Spider-Girl (Vol. 1) #65

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Wildman (E-Mail)


The Black Tarantula has returned and has hired Mr. Nobody to assassinate several key underworld figures. Kaine, along with Raptor, Quickwire, and Big Man, has been granted immunity in exchange for his participation in a secret government program employing former supervillains. And Spider-Girl's still hoping to find Darkdevil and bring Normie Osborn's attacker to justice. But will she be too late?

Story 'Grave Matters'

  Spider-Girl (Vol. 1) #65
Arc: Part 5 of 'Marked For Death' (1-2-3-4-5-6)
Editor: Andy Schmidt
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inker: Sal Buscema

At Kaine's insistence, Spider-Girl is allowed to participate in a briefing given by Special Agent Arthur Weadon of the FBI. She learns that the Black Tarantula, a/k/a Fabian LaMuerto, has hired Mr. Nobody to kill several underworld figures, and that Mr. Nobody was a member of Weadon's rehabilitation program before going rogue. The group is planning to monitor Wilson Fisk's upcoming funeral, and Spider-Girl's offer to help is flatly dismissed. Determined to capture Normie Osborn's attacker, Spider-Girl heads home and gets some help from her father in the form of one of his old spider tracers, complete with tracker.

At school the next day, May and Davida run into each other for an awkward moment before May comes face to face with a battered Sandra Healy, who blames May for what happened. Later that afternoon, while sneaking into the drama department to borrow a few "props" for her plan, May gets the feeling that she is being stalked once again. May finally catches her shadow, who turns out to be Sandra Healy's abusive boyfriend, Howard. Howard threatens her and throws a punch, which May catches easily. She then breaks his hand and orders him to get help.

At the Kingpin's funeral, Agent Weadon and Kaine are monitoring the proceedings in a nearby van waiting for the Black Tarantula. A mysterious woman arrives. "There's something..." Kaine thinks. "Oh, no! She wouldn't!" She would. Dressed in "moll chic", May Parker has just crashed the party. Shortly thereafter, Fabian LaMuerto arrives with a cadre of bodyguards, setting May's danger sense on red alert. "If your spider-sense is any judge, this guy's danger personified." Making matters worse, Mr. Nobody picks that moment to teleport in with guns blazing.

May realizes that he's after a specific target, but breaks a heel before she can reach him. She does, however, plant the spider tracer on Nobody's trench coat. Nobody recognizes her and teleports away, saying that he has "someone more important to kill." That's more than enough for May, who bolts from the scene to follow her tracker.

Mr. Nobody arrives back at the loft where Darkdevil is being tortured. He lowers the level of electricity shooting through him to make him lucid, then reloads his gun. But, being your standard supervillain, he talks long enough for Spider-Girl to catch up and plow through the window. The two begin to fight, Nobody confessing to killing Fisk and the others for the money. "Of course, I still do the occasional freebie, like the Osborn kid. I remembered you were friends and hit him to mess with your head. I also grabbed Darkdevil for old time's sake. I managed to catch him by surprise when I scored the Kingpin." Spider-Girl keeps trying to maneuver Nobody away from Darkdevil, but he still gets off a few shots, which hit the control and send a fresh surge of energy pouring through his already-helpless captive.

Desperate to save Darkdevil's life, Spider-Girl leaps toward the machine to rip off the power cable. Mr. Nobody teleports in front of her to blow her head off, but turns solid just in time for Spider-Girl to stick the end of the cable into his back and give him a serious jolt. Nobody collapses, his teleportation equipment fried, and May frees a grateful Darkdevil after calling Agent Weadon.

Darkdevil is freed, Nobody is unconscious, and the Black Tarantula is to blame. Story over? "You still have doubts. All you know for sure is that you're determined to expose the real mastermind and MAKE HIM PAY!"

General Comments

Not too shabby. But perhaps the loose ends are wrapped up a little too neatly? The penultimate issue of "Soldiers of the Serpent" left May facing a nearly-unstoppable foe while the lives of every superhero in the MC2 universe hung in the balance. This time, Darkdevil's freed, the bad guy's going to jail, and the only thing to keep us looking forward to next issue is May's doubts about the real mastermind. She's probably right, but revealing said mastermind would have made for a much more dramatic cliffhanger. In short, the story was good but the ending was weak.

Getting back to the story, though, I very much enjoyed seeing May use her father's spider tracers. To be honest, it's something that Tom DeFalco should have thought to use a little earlier, but it's still nice to see some of the stuff from the original comic making its way into Spider-Girl.

May taking out Sandra's abusive boyfriend was also a good (and believable) idea. Remember how Peter handled the drug dealers that hooked Harry on PCP way back when? Same thing here, although breaking his hand might have been a bit over the top. Still, it's hard to imagine someone like May Parker NOT striking back against an abusive jerk.

The one thing that struck me as a bit contrived was Mr. Nobody's appearance at the funeral. He shows up, he recognizes Spider-Girl, then he cuts out. It seems like the only reason he showed up was because Spider-Girl had to get the tracer on him to find DD. What target was at the funeral--an event that Nobody had to know would be under more surveillance than Ben and J. Lo's relationship--that couldn't be taken out elsewhere? MAYBE the Black Tarantula, but I'm not sure. Hopefully the next issue will explain this one away.

Not a bad issue and it's nice to see Nobody finally get his. And I think I'm warming up to Frenz' art on this book. But "LaMuerto" (literally "The Death") really is a hoaky character name. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

Overall Rating

This issue was not without its flaws but kept the storyline running at a tight clip. Three webs.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Wildman (E-Mail)