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Amazing Spider-Girl #22

Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2008
By: Ariel Carmona Jr.

Tom De Falco, Ron Frenz
Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Amazing Spider-Girl #22 arrives in stores Thursday, July 10.

I must confess that I had not been following the exploits of May (Mayday) Parker, the daughter of Peter Parker, the one true Spider-Man, as conceived by Tom De Falco and Ron Frenz. So I come at this with a fresh perspective and eyes to some degree.

Though not wholly familiar with Marvel’s MC2 universe, I did follow the original "Clone Saga" of the mid 90s and, like everyone else at the time, was perplexed by editorial decisions which lead to Mary Jane's pregnancy and to the events which subsequently led to her baby being still-born and to Ben Reilly taking up the mantle of Spider-Man, albeit not permanently.

Unlike everybody else though, I have to admit to having enjoyed a lot of elements from the story-arc, and this issue of Amazing Spider-Girl serves to fondly remind me of some of the better elements from that maligned saga including Kaine, the Scarlet Spider costume (always thought that Ben Riley’s threads were not half bad) and the death of Aunt May.

Don't get me wrong, I think Aunt May was one of the best supporting characters in comics, but her death in ASM #400 was moving and extremely well done, and her return to the 616 universe extremely upset me, as I thought it cheapened that landmark comic book.

At any rate, it's no wonder Spider-Girl has been the longest running female lead in a comic book. De Falco, Frenz and company have done a superb job of weaving an alternate universe with ties to the Clone Saga which is completely compelling and appear to be telling some really great stories. Why haven't I been reading this book all along?

There are a lot of soap opera elements to this issue to be sure, but that was some of the inherent charm associated with the old Spider-man stories plotted by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko as well as later versions of the character. As a long time Spidey fan, I am glad to see that the pathos and complexity have carried over to this version and lend this title an "old school" feel to it that's pleasantly intoxicating.

The subplots of Peter's lab accident and May's dating issues with Gene and her jealousy over his relationship with Simone are expertly intertwined throughout the main narrative while I dig the anti-mutant angle and the character of "Push." As if all the other story elements weren't enough, this comic also features inventive new takes on mainstream Marvel villains like the Sisterhood of Mutants and yet another version of the Green Goblin.

On the artistic front, I can't get enough of Buscema's inking over De Falco and Frenz's pencils. Looking at these gorgeous panels is like going back in time (or at least like delving into my Spidey stash) and reading copies of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man. Much like Marvel's Ultimate line, half the fun of reading this comic is seeing fresh new twists on Spidey's gallery of legendary adversaries, most of whom are some of the most colorful in all of comicdom.

Final Word: This comic book has it all, and it's a pity that the spirit of the webslinger--so muddled and noticeably absent from the flagship title currently printed in the main universe--is alive and kicking in this alternate universe. A single issue of this comic is better than the thrice a week mess currently published by Marvel.







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