Spider-Girl (Vol. 1) #31

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Wildman (E-Mail)


On one side, you have Spider-Girl trying to keep the Buzz out of trouble. On the other side you have the Avengers and Tony Stark's pet superguy. On her own side: Raptor. The ol' Parker luck runs true to form in this issue!

Story 'With Friends Like These...'

Spider-Girl is determined to help the Buzz. Since Tony Stark seems to be unofficially leading the effort to capture him, why not start there? Any hope Spidey had of catching the former Avenger off guard is quickly dashed, however, as he turns away from a teleconference with the President to inform her she has been expected. Spider-Girl demands answers from Stark who indulges her, telling her about the project J. Jonah Jameson funded to create a superhero and how the high-tech battlesuit ended up missing with its intended wearer murdered. He assures Spider-Girl that the Buzz has nothing to fear if he surrenders, and that placates her enough to leave. Which gives Stark's super-sidekick a convenient lead to follow.

Spider-Girl's plan is simple: fly around until the Buzz spots her. She eventually tracks him down and tries to warn him; he, of course, blows off her concerns about the Avengers. "I don't buy their hype about being the world's greatest heroes." Naturally they choose that exact moment to appear. The tension of the moment is broken by Stinger, who urges her more reckless team members to keep in check. But she is felled by a shot from Stark's lackey and all hell breaks loose.

Vastly outnumbered and fighting a group who just lost a teammate, Spider-Girl and the Buzz are quickly overpowered. Just when it looks like they've lost the game, Raptor appears and provides a way out in the form of a kick to the back of Hawkeye's head. Spider-Girl is confused and the Buzz is doubtful of Raptor's intentions, but the two follow her to safety. The Avengers start to follow but are called off by an emergency message from Tony Stark.

Meanwhile, the fugitive trio has landed at the railyard and can barely keep from going for each others' throats. Buzz (correctly) accuses Raptor of being a wanted criminal; she counters with the accusation that he's a jerk (also correct.) This bickering gives Stark's employee a perfect opening to ambush the three. The brawl continues until Spider-Girl manages to hit him with a goblin grenade, stunning him and sending him into a five-story high dive. The Buzz, being the only one quick enough to reach him, manages to catch the man before he hits pavement. Before he can blink, however, Stark's employee slaps a device on his chest that gives poor Buzz one doozy of an electric shock.

The mystery man admits to playing possum in order to short-circuit the Buzz, who quickly recovers only to learn that "according to my internal diagnostic... some of my sub-systems are offline... but I... I'm still functional." Spider-Girl flies into a rage over the fact that so many lives were endangered because Stark wanted his toys. The man tells her that Stinger is fine and that the whole situation could have been avoided if she had listened to Tony Stark, who has watched the entire battle THROUGH the mystery man's--make that mystery ANDROID'S?--eyes. The android concludes by revealing that Stark also wanted to take the Buzz's measure and will leave him alone for the time being. It flies off, leaving it's three foes to resume their arguing.

General Comments

So let me get this straight: practically the entire city has been looking for the Buzz for months now, Stark finally has him where he wants him... and then just lets him go? I'm sorry, I don't buy it.

Overall, this issue was a letdown. The promised battle with the Avengers turned out to be a three-page skirmish, leaving the final fight to Stark's soulless mystery guy (and now we know WHY he's soulless.) Raptor shows up and adds to an already crowded list of guest stars; and she was pretty much just annoying. Finally the Buzz is allowed to walk free after taking a jolt that "took some of his sub-systems offline." I admit to being ignorant about the Buzz's backhistory since I did not read the limited series, but I would think that Stark would have ordered his 'bot to bring him in regardless. To top it off, the ending of the story just cuts away practically in midpanel, leaving the whole issue with a kind of ubrupt feeling.

I think this story would have served better as a two-parter. DeFalco could have spent time fleshing out May's search for the Buzz (not to mention the fight with the Avengers!), given the supporting cast more than just cameo appearances, and provided a bit more closure. Who are these "people" Stark respects that convince him to even talk with Spider-Girl in the first place. What's the deal with the flying generic robot guy? Everyone in this story dances to Stark's strings. At least a few glimpses into his motives and plans would have been welcome. Now, with the end of Spider-Girl coming up in just seven short issues, I doubt that we'll ever know.

I'm disappointed with this issue because I had high hopes for it. It turned out to be merely average.

Overall Rating

Adequate job, but I expected a much bigger payoff after the previous two issues. Two webs. And I expect to see much better work on May's upcoming sendoff, Mr. DeFalco!

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Wildman (E-Mail)