Amazing Spider-Girl #9

Background

May Parker is now Spider-Girl again with her mother's blessing, and it would seem that her biggest question is whether Gene Thompson will invite her to Homecoming. But when she stumbles across a secret operation run by Agent Weadon's group of "reformed" supervillains, the secret of "Specimen 297" could very well unleash a horror the likes of which Spider-Girl has never seen.

Story 'Specimen 297!'

At an abandoned amusement park in Brooklyn, Agent Weadon is meeting with an agent from S.H.I.E.L.D. who has a dangerously enigmatic mission for his super team (now comprised of Earthshaker, Mr. Abnormal, Killerwatt, and Kaine.) The mission? "You will be responsible for safeguarding an item code-named "Specimen 297." Kaine overhears this, and expresses his concerns over Weadon's new group. He asks to bring in an "outside operative," and Weadon just hopes he isn't talking about Spider-Girl.

The aforementioned web-stunner is swinging her way to school that very moment without a care in the world. Her parents have accepted her dual life and, more importantly, she's even caught up on her homework. Most of the kids at Midtown High are sporting letter sweaters for "School Spirit Day," and May is no exception. Courtney Duran's spirits, however, are down as she has not heard from Moose Mansfield in weeks and has made the decision to confront him to find out whether they are still a couple. She ends up cutting class and heading over to Midtown Medical Center, where she finds Moose sitting vigil over his father with another girl. She runs away crying before Moose has a chance to speak with her.

Kaine, meanwhile, has met with Darkdevil and enlisted the vigilante's aid in the transfer. With the rest of Weadon's group, he helps take possession of "Specimen 297" at Kennedy Airport later that afternoon and prepare it for transport. Darkdevil watches, wondering why S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't handling security. As the armored car winds its way through the city (and an oblivious May Parker walks over to the hospital, hoping to catch up with Courtney) the attack comes. A group of helmeted soldiers of some sort take out the armored car's escorts, then neutralize the rest of Weadon's crew and take the Specimen, which they refer to as "Gameball."

Escaping into the sewers, they are interrupted by Spider-Girl, who quickly stuns the crew and takes possession of the gameball. The remaining soldiers shoot at her, and she flings the gameball at them, only to see it ricochet off the wall and sink into the sewer. Her spider sense hits her with a wave of intense pain, but as the soldiers try to take advantage, they are told to stand down. Their leader reveals herself as Contessa Valentina Allegro De Fontaine, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. She starts to berate Spider-Girl for interfering with her operation when she is informed that the gameball was punctured by a stray bullet, its cargo missing. "What the heck is this gameball, anyway?" Spider-Girl asks.

It turns out to be the Carnage symbiote, which has now escaped.

And as the Contessa fills Spider-Girl in on the situation, the symbiote finds a host and possesses him or her. We don't see their face... only the Midtown High letter sweater they are wearing....

General Comments

I'll give Tom DeFalco credit for the undeniably cool ending, but otherwise this one doesn't make much sense.

So you've got the Carnage symbiote that you need transported--from where and to where are never really mentioned--and it's deemed that the safest way to do so is to dupe a team of supervillains into thinking they are responsible for its transport, only to send in a group of armed soldiers to steal it from them, for a symbiote encased in a structure so fragile that a spare gunshot could crack it open? This scenario is convoluted and contrived even in a universe that at one point had radioactive accidents occurring every other month for a while there. I'm hoping there is some sort of logical explanation for this, but as I read the issue I'm not seeing it.

And second, why Carnage? I've never really been a fan of his, although DeFalco has proven he can do good stuff with even this not-so-great concept (remember when the Carnage symbiote possessed Ben Reilly way back in the Clone Saga?) And having Carnage possess a Midtown High student could be all right (though not for the student, of course.) It's just that the whole "evil symbiote who turns people into psychopathic killers" thing just isn't that interesting. At least this time we stand a fair chance of being spared an appearance from Cletus Kasady. (I hope Mr. DeFalco is listening. No Kasady! None!)

Some good moments but overall this issue just doesn't work. Hopefully it turns out to be a subpar issue of an otherwise good storyline.

Overall Rating

The plot doesn't make sense and the villain still leaves much to be desired. Two webs.