Comics : Spider-Island: Amazing Spider-Girl #1

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This review was first published on: Aug 2011.

Background...

Anya Corazon is Spider-Girl. Without powers, she fought for truth and justice.

When she returned to crime-fighting (Spider-Girl #1-8), her father was murdered! She went toe-to-toe with Ana Kravinoff, Hobgoblin, Red Hulk and unconvered and stopped the conspiracy that took her father's life.

Recently she has found her spider-powers have returned, caused by the same infection that has created... Spider-Island!

In Detail...

"Class Warfare"
Spider-Island: Amazing Spider-Girl #1
Oct 2011 : SM Spin-Off
Editor:  Tom Brennan
Writer:  Paul Tobin
Artist:  Pepe Larraz
Lettering:  Dave Sharpe
Colorist:  Andres Mossa
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Articles: Arana, Green Goblin IV (Phil Urich)

Anya Corazon/Spider Girl and her flatmate Rocky are sent home from school early due to the infestation sweeping Manhattan. They talk about Anya’s newfound spider-powers. On cue Anya is attacked by a man-size, knife-wielding insect that recognises her as Arana and calls for his fellow insects to help him kill her! Three of them attack, claiming to be members of The Society Of The Wasp, so Anya quickly swings away holding on to Rocky.

On a quieter rooftop, Anya explains that she used to be called Arana and that The Spider Society (who gave her powers originally) were sworn enemies of The Society Of The Wasp. Anya figures that the appearance of so many spider-powered people recently has caused The Society Of The Wasp to begin hunting once again! Anya changes into her Spider-Girl costume and tells Rocky to go back to the apartment and heads off for a little hunting of her own! She lands on a rooftop to find herself surrounded by The Hand, a gang of undead assassins! It seems The Hand has been looking for her but she’s in no mood to talk so lands a few punches and throws herself off the roof away from them!

A Wasp (a member of The Society Of The Wasp) crashes into her in mid-air and she lands painfully on a car below! Spider-Girl recovers to find a whole army of Wasps! Suddenly The Hand arrives on the street and they vow to protect Spider-Girl! A fierce battle rages between Wasps and The Hand with a surprised and confused Spider-Girl in the middle! Spider-Girl takes the opportunity to save as many innocents as she can, including a wall-crawling baby, a young woman and a couple!

Once again, Spider-Girl enters the fray but is stopped… by Hobgoblin! Without warning he plants a set of headphones on her and attacks both The Hand and Wasps with his sonic scream! He incapacitates them all long enough to knock Spider-Girl silly and fly off with her on his glider! He flies into a nearby penthouse and drops Spider-Girl at the feet of… The Kingpin! With the job he was hired to do done, Hobgoblin leaves. Kingpin needs Spider-Girl… to work for him. With The Society Of Wasps hunting spiders, Kingpin climbs the wall and says, “You and I have much in common, Anya Corazon.”!

In General...

Paul Tobin returns to Spider-Girl with a great little tie-in to Spider-Island. He immediately finds the balance between a story that relies heavily upon the events of Amazing Spider-Man and one that simple uses the context of the main story. Essentially a continuation of the Spider-Girl story, this opening salvo immediately brings back the supporting cast, plot threads and relationships that made Spider-Girl (2010) a solid title.

Mixing the recent elements of Rocky, Hobgoblin, The Hand and Kingpin with the oldest Anya Corazon characters possible (The Wasps) is another move that is very refreshing and makes for a great closing page. Tobin has always thought his stories and characters through and these choices again makes for a logical but gripping story with few holes. This is solid, clean storytelling at its best.

The story hurtles from start to finish. Frantic as this pace is, there is little room for any kind of subplot. To me, there could have been some contextual cutaways or more flashbacks to really capture the threat of The Wasps, to break the action up a little and to tease #2 more.

Having the pleasure of Clayton Henry wrap his style around Spider-Girl and the misfortune of having Fred Van Lente and Pepe Larraz finish Web Of Spider-Man (Vol. 2) with a complete misfire, my heart sank when I heard Larraz was on duties here. I’ll give him a lot of credit though as he manages to tone his extrovert style down to deliver some excellent detail, a lot of vitality and a weight to his work through careful use of thicker black lines. I still have some concerns over the level of emotion and consistent anatomy he can capture but hey. Whether Tobin wrote solid action to play to Larraz’s strengths, I don’t know, but it has toned down the unrealism and brought an unexpected high level to his work.

Overall Rating...

A quick, solid start that engages from the start, details the characters perfectly and delivers a great ending.