Saturday, November 20, 2010

Spider-Girl #1 (Vol. 2) -- A Review

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Paul Tobin

Artist: Clayton Henry/
Dean Haspiel

Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
/Edgar Delgado

Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna

main-story -- 23 pages of story and art plus 1 recap page

backup-story -- 8 pages of story and art plus 1 letters page

Price: $3.99

In the interest of "going green" and "redeeming the time", I'm going to adhere to two of the three R's and Reuse and Recycle the letter I just sent off to Marvel about Spider-Girl #1 for this review. As you will see I'm very passionate about my Spider-Girl comics...


Dear Marvel,

This past summer just before leaving on a two-week family vacation out west, I secured an interview with Paul Tobin for the blog: Comics And...Other Imaginary Tales, because I was so enthusiastic about his work on Marvel Adventures Super-Heroes! (BEST Avengers title on the stands PERIOD!!!) By the time I got back and began preparing questions for him, the news about this "all-new, all-different" Spider-Girl series had been announced. As a May "Mayday" Parker Spider-Girl fan from the beginning (since What-If #105), I was NOT pleased that someone else would be using the Spider-Girl name. Still, I asked Paul about the upcoming series and if he had anything to say to May's fans that might make them try it. Based on his responses, I promised him that I would at least buy issue one and give it a fair shot, instead of boycotting it like I had planned.

Two days ago, I kept my promise and yesterday morning I finally got to read the issue. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!! The art (including the coloring and lettering) is phenomenal! For example, the page where Anya and her Dad move the couch is so natural and authentic. (Great couch upholstery by the way.) I immediately connected with them and I'm very concerned about her Dad's condition at the end of this issue. HE BETTER NOT BE DEAD!!! See, I care already.

Oh, and NO ONE writes the Invisible Woman better than Paul Tobin. I totally dig his Captain America-flirting Sue in Super Heroes, which is quite a departure from the family Sue in FF, but he writes her perfectly every time. The whole "going out to lunch" sequence was awesome. Making a conversation interesting is no small feat, but it's almost like watching a film the way Clayton masterfully changes the "camera" angles in each panel. The perspective is always spot-on too. Even when there aren't any backgrounds, Chris really enhances the scene with his superb colors. This is a team supreme for sure!

I do have some questions about Spider-Girl's costume.
How does her web-swinging work anyway? Is the rope contained in the spider-shells on the back of her hands? It looks more mechanical than Spidey's webbing, but there must be a way to reproduce it or how could she tie up bad guys and still web-swing. I know you guys have a logical explanation -- let's see a pin-up schematic sometime.

The backup story was great too. Dean's art and Edgar's colors were wonderful and fit the story's tone to perfection. I love their lumpy Thing and the way Mr. Fantastic stretched across the floor when he fell from the water bubble. I think it's cool for Anya to have such a strong connection with the FF, since Spidey encountered them so early in his career.

Excellent job everybody! You're doing the Spider-Girl name proud!!! I think that's the highest praise I can give.

Best regards,

Matthew G. Mann Sr.
Columbia, Maryland

PS. I STILL want Mayday to get her own series again, but I can support two Spider-Girls. I just wonder which one Disney will want to use in a TV show.

PPS. While I've got your attention...PLEASE SAVE THOR MIGHTY AVENGER!!! It's my favorite Marvel comic being published right now!

If you think you're surprised at my gushing reaction, imagine how I felt. (I sure hope they print my letter.) Oh, I liked the preview in Amazing Spider-man #648 too (A BIG TIME thanks to Cosmic for my coupon that allowed me to get it for FREE!). Wow, I'm back on the monthly Spider-man bandwagon after SIX YEARS and I'm supporting an Arana comic book. Hell's never going to freeze over (and it won't be the "party time" that AC/DC sang about either), but I certainly didn't expect this to happen...

Grade A+: Worthy of the name "Spider-Girl"!!! A wonderful, easily accessible start to the new series with realistic dialogue, great characterization, and astounding artwork with splendid layouts. Everyone should add this to their pull list!


  1. Matthew - Based on your interview with Paul I also got the book and it was a very well done comic. A little on the young side for its target audience, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also hate that Thor The Mighty Avenger has been canned. It was the only Thor title I was following.

  2. I do like that Marvel seems to be making a concentrated push at providing material for the younger market. Even better that its enjoyable for people of any age. And best yet, they're pushing new(ish) young, women characters who aren't sex objects.

    Glad to see such a good comic and glad to see Tobin getting a shot at mainstream stuff. Now if only they'd keep publishing Thor the Mighty Avenger...

  3. Guys, what exactly made you think the book was so "young" oriented? Anya did break the noses of two people. That's pretty brutal -- I should know after having sinus surgery last year.

    What would have made it less young -- cussing? I didn't get the impression that it was toned down for the kiddies at all. Does a book have to be T+ to be accepted by most of the comic reading public? Maybe y'all are the enlightened exception that can appreciate a good book just because it's a good book.

    Who really is Marvel's target audience for this book anyway? Maybe they've declared it somewhere, but I think it all boils down to marketing. They probably would like to get a cool merchandising deal and having Anya be Hispanic certainly may sweeten the pot. I'm trying not to dwell on the likely fact that they needed to shelve May, so Anya could take over the Spider-Girl name to make any such deal fly. Was the world really breathlessly waiting for another series starring the former Arana? Not at all, I'd imagine.

    Still, Paul's turned her into a character I care about now and I want her to succeed. Although, I have zero desire to check out any of her previous stories. I love that you can just jump right on this series and only need to know she once had powers and now she doesn't (I hope they never come back either).

    I too love that she's not portrayed as a sex object. Since she's underage -- she shouldn't be that's for sure. She reminds me of my oldest daughter (who just turned 14), confident, capable, with strong opinions and drive.

    I'm really glad you both liked the issue.

    I think Thor Mighty Avenger should be the new old Spider-Girl in that we need to continue to be vocal on how much we want that series to continue and maybe like Mayday it can survive for years to come. If they weren't glutting the market with so many Thor stories, I'm sure the numbers would be better. Everybody needs to operate under some sort of budget these days.

  4. Matthew - It felt like it was targeted younger, but maybe that is Tobin still used to doing Marvel Adventure stuff. Also the art was colored in brighter hues which sometimes denotes younger lately.

    Thor the Mighty Avenger is suffering from lack of marketing efforts by Marvel and a glut of Thor product. If Thor the Mighty was being pushed like Fraction and Hickman's books it would be selling as it is the best Thor book on the shelves.

  5. While this clearly isn't the same as say, Marvel Adventures, I'm guessing this is designed by Marvel to be a book somewhere between that stuff and some of their more mainstream stuff. Mostly because it focuses on the realistic portrayal of a 14-16 year old (didn't catch her exact age) and showing the world through her eyes. Also, despite some of the stuff you mentioned that was in the book, like violence and life threatening situations for her dad, it has a pretty light tone throughout.