A mysterious villain is making a bid for power, and nobody is safe. Canis, the Kingpin, even Spider-Girl are "Marked for Death." But when Spider-Girl's secret base of operations is destroyed, May Parker realizes the chilling truth: whoever is after her knows her secret identity!
Spider-Girl and Normie Osborn are standing outside the burning wreck that was the Web Site, unable to believe their eyes. May is frantic to get home to protect her family, and Normie lets her leave. On the way home, however, May's spider sense begins to tingle and she realizes that her mysterious stalker is after her again. Her sense fires again and again, causing her to blow off a phone call from Davida, who lost her place on the basketball team and is extremely upset about it.
As May arrives home and warns her father what is going on, the Green Goblin arrives at the Web Site to confer with Normie. All the while, a trench-coated figure watches from the distance.
At school the next day, May tries to make up with Davida, who wants nothing to do with her. "We used to talk about everything, but it's real obvious that there is something you can't-or WON'T-share with me." Things only get worse for May as Davida later catches her talking to Nancy Lu, and assumes that the two of them have become friends.
Normie, meanwhile, is running into a few roadblocks of his own. Upon visiting Ryker's Island, he is told that Brenda "Blackie" Drago, a/k/a "Raptor," is unavailable. Upset at not being able to see his girlfriend, Normie tries to get in touch with Darkdevil, who has been MIA since the attempt on the Kingpin's life. A quick call to his law office confirms, however, that Darkdevil and his lawyer alter ego have not been seen for days. As Normie leaves the prison in a huff, he is watched by a short, bald man and someone who looks suspiciously like Mr. Nobody. The bald man comments on Osborn's persistence, and Nobody(?) tells him he hasn't met persistence yet. "I assume you are referring to Spider-Girl. Unfortunately, we cannot allow her to meddle in our affairs. Too much is at stake."
Later that evening, the aforementioned Spider-Girl is busy proving the mysterious Mr. Nobody correct. While she has to dangle Canis off the roof of a building to get him to talk, she learns that a South American crimelord has been trying to knock off the Kingpin for years, and that a man named Zodoro who used to handle the Kingpin's cocaine operations might shed more light on the mystery. But she arrives at Zodoro's art gallery in time to see it explode. Charging into a burning building to save the man, she encounters Quickwire and Big Man, who were supposedly incarcerated and reformed, in that order. Quickwire is happy to see Spider-Girl again as he's dreaming of revenge, but the aptly-named Big Man orders him to keep his mind on the "mission." Spider-Girl tricks Big Man into falling on Quickwire, giving her time to find Zodoro and get him out of the building, but the worst shock is yet to come.
"This can't be real! It just can't be... Raptor!" But it is. A quick gas bomb dispatches the devastated web-stunner, and she collapses in a heap. Quickwire and Big Man untangle themselves and exit the burning building just in time to meet the man in the trench coat, who tells them to take Zodoro and leave. He then looks down on the unconscious Spider-Girl. "Will you ever learn to mind your own business, Spider-Girl? We may have the luxury of picking our friends, but our enemies are usually chosen for us."
Spider-Girl soon regains consciousness, and after she pulls herself together she decides to check up on her family. As soon as she finds out that all is well on the home front, she calls Normie to tell him about Raptor. But Normie is too busy to answer the phone, as he comes face to face with the man in the trench coat. "You're back!" Normie cries. "I should have realized that you were behind all the-" Three gunshots silence Normie, and he crumples to the ground. "Do me a favor, kid," the man says. "Give my regards to your dearly-departed grandfather. I was always a big fan of his work."
This is some good stuff! Normie Osborn shot, perhaps even dead? Raptor working against Spider-Girl? What the hell is going on here? Whatever the answer, it's looking like a very good read.
I mentioned in the issue recap that the man in the trench coat looked like Mr. Nobody, but he might not be. That crack about being a big fan of the first Green Goblin's work leads me to believe that he could be an older villain. Maybe in the M2 universe Mendel Stromm is still walking around somewhere? And who's the bald guy? My first guess would be the Arranger, but seeing as how he's verifiably deceased, that seems doubtful. And we still haven't heard anything concrete about the South American gang lord. I'm still a little worried that he might turn out to be the Black Tarantula, but we'll see.
Anyway, enough of the theories and guesses. "Marked for Death" has got me hooked big time. I'm not too crazy about some of the art-Frenz and Buscema had Peter Parker looking like Steve Skroce's rendering-but that's a minor quibble. I also like the subplot with Davida, who seems to have finally caught on that May's got something big going on the side. Davida's friendship's important to May; important enough that she might reveal her secret identity? I'm not sure that would be a good move on her part, but it's something I could see May considering.
I know, I said enough with the predictions, but I can't help it. This one's got me eager to find out what's coming next. Absolutely great comic.
Loses half a web for some art that wasn't quite top-notch. The rest is flawless.