Comics : Spider-Man Magazine (Vol. 2) #1
This review was first published on: 2008.
Named "Spider-Man Magazine" on the cover, the inside text actually gives the full name of this mag as "Amazing Spider-Man Magazine". It's not named #1, so presumably this is a one-shot offering.
There's reprinted material - two full "Marvel Adventures" tales, a Franklin Richards Son of a Genius story, and some reprinted entries from the 2004 Spider-Man handbook. There's some cutout "trading" cards, a poster, a few puzzles, and the usual assortment of gap-fillers that you might expect.
In amongst that lot is a five-page written word Spider-Girl story by Tom DeFalco, with a half-dozen small illustrations scattered about.
Spider-Man Magazine (Vol. 2) #1 (Story 1)
Year 2007 : SM Reprint
Summary: Reprints, plus one new text story.
The story is boldly entitled "The Dance", but it's not exactly your heart-pumping on-stage modern dance spectacular. It's more like your Grandma shuffling around the floor in a Zimmer frame while Matovani soft orchestral music dribbles away in the background.
May Parker is on the school dance committee. Why? Surely she doesn't have enough spare time, so why sign up for something that she can't do properly. Anyhow, the school primadonna Simone is also on the committee, doing her best to make life miserable for all concerned. Meanwhile, some B-list super-villain named "The Claw" is out, and he tangles with Spider-Girl.
May calls in a favour from Uncle Phil, and learns that there's a diamond delivery going down that night (which happens to be the night of the school dance). Why the Claw would go out in costume and draw attention to himself the day before launching his sneak diamond robbery I have no idea. But Spider-Girl bails out of the dance to go apprehend him.
Surprise! Spider-Man turns up too, and takes over, as a present to May, allowing her to go back to the dance. Not that much of a gift, since May is there just in time to have one last dance with some uninteresting guy who seems anyhow to be tied up with some other uninteresting girl - totally voiding any last vestige of romantic interest.
There's a sub-plot that involves Simone getting her comeuppance and missing the dance, though it's at the cost of Courtney missing the dance too, so it's not particularly satisfying.
In fact, nothing about the story is satisfying at all. As a tale it lacks any depth and complexity - indeed it lacks any interest at all. The action scenes are plastic, the characters sleepwalk through their roles. Clearly there was a need for some filler material and Tom got co-opted. But Spider-Girl as text utterly fails to fire. Either DeFalco's heart really wasn't in it, or else he was having one hell of an off-day.
Or maybe the teen-age soap-opera hi-jinks of May Parker are heavily supported by the visual part of the comics format. Maybe Spider-Girl really doesn't work without the art to help keep it fresh. Actually, even with the artwork, I wonder sometimes if Spider-Girl is still working. I find the regular Spider-Girl title a bit of a yawn these days - I've lost track of who isn't dating who, and I find the it all just rather unfulfilling. In text format, it's many times more so.
Just to check that I'm not just getting old, I gave this to my young daughter who's a big fan of Power Pack, Mary Jane (comic and text novels), and who also finds the regular Spider-Girl comic entertaining enough. She supported me 100% - this story is just a big snooze from start to finish.
One web for the Spider-Girl story, it's a disaster. The magazine itself is a nice enough bundle at US $6 for three full reprints, some Handbook entries and a few other goodies. Maybe nudge it up another half a web for the total package. But if you're buying this mag just for the May Parker tale, then my advice is don't bother!