Spider-Girl is on the outs with the Avengers for taking on the Magneto imposter Normie Osborn has been secretly hosting the Venom symbiote. Phil Urich disappeared into the bowels of Osborn Corporation and hasn't been seen since. It was only a matter of time before May Parker's life exploded.
At the Avengers mansion, Mainframe is attempted to call for a court of inquiry to determine her membership. J2 and Stinger back her up, but Stinger later dresses her down in no uncertain terms for acting on her own. After criticizing her, Stinger asks Spider-Girl if she has checked out Osborn Corporation. Spider-Girl lies and tells her no, but can't help but worry that she's doing the wrong thing.
Later, at the abandoned amusement park that houses Special Agent Weadon's team of reformed supervillains, the FBI agent orders Raptor to spy on Normie Osborn, whom he suspects might be returning to crime. Raptor asks Kaine to get her out of the assignment, but his refusal is interrupted by a precognitive flash. He sees Scriers, and his vision also has something to do with Spider-Girl.
That night Spider-Girl heads over to Osborn Corporation, but before she can confront Normie she spots the Green Goblin flying away, laughing maniacally. Worried that this Goblin sounds nothing like Phil Urich, she follows him. Confronting a pair of hijackers, the Goblin rips the trailer off of the truck they have stolen. Spider-Girl stops him before he inadvertantly hurts the hijackers, and recognizes that this is, indeed, Phil Urich. "If he's the Goblin," she thinks, "then where is...?" The question is answered when she finds Normie Osborn, encased in the Venom symbiote, dangling from a web behind her.
Back at the Parker homestead, Peter and MJ are surprised to find Mary Jane's cousin Kristy at her door. The former bulimic girl has lost none of her hyperactivity, evidenced by the way she zips from person to person and all but takes over the house while announcing that she has been hired by Normie Osborn as his personal assistant.
Kristy's new boss currently has his hands full with Spider-Girl, who demands an explanation while the Goblin heads off to round up the hijackers. Normie tells her that he recreated the original Goblin mask that give Phil his powers the very first time he became the Green Goblin. As to himself and his new "friend," "you need to get over past prejudices, May... and learn to TRUST us."
Phil, meanwhile, has taken care of the hijackers but runs right into Kaine's fist. The two of them begin to fight despite Raptor's attempts to stop them. Spider-Girl and Normie head towards the fracas while May blows off a phone call that turns out to be from Mainframe. Raptor spots Normie and thinks he's Venom, getting in a few wicked blows before he can reveal himself, much to her horror. Spider-Girl jumps in between the Goblin and Kaine to try to stop their fight. The two touch hands and share the same precognitive vision: Spider-Girl being brutally murdered by a Scrier. Kaine tells her there is only one way to save her life, and that is to stop being Spider-Girl.
Back at Avengers Mansion, disconcerted by May's refusal to answer her phone and the other problems he is facing, Mainframe puts in a call to Tony Stark, who tells him that he is calling some of the older Avengers out of retirement to help them weather the storm: Scarlet Witch, Ant Man, Hawkeye, and Tony's mysterious bodyguard.
I had the nagging feeling that Normie-Venom reminded me of somebody, but couldn't place it until I saw the "Hotz Design" on the water tower in the background of his first appearance. The face is a dead ringer for Kyle Hotz' art.
Tom DeFalco is working on some intriguing themes in this issue. There is a minor Davida subplot that falls off the radar--although it accounts for May's refusal to answer the phone--but that is the issue's only weak link. There are some interesting conflicts developing: Raptor & Normie, Kaine vs. Green Goblin, Mainframe's inability to properly lead the Avengers, and so on. The reintroduction of some of the classic Avengers into the mix can only heighten the tension, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens as a result.
That's twice now that we've seen the "Is Normie the Green Goblin again" headfake. What's new is the question of whether the Venom symbiote can be used for good. Normie seems to think he's got things under control--almost certainly a sign that everything is about to go straight to hell--but it would be interesting if he could master the symbiote and keep himself from falling back off the wagon. A good Venom-esque character would be a nice change of pace. Just as long as he doesn't threaten to eat someone's brains, of course.
Very good issue, although I had issues with the cover. Not only did it spill the beans regarding Normie's new look, what was up with the eight limbs?
I'll throw in an extra half web since this looks like it could be a great setup for the next several issues. Which could be important since it looks like they might be this book's last run. Four and one half webs.