Young Mattie Franklin took part in an arcane ceremony called the Gathering of the Five, which mysteriously conferred amazing powers upon her. She has used her strange, new-found abilities to dress like her idol, Spider-Man, while she sticks her nose in where it doesn't belong, releases super-powered villains and gets into mischief. She's impatient! She's unappreciative! She makes a play for Spider-Man right after his wife dies! She changes costumes every episode! She's about to be cancelled!!! She's THE MEDIOCRE SPIDER-WOMAN!
Yuck! Flesh opens this issue regurgitating a nearly dead body while morbid onlookers Itch and Scratch claim to offer her "freedom". Later, Spider-Woman flits around through the skies, once again bored and looking for some action. She quickly finds some as Captain America battles several Mandroids. Spider-Woman interferes with Cap's battle, but he doesn't fault her for it. Surprising herself, she hits on Cap asking him to go out for a cup of coffee.
The next morning, Mattie triggered a memory about her deceased mother. Apparently she died when Mattie was very young, but thinking about her makes her obsess. On the school bus, Mattie and Cher get harassed by their peers. Cher defends Mattie while Mattie just wants to be left alone. Mattie tosses one of the bullies down the length of the school bus. Both Mattie and Cher get suspended. As Cher frets over her academic future, Flesh attacks, calling Mattie Spider-Woman in front of Cher. Cher runs for help, while Mattie becomes entangled in Flesh. Itch and Scratch drug Mattie and take her to some peer. She wakes up sewn inside flesh! Yuck!
Byrne added a bit of depth to Mattie. At this point in the series, I really didn't expect to see anything new, but it was a nice change. Absent from the past 14 issues has been any insight into who her parents are and why she is the way she is. Poking a hole into her spontaneous and often insensitive exterior was a good move. Granted, the surface has been merely scratched.
Sears' art has been consistent and sharp. I'm partial to Sears, but style is always a matter of personal taste. I appreciate his clean lines, appropriate anatomy, and general body structure of Mattie as a teen, and not a grossly exaggerated female super-hero.
This was a darker issue than normal Spider-Woman fare. I'm not necessarily in favor of darker Spider-Woman storylines, but I had more of a sense that Spider-Woman was in danger facing a real threat than any other story up to now.
A step up from the direction this series has been headed. 2.5 webs.