Spider-Girl (Vol. 1) #42

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Wildman (E-Mail)


Funny Face and his mother have gone on a rampage since the death of Face's brother, Crazy Eight. But how can Spider-Girl stop them if she's too shaken by Eight's tragic death to put on the webs?

Story 'Mother's Day'

  Spider-Girl (Vol. 1) #42
Summary: Angel Face, Spider-Girl Assembles a Team
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inker: Livesay

Mary Jane Parker has returned home after her recent medical emergency. True to form, her husband and daughter are driving her crazy with their worry. But May is summoned by a ringing phone. Her "Uncle" Phil needs her. Funny Face and his mother--Angel Face--have gone berserk. And they're looking for her.

The Faces' all-out attack on New York has drawn the attention of both Funny Face's employer, and that employer's chief rival. The scene switches to Canis Kennels, where Canis himself is being appraised of the situation. "I truly wish I could afford to be lenient with Funny Face. But there's only one way to deal with a mad dog." He demonstrates that "one way" by snapping the neck of a rabid wolf. Elsewhere, the Kingpin of Crime is consulting with his employee, Mr. Nobody. Fisk is none too pleased with Nobody's actions, and comments that the Faces' actions are costing him millions. With few options remaining, he sets up a face-to-face with Canis.

Peter Parker, meanwhile, has an appointment of his own. With former Spider-Woman Julia Carpenter, Peter pays a visit to the FIRST Spider-Woman--and mother of the current Spider-Man--Jessica Drew. Jessica recognizes them both, but Julia wastes little time on small talk. "Don't play dumb, Jessica. It doesn't suit you. Where's your son?" Peter tries to explain that he has contacts with the Fantastic Five who could possibly heal her son's condition. Jessica blows him off, telling Peter there's no way her son would "trade his dream for vague possibilities." But Peter has an idea....

The son in question--Gerald Drew a/k/a Spider-Man--is on a mission to track down the Face family. But while hitting a local gang hangout, Spider-Man comes face to face with Darkdevil, who convinces him to lay off. Spider-Man immediately asks Darkdevil to team up with him, but DD isn't interested. Spidey explains that he's only doing this out of a sense of responsibility, and DD finally waivers with one condition: "stop talking."

"No problem! I'll be as quiet as a mouse. You won't hear a word from me. Not a single word."

While all this has been happened, May has met up with Phil Urich and Normie Osborn, and they have filled her in on the details of the Face's rampage. Phil urges May not to go up against them, and May agrees, saying that she needs to stay with her Mom. "The truth is you're afraid to get back in costume. Afraid to take on the Faces. Afraid someone else will die like--no! It wasn't your fault. It wasn't!" May is so down that she refuses to interfere when Courtney frantically flags her down, telling her that Brad Miller is still looking to thrash Jimmy Yama for stealing his girlfriend. She returns home to find her mother's wheelchair empty.

After a frantic search, May finds MJ in the kitchen getting a glass of water. May is still shaken, but MJ tells her she refuses to let anyone make an invalid out of her, using May's namesake as an example. "She taught me the importance of staying true to myself, no matter how many obstacles get in my path! It's easy to look like a winner when everything's going your way." May, slightly ashamed of her behavior, heads out to think. Inspiration strikes, and she quickly heads over to the Web Site to consult with Phil and Normie.

Across the city, J.J. Jameson is trying to talk to Nancy Lu, who is upset about his on-again, off-again relationship with May Parker. J.J.'s pager beeps, giving Nancy the chance to slam the door in his face. It's his contact, who says they've gotten a message from Spider-Girl. J.J. suits up, flying to the prearranged meeting site as The Buzz, and comes face to face with Spider-Girl, Raptor, Ladyhawk, and the Green Goblin. Or, as May calls them, "The Even-Newer Warriors!" To be continued, of course.

General Comments

Once again, folks, it's Parallel time. Please take your copy of Essential Spider-Man Vol. I and flip to issue #18. The young Spider-Man, so distraught over her Aunt's illness, has become completely ineffective as a super hero and has vowed to give up the business altogether. But one morning he finds an empty wheelchair, and is shocked to see his Aunt "testing her legs." "I know when I'm feeling better! You don't want to make an invalid out of me, do you? Even though I'm an old woman, I'm not a quitter!" 38 years later, history has (essentially) repeated itself.

A decent issue whose only purpose is to set up what should be a no-holds barred match between the "Newer Warriors" and the Face family. I didn't quite buy May's distress here, though. She had already put on the costume again to save Spider-Man's life last issue, so it's not like she's afraid to be Spider-Girl at all. And any guilt over Crazy Eight's death would, I'd assume, be offset by the knowledge that she has a responsibility to help stop this mess, since Funny Face blames her for his brother. It seemed a little contrived to me, that it was only written that was to give MJ an opportunity to channel her Aunt-in-law at the end, not to mention set up May's own super team. Slightly disappointing on that score.

The new Spider-Man and Darkdevil? Talk about a match made in Hell. I love it!

Big praise for the art. Just last issue I was complimenting Olliffe and Williamson, but Frenz and Livesay show they can draw a nifty Spider-Girl, too. It brought back shades of Sal Buscema's work on Spectacular (heck, I thought so, anyway.) Plus, their cover was a nifty take-off on ASM #19, in which Spidey swings back into action after his Aunt's pep talk.

Overall Rating

Slightly below par, especially since we've seen this before, but next ish should make up for it. Two and a half webs.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Wildman (E-Mail)