Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #5

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This story is part of an Arc: "Origin of Spider-Woman Number Four... or Five"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

If you've been half-watching, you would know that a young teenage girl named Mattie Franklin picked up some power at the Gathering of The Five a few months back, and started kicking around in a padded suit, taking over the gap left by Peter Parker Spider-Man when he hung up the webs about the same time.

Well... she's had enough of sharing the glory, and she's reinvented herself as Spider-Woman... the third, after the original Jessica Drew (now a private eye in Madripoor, and Julia Carpenter, now a solo mother on the West Coast. Both of the former Spider-Women, by the way, have been mysteriously attacked.

In Detail...

"Then There Was One"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #5
May 1999 : SMURF 446.500 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Woman (Mattie Franklin)
Arc: Part 1 of "Origin of Spider-Woman Number Four... or Five"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Howard Mackie
Pencils:  John Byrne
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  John Byrne
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Articles: Aunt May Parker, Betty Brant, Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Jameson, J. Jonah, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Robertson, Joe "Robbie", Spider-Woman I (Drew), Spider-Woman III (Franklin)

Mattie is having a great time in her new identity, winning friends and influencing bad guys. Spider-Man drops in to keep an eye on her - just as an unknown assailant also flashes out of the sky and clips her a couple of good slashes.

The assailant reveals herself to be... The New Spider-Woman (the fourth, I guess, if Madame Web doesn't count. Remember that Madame Web got the gift of youth in the Gathering of Five).

This newcomer (the assailant Spider-Woman) is dressed (or half-dressed) in a terribly garish black/white hair thing with huge spiky-slashy Spider-Legs out her back, 4 inch stilettos with black thigh-boots, the traditional bulging spray-painted leotard (in painful green and yellow) and full length gloves... oh, look, just check out the cover of Amazing #6 further down the page. You have to see this outfit to believe it.

I know, I shouldn't judge a villain by their costume... but this girl (Ehem, Woman, there's plenty of bare inner thigh and stretched lycra close-ups to justify that title I suppose) is later revealed as a one-time fashion designer. Looks like her creator has a vicious sense of irony! Either that, or Byrne's hormones addled his senses, and in a state of self-indulgent lust he created his own worst fantasy.

It is revealed that this woman had attacked and drained the powers of the two former Spider-Girls (awww, sucky, I liked Jessica Drew, that original Spider-Woman title was alright) but for some reason could not drain Spider-Man or Spider-Woman. That was Spider-Woman the third, Mattie, ohh... heck, now you've made me lose count!

There's also a strange interlude scene where Aunt May is cooking Peter hotcakes and telling him to eat up... MJ is running around the house half-naked. Peter looks and dresses like he's about twelve. I guess that's the editors telling the writers to "get back to basics". It would appear that Mackie and Byrne understood that as meaning "Pretend that MJ married Spider-Man in Issue #15 or something, and that it's now 1964 again". Wierd.

In General...

I know we wanted some new faces, but... this is just tragic. Byrne and Mackie must have dropped into the office after a couple two many at the local bar. Shame the editors can't recognise a joke when it's handed to them.

Overall Rating...

This stuff is just too damned corny to give more than two webs.