When it comes to Spider-Women in Marvel Comics there only a handful of characters, but not if you count alternate realities. As Marvel’s kid-friendly Spider-Verse trade series shows, there’s an eclectic mix of Spider-Verse female characters to enjoy. The new book, out this week, is a slightly smaller size for smaller hands and features five issues throughout Marvel history. Picking this up gives you the introduction of Spider-Woman, her first encounter with Spider-Man, the introduction of Spider-Girl (aka May “MayDay” Parker), Silk, and finally the more recent Annie May Parker aka Spiderling. If you ever wanted one handy guide to all the Spider-Woman characters in the Marvel universe, this book is for you.
The timing for this collection couldn’t be more perfect, given the rumblings a Spider-Woman movie is in the works directed by Olivia Wilde. It’s also well-timed since Spider-Woman is reaching its 100th issue and it’s one of the hottest books at Marvel Comics right now. This book gives new readers a new perspective on female Spider-characters starting in 1978 and longtime readers a chance to rekindle their love for the characters. Make no mistake, most of the stories in this book are iconic and well worth a second read. Spider-Girl was a revolutionary series at the time and was such a fan favorite it lasted over 30 issues.
Collected here are Spider-Woman #1, #20 1, What If #105, Silk #2, and Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #13. If you’ve never read classic Marvel Comics you’re in for a treat with Spider-Woman which is very cooky, heavy on the science fiction B-film, and a surprising departure from the character today. It’s a good example of how old-school female characters weren’t quite up to snuff compared to the modern, more well-rounded modern era. It’s still fun though. Spider-Woman creators Marv Wolfman and Carmine Infantino were crafting a wacky and weird sci-fi story with horror underpinnings.
Following this are progressive and well-rounded takes on female characters. These are characters who love the powers they have, aren’t afraid to use them, and steer right into being the heroes they were meant to be.
If there’s a defining trait of each hero in this book, it’s that they do what they must because they know a hero must answer the call. Like Spider-Man before them, a hero is one who uses their power for great responsibility, and you see it throughout the years these Spider-Women took on the worst villains.