Marvel Comics is in the process of re-releasing all of the Spider-Girl series as Complete Collections, and it’s a big win for everyone who stuck around and supported the beloved series. Created by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, and Mark Bagley in What If #105 way back in 1998, the series has some of the most classic comics energy you’ll find on shelves, with goofy dialogue, a melodrama that’s delectably over-the-top, and plenty of surprise twists. Collecting Spider-Girl #33-50, this is the last Complete Collection featuring Mayday Parker in her own title, but given her staying power, and an appearance in Spider-Geddon, she’ll be back soon enough.
Running 448 pages, this book opens with Spider-Girl still trying to be a hero even though she’s lost her powers. A guy in a Spider-Man suit shows up to show her up — who we know isn’t Peter Parker since that’s Mayday’s dad — further complicating her life. If there was a theme in this series, it’s the robust, overcomplicated life story of Mayday and her parents. From Peter and Mary Jane springing it on Mayday that she’ll be getting a surprise sibling, to the death of a friend thanks to a mistake, there are a lot of gasps and screaming in this book.
If you enjoy Elseworlds tales, you’ll love the different ways writers Tom DeFalco, Pat Olliffe, and Ron Frenz mix things up. It’s as if the writers took everything we know about Spider-Man and mixed it up with a few new character ideas thrown in for good measure. Green Goblin is there, but he’s not who you think. A Daredevil stylized character named “Darkdevil” is a major player. And it’s of course a bit odd to see Peter Parker and Mary Jane on the sidelines as the parents. Essentially we get the young adult narrative Peter gave us through Mayday, but in a world that’s at once entirely different and familiar. Basically put, this book allows you to enjoy superheroes if you’ve read it all and want something a little different.
That goes for fun flashback origin stories as well. The Spider-Man who shows up at the start of this collection has an interesting back story that ties directly into a now elder superhero story. It’s quite clear the creators were messing around since they had carte Blanche.
This boo is penciled by Pat Olliffe, Chris Batista, and Ron Frenz and it has a competent superhero style that never wavers. The book certainly never looks like a second-class superhero book, right down to the “‘Nuff Said” issue, which famously had Marvel go wordless in many of their books in 2002 to show how “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The only downside to the art is how it can look a bit stuffy with backgrounds, never getting too detailed, likely to save the sanity of the artists.
Spider-Girl is a series that launched when Marvel had no reason to continue publishing it, but the rabid Spider-Girl fanbase convinced Marvel to revoke several cancellation announcements. It allowed longtime Spider-Man fans a chance to see a possible future where Peter Parker retired, but still had to worry about superhero-ing through his daughter. It was a clever idea that also enjoyed a robust classic-comics feel right down to its melodrama and overly complicated plot twists. For that, this collection is a delight, and a nice, final edition to the series now completely collected.
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