A Tangled Web: A Legend’s Legacy Lives In ‘Spider-Girl’ #0-6
by Tony Thornley
For nearly fifteen years, the Marvel Universe explored an optimistic vision of the future. That line was led by one long-lasting title, one of the best Spider-family titles in the company’s history.
The world of Spider-Girl launched in 1997 in an issue of What If…?, later republished as Spider-Girl #0. The story was an instant hit, launching a line of books that would only last a few years, but the flagship series of the line would last in various forms for over a decade afterwards. The series was written entirely by Tom Defalco, with art by Ron Frenz, and Pat Oliffe, inks by Al Williamson and Bill Sienkiewicz, color by Christy Scheele, Bob Sharen, and Matt Webb, and letters by Dave Sharpe.
When Mayday Parker discovers that she’s inherited her father’s superpowers she becomes the Stunning Spider-Girl. It’s not a smooth road however, as she has to deal with her parents’ disapproval, new supervillains, and high school life. Even worse though is the legacy of one of her father’s greatest enemies. Can Mayday cope with it all and become one of her generation’s greatest heroes?
This series is just a great comic, and this first volume is a perfect example of that. Though DeFalco’s second-person narration is awkward at first, it helps the reader get into Mayday’s head and sets the series apart from any other comic. He also very quickly builds an entire universe around Mayday, with new generations of Avengers, Fantastic Five, and mutants.
It has a lot of silver age throwbacks, without feeling dated or “retro.” Beyond that, it’s simply a lot of fun. It wasn’t groundbreaking comics by any means, but it was always a reliable superhero adventure, with a lot of heart and depth.
Frenz and Oliffe are fantastic pencillers to capture that Silver Age feel. On the zero issue, Frenz’s pencils (with stunning inks by Sienkiewicz) give the story an energetic pace, with a lot of action shots and some great splashes. Oliffe and Williamson, who do the rest of the volume, take a step back and take a bit of a breath, pacing the story perfectly for the soap opera side of the story. However, their action scenes are also fantastic, with splashes that feel classic and timeless, while still retaining a bit of a modern touch.
If you’ve never read this series, it’s one to start immediately. It’s comics comfort food at its best and highly recommended.
Many of these issues are readily available in digital editions, and in print from many local shops. It was also collected in Spider-Girl V1: Legacy or Spider-Girl: The Complete Collection Volume 1 in print and digital formats.
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