the local bullies. She runs them off, gets attitude from Kevin and discovers that her spider sense is tingling. Just then, Chris Jarkoer shows up and asks if she's free for lunch.

Before they can hit the cafeteria, a classmate comes running with news that Basski and Boyle--the two bullies who hassled Kevin Hartman earlier--"are totally trashed." May watches as the two are wheeled out on gurneys, and notices Kevin watching with a satisfied look on his face. May follows Kevin, blowing off a worried Courtney Duran in the process. Davida notices and decides that she can't stand for it.

May, meanwhile, has put two and two together and is sneaking into the basement when Davida confronts her. May tries to slip away, but Davida won't let her, and the two are interrupted by a loud growl. Unable to change into costume (and hardly in fighting shape to begin with, May scrambles to come up with a plan. The Dragon King refuses to kill them, and despairs of ever finding his drafon medallion that can turn him human again. May's spider sense tips her off to the truth, and rips open Kevin's shirt to reveal the missing disk. A betrayed Dragon King rips the medallion from Kevin's neck and reverts to human form.

"How did you know?" Davida asks. "Would you believe I have a paranormal sense that allows me to hone in on danger?" May replies. "So... lucky guess?" "Yeah."

After the authorities haul the now human Dragon King and Kevin Hartman off to jail, May tracks down Moose and doesn't let him blow her off. Moose finally admits what has been bugging him: he intercepted a letter from the family doctor saying that his father needs some medical tests. "It might be nothing, but we... we already lost my mom to cancer." Moose begins to cry, and then seeks out Courtney's shoulder to lean on.

The next day, May catches up with Davida. The two finally begin to talk.

In General...

Well, the actual super villain du jour was a tad on the disappointing side. While Dragon King has some nostalgia value to him--being introduced WAY back in issue #4--I have to agree with Davida on this one: he's kind of pathetic. And we've seen the "bullied kid manipulates desperate bad guy" plot once or twice before, too.

The good part of this issue was May's interactions with Davida, Courtney, and Moose. This is by far the most "screen time" that May's classmates have gotten in months, and kudos to Tom DeFalco for doing a great job of writing these characters this issue. Moose is just the kind of guy that would withdraw from everyone after learning that his father might be sick. And you could tell that Davida was desperately hoping to become friends with May again. Good stuff. Only what happened to Jimmy Yama? Did he and Heather run off to Vegas or something?

One gripe: seemingly every issue of Spider-Girl begins with May heading off to school, her father questioning her about something, and her mother letting her off the hook. You could set your watch by it. It's getting old. We need some other way to work in the family dynamic just for the sake of variety.

Two more points. First, this issue was pencilled by Pat Olliffe, which rates a big, fat "YAY" in my book. Stick around, Pat, please.

Second, I'd like to offer my deepest condolences to Tom DeFalco. For those of you who might not have heard, Mr. DeFalco's wife passed away on Saturday, December 11th. Losing a loved one is always hard, but it is twice as hard around the holidays. Mrs. DeFalco was about to undergo treatment for esophegeal cancer, and Mr. DeFalco has those who wish to make a donation in her name to the American Cancer Society can do so here: https://www.cancer.org/asp/donate/don_multi_donate.asp?navToScreen=don_1 Our thoughts and prayers are with the DeFalco family in this most difficult time.

Overall Rating...

The supervillain fight was harmless fluff, but the interaction between May and her school chums makes up for it. Three and one half webs.