Spider-Girl (May "Mayday" Parker) is a fictional character, a comic book superheroine active in an alternate future of the Marvel Comics universe. She was created by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz as a spin-off of the Spider-Man character, and first appeared in What If (Vol. 2) #105. She later acquired her own ongoing comic book, Spider-Girl, written by DeFalco and drawn by Frenz and Pat Olliffe, which has become the longest-running superhero book with a lead female character ever published by Marvel.
Spider-Girl was a spin-off of the ongoing series What If. According to Tom DeFalco, her first appearance was meant to be her last. However, due to positive fan response, Spider-Girl and two other series (A-Next and J2) set in the same universe were launched under the MC2 imprint. All three were intended to be merely 12-issue limited series, however, Spider-Girl's sales justified its continuation.
Although Spider-Girl has had among the lowest sales of any ongoing series by Marvel, the book's sales were consistent. Its active fanbase caused Marvel to revoke several cancellation announcements. Reprints of the series in digest size trade paperbacks sold well, and Marvel Associate Editor Nick Lowe revealed in a November 2005 interview that "Spider-Girl, for the first time in her history, is completely safe from cancellation."
Marvel announced that #100 would be the title's final issue. However, although the Spider-Girl title was indeed cancelled, the book was relaunched as The Spider-Girl'>Amazing Spider-Girl with issue #0 published in October 2006.
In The Spider-Girl'>Amazing Spider-Girl, May has promised to give up costumed superheroics, dates Eugene Thomson, and runs for student council. When Mary Jane becomes aware that the Hobgoblin poses a threat to her daughter's teenaged friends, she allows Mayday to resume her activities as Spider-Girl (a situation they both hope to keep secret from Peter).
May "Mayday" Parker is the child of Peter and Mary Jane Parker in a future, alternate universe continuity. In the MC2 continuity, they were reunited with their baby daughter by Kaine, who found the child living with Alison Mongraine, the con artist who had kidnapped the baby on instruction from the Green Goblin. After they were reunited, Peter lost a leg during the horrific final conflict with the Green Goblin. After the battle Peter received a bionic replacement from Mr. Fantastic and considering it a wake-up call decided to retire and focus on being a husband and father (The battle is glimpsed in Spider Girl #7, and fully explained in Spider Girl #49). For many years, the duo chose to keep their past from Mayday and hoped that she wouldn't develop Powers of her own.
Despite her parents' hopes, May began developing versions of her father's Spider-Powers when she was 15. At the same time, Normie Osborn (Green Goblin's grandson) set out to restore the family name (as he saw it). Mayday donned Ben Reilly's Spider-Man costume to stop him and soon took to crime fighting, at first hindered, then helped, by her worried parents.
May shares traits of both of her parents. Like her mother, she is a good-looking and popular student, and she is intelligent and bright, just as her father was. She also inherited his love for in-fight bantering. In addition, she is a very good athlete and excelled in her girls' basketball team until she quit after her Powers emerged. On the other hand, May seems to have inherited the "Parker luck" in which her dual identity wreaks havoc in her private life.
Powers and abilities
May Parker inherited many of the same abilities as her father, Peter Parker. She has enhanced strength, can leap several stories high, and can cover the width of a city block. She heals faster than a normal human, and is more agile than Spider-Man.
Spider-Girl can adhere to almost any surface through a static-electric field her body generates, allowing her to scale the sides of a building, just like a spider. Wall-crawling doesn't come as naturally to May as Peter; she has to concentrate to keep herself from slipping off surfaces. In addition to adhering to surfaces, May can also repel herself like an opposing magnet, or she can repulse and adhere another object or person through a shared medium. For example, she can cause a person to stick to a wall they're touching just by touching that same wall and willing them to, or she can just as easily violently push them away.
May Parker inherited her "spider-sense," a form of clairvoyance that warns her of danger and is somewhat more powerful and reliable than her father's, and tells her the direction a threat is coming from with a high level of precision. Through intensive training, she learned to fight blindfolded using only her spider-sense. She can use it to spot weaknesses in an opponent and use them to her advantage. She can also sense mundane threats or observation like her father, but unlike him she can use it to sense deception. By touching her father's clone, Kaine, she experienced a shared precognitive vision, but she does not normally have that ability.
May also has mechanical web-shooters based on Ben Reilly's web-shooter design, but longer and narrower. They can also fire metal needles called "Stingers", but May rarely uses them, thinking them to be "too brutal". Her mobile phone is modified to attach to one of her web-shooters, and looks like one of its cartridges. She occasionally uses spider-tracers, but as they are tuned to her father's spider-sense and not hers, she needs a receiver to detect them.
