Comics : Spider-Woman (Vol. 3) #14

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Young Mattie Franklin took part in an arcane ceremony called the Gathering of the Five, which mysteriously conferred amazing powers upon her. She has used her strange, new-found abilities to dress like her idol, Spider-Man, while she sticks her nose in where it doesn't belong, releases super-powered villains and gets into mischief. She's impatient! She's unappreciative! She makes a play for Spider-Man right after his wife dies! She changes costumes every episode! She's about to be cancelled!!! She's THE MEDIOCRE SPIDER-WOMAN!

In Detail...

"Eye of Cat"
Spider-Woman (Vol. 3) #14
Aug 2000 : SM Spin-Off
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  John Byrne
Pencils:  Graham Nolan
Inker:  Randy Elliott
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Articles: Madame Web, Madame Web, Madame Web, Madame Web, Spider-Woman III (Franklin)

Some masked baddy called Nighteyes summons kitties up to a Manhattan rooftop. Flying in the skies of New York, Spider-Woman grows impatient being unable to find a villain to fight. In her travels, she finds a jewelry store post-robbery. The store was robbed by someone who knew exactly what to take, and that the alarm system installation hadn't been completed. Spider-Woman barges into the investigation and begins sneezing like mad. Escorted out by the police, she wonders what has triggered off an alergy attack like she has with cats.

The scene shifts to "elsewhere" - Nighteyes, a man named Eric, enters into an apartment greeted by his beloved Daphne. He's blind, but seems to be guided by cats.

Madam Web identifies for Mattie other burglaries that had something in common - the same alarm company and the same insurer. Mattie visits one of the jewelry stores and has the same allergic reaction - she starts sneezing as if cats were around.

Using her "above average intelligence", Spider-Woman pays a visit to the insurance company and meets a defensive Daphne. Daphne starts to run, but Spider-Woman pursues. After much property damage, she apprehends Daphne from out of a moving elevator.

Returning to Eric's apartment, Spider-Woman battles a room full of cats that he is able to manipulate through his mutant ability. She swats Eric unconscious, the cops come, and it's all in a day's work for Spider-Woman.

(Note: it looks like Spider-Woman FINALLY chose a costume! Too bad the series ends in four issues.)

In General...

By this point in the series, it's clear that these stories demand lowered expectations. While Spider-Man has often been written for a much broader range of readers - both young and mature - Byrne must be intentionally writing Spider-Woman for a younger target audience. The plots are simple and the characters are flat. Missing are complexities like motivation, doubt, fear, and something akin to realistic reactions to Spider-Woman's superhuman actions. In this era of comic books, a third dimension is expected. I'm not asking Spider-Woman to be dark and gritty, just something that's relatable to the reader.

I've been reading Amazing Spider-Man stories since I was a kid. When I was young, I was still able to appreciate the action and adventure without the stories being "dumbed-down". As an adult, it's hard to give Spider-Woman anything but poor to mediocre reviews considering the simplicity of each episode.

Overall Rating...

Two webs.