Current Reviews


Amazing Spider-Girl #0

Posted: Monday, October 9, 2006
By: Diana Kingston

Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artists: Pat Olliffe and Ron Frenz

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Okay. First things first: this issue features the best cover in the history of Spider-Girl.

I've always appreciated the fact that Mayday Parker isn't a weaker, distaff version of the male template; she has different powers, different motivations and a completely different approach to crime-fighting than her father. Despite the fact that she's a legacy character, Tom DeFalco went to great lengths to ensure she'd be distinct enough to qualify for individuality. I believe that's a major factor in the series' longevity.

At the same time, this issue demonstrates precisely why a relaunch was necessary. Amazing Spider-Girl #0 is basically a series primer, written in the form of excerpts from May's diary which detail the major events of her "career." There are two distinct sections: the first describes Spider-Girl's battles against her many, many enemies, while the second features twelve supporting characters from May's civilian life. Now, I've followed this series from the very beginning to issue #92, and I can tell you this much: neither section does much more than scratch the surface, and some of the characters/battles included had me very confused.

This is the fatal flaw of Spider-Girl: like Oprah after a post-diet binge, it's very bloated. For all its Silver Age charm, the book suffers due to Tom DeFalco's inability to let go of characters; the result is a ridiculously inflated cast and an insane number of subplots, some of which can disappear for years until they resurface (if they turn up at all). For example, Heather Noble is given an entry in the "Amazing Friends" section, despite the fact that she isn't actually May's friend and her presence has been negligible for years. Likewise, the first part omits some thematically-important confrontations (i.e. the months-long conflict with Lady Octopus) while including forgettable one-shot villains like Spyral.

I'd hoped DeFalco and company would use this rare opportunity to streamline the book, to trim the cast and the storylines down to a more managable level... but if this issue is a demonstration of things to come, Amazing Spider-Girl is simply going to be more of the same. And I just don't think that's enough anymore.

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