Several months back Spider-Girl came into possession of a disc containing the secret files of the late Wilson Fisk, the former Kingpin of Crime. She entrusted them to an NYPD Detective named Drasco, who was secretly working for the Hobgoblin but did not give him the files. Now, with Hobgoblin still on the scene and a new, mysterious crime lord emerging, those files are up for auction and May Parker's about to find herself right in the middle of everything.
Swinging through the rain, Spider-Girl arrives at the office of Dr. Milton Kaplan to meet her parents. The doctor has good news: a simple operation should be able to restore most of Baby Ben's hearing. May might need to be called upon to donate blood, but the prognosis is hopeful. Overwhelmed at the possibility that her mistake with Ben could be rectified, May still can't help but think that the "Parker luck" will rear its ugly head once again.
She's correct to be suspicious. A new villain named "Crimelord" (yes, really) is informing various underworld figures that an auction is about to be held, with the winner taking home the Kingpin's secret files and the money that goes with them. Word quickly spreads, with everyone from "Handsome" Richie Valentine to Chesbro--who's still a little spooked after nearly being killed by Deadspot in the previous issue--either finding themselves face to face with Crimelord or hearing about it second hand. Deadspot herself even gets a call from her mysterious employer. Hobgoblin, naturally, is not pleased, and chews out Detective Drasco at length for failing to secure the files. Always one to have a backup plan in mind, Hobby sends Mindworm out to take mental control of as many of the New York crime bosses as he can in order to prepare to strike against the Black Tarantula without the files.
May, meanwhile, has a relatively uneventful day at school--other than Gene Thompson asking if she is willing to make "the necessary changes" in order to give their relationship another try--but is contacted on the way home by Chesbro, who informs her of the upcoming auction. May immediately suits up and places a call to Drasco, who agrees to meet her despite being on stakeout. Drasco denies being Crimelord, and says that the mysterious villain probably got them from Charlie Kurkle, Mona Carlo's boyfriend and (coincidentally) the target of Drasco's stakeout. May plants a spider tracer on Drasco and then tracks Charlie to a run down hotel and confirms he is meeting with Mona before deciding to hang it up and get home before her parents start to worry.
Peter and MJ leave to spend the night at the hospital with Ben and May has a fun night in with Courtney and Davida, but is restless enough after they leave to suit up once again and follow the tracer she put on Drasco. Yet instead of leading her to an apartment building, she finds herself at Crimelord's auction. Before Spider-Girl can figure out what it all means, her spider sense goes off and she finds herself face to face with the Hobgoblin. The two battle while the city's various crime bosses prepare for the auction. Spider-Girl is hesitant to fight while her brother might need her for a blood donor, and Hobgoblin takes advantage by encasing her in some sort of plastic baggie-like enclosure "based on the impact webbing you once employed against me."
The auction begins, with Crimelord beginning his spiel, when Hobgoblin interrupts. "I've heard enough hype, Crimelord," he shouts, throwing our trapped heroine onto the stage. "I bid one SPIDER-GIRL!"
Longtime Spider-Man readers might find May Parker's plight at the end of the issue a little familiar. Waaaaay back in ASM #26, Spidey found himself going up against the Green Goblin, as well as a mysterious new villain known as the "Crime Master." at the end of that issue, Crime Master was describing how he intended to rule the New York City underworld when he was interrupted by the Green Goblin, with an unconscious Spider-Man in tow. Kudos to Tom DeFalco for his little homage to Spider-Man history, especially in a time when large portions of Spider-Man's history can be erased on a whim.
Small touches abounded in this issue, especially with the appearances of old Spider-Man villains like Delilah (created by none other than Mr. DeFalco) and Man Mountain Marko. "Crimelord" himself seems a little on the weak side, and there is so much evidence pointing to Detective Drasco as the man under the hood that you know it must be somebody else. While this issue sets up for the potential payoff next month, it's basically another full-length lead-in of the type that we have seen too often before. Aside from Spider-Girl's capture, all of the good stuff seems like it will be coming next month. While DeFalco needed time to create his set up, he could have paced things a little better in my opinion.
Not bad, certainly, and a couple of nice touches, but we could have used a bit more bang for our three bucks. Three and one half webs.