Spider-Girl once lost her Powers due to being electrocuted. However, she borrowed the Green Goblin equipment from Normie Osborn until she regained them.
May has also received some martial arts training from the Ladyhawks and Elektra Natchios, as well as being drilled in the use of her Powers by her father.
Since Spider-Man's power and abilities were upgraded in Spider-Man: The Other, (an event which takes place outside of the MC2 continuity), any comparison of May's Powers to her father's must apply to his status prior to that event.
The Mutant Question
It is unclear whether Spider-Girl is a mutant. May was born with her Powers - an important criteria which usually leads to a character's classification as a "mutant" in the Marvel Universe. However, the term is never used to describe her.
Before her birth, a Sentinel robot found her to be "beyond the range of embryonic normalcy," but not specifically a mutant (The Amazing Spider-Man #415).
May Parker also exists in the primary Earth-616 timeline in which most Marvel Comics are set. However, her status is unknown and she is believed to be dead.
Mary Jane became pregnant at the beginning of the Clone Saga. Impending fatherhood was one of the main reasons Peter retired as Spider-Man during that storyline, passing the mantle to Ben Reilly. However, at the end of the story, Mary Jane was poisoned by Alison Mongraine, an agent of the Green Goblin, and the baby was stillborn (or seemed to be, as Mongraine took the sedated infant away with her). Ben Reilly died at the Green Goblin's hands the same night, and Peter Parker became Spider-Man again.
There were hints during the "Spider-Man: Identity Crisis" storyline in The Amazing Spider-Man #434-435, one of Tom DeFalco's last storylines on the title, that Baby May would be returned. Instead, the subplot was dropped, and a few issues later DeFalco was replaced by Howard Mackie and John Byrne. Under that team, Aunt May was brought back instead. In a flashback in Spider-Girl #49, an alternative version of this story was presented, with the younger May returned instead of the elder.
However, unlike developments in the MC2 continuity, baby May and her parents were never reunited in Marvel's main continuity. Editors have repeatedly stated that the baby died, or at the very least will not be seen again; the baby was considered a major factor in the "aging" of the characters. However, no proof of her death was ever shown, it was clearly implied that she was kidnapped, and Alison Mongraine and Kaine were never conclusively shown to have died either.
In The Amazing Spider-Man #439 (Defalco's last on the title), the issue takes place 1,000 years (2998 based on the release date of the issue) in the future. Two archaeologists stumble across relics belonging to Spider-Man (such as his webshooters). They speculate on his career, and discuss the other heroes who were inspired by him, such as Spider-Girl, Spider-Man 2099, and Spider-Man 2211.
There are two variant and alternate universe versions of Spider-Girl. One was raised by a Ben Reilly who survived after her father died during her childhood, as seen What If? vol. 2 #86, and later revealed in the Paradise X: Heralds mini-series. Another version of Spider-Girl is actually Venom, who is seen in the Earth X mini-series and its two sequels, Universe X and Paradise X.
Kitty Pryde in her "Spider-Girl" costume, with Spider-Man, on the cover of Ultimate Spider-Man #91. Art by Mark Bagley.The world of MC2 is designated as "Earth-982". The world where Spider-Girl was raised by Ben Reilly is known as "Earth-1122" and the world featuring Venom as Spider-Girl along with the other heroes of the Earth X saga is known as "Earth-9997".
In Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter's girlfriend Kitty Pryde (a.k.a. Shadowcat) adopts a second costumed identity in order to be able to fight crime at his side (it is already public knowledge that she and Shadowcat are one and the same; hence, she cannot work with him as Shadowcat). She first wears the costume in issue #91, and Peter jokingly suggests "Spider-Girl" as her crime-fighting name.
The ultimate universe's Spider-heroine was introduced in Ultimate Spider-Man #98; issue #102 reveals her to be a clone of Peter Parker whose chromosomes were manipulated to make her female. She resembles Peter, retains his memories, and appears to be the same age. Cassandra Webb was preparing to erase the clone's memories in order to implant a new identity as "Jessica Drew," but she managed to escape before the process could be carried out. This character is an analogue to the mainstream Marvel universe's Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew).
Appearances in other media
An older, more cynical alternate version of May Parker/Spider-Girl appears in the Spider-Man/X-Men team-up novel Time's Arrow 3: The Future by Tom DeFalco and eluki bes shahar (ISBN 0-425-16500-0). In that novel, Spider-Man travels to the alternate future known for its Iron Man 2020 (Arno Stark). This universe's Earth is designated Earth-8410. In this reality, Spider-Girl wears a costume almost identical to the one worn by Jessica Drew, except the colors have been modified to look like Spider-Man's costume. She also has the ability to fire venom blasts as well as webs.
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