Anya Corazon, Spider-Girl, has been through hell. Having donned a new costume and renewed her efforts as a super-hero, her father was killed in an attack by Red Hulk where he was working. Spider-Girl tried to help but she was too late... In a rage she pursued Red Hulk but quickly realised that she was no match for him. He seemed confused, mumbling about "blood burning" and "Raven", before he fled into the river.
If all of this wasn't enough, someone has been watching her... and knows where she lives and that Anya is Spider-Girl!
Now: Anya Corazon, Spider-Girl, sits in her apartment and talks about how her father’s death has affected her…
Then: She feels she needs to paint the unpainted walls of her apartment herself now. Rocky’s story (#2) helped her realise she still wanted to be Spider-Girl, but she needs to tell someone that Anya is Spider-Girl. At her father’s funeral, all she can think about is Red Hulk and his involvement in his death. When she returns home she is met by Mr Godwin, a creepy neighbour.
Later that night, Anya runs into some carjackers. She quickly changes into her Spider-Girl costume but when she emerges, the carjackers are unconscious and have a car wrapped round them! Red Hulk appears! He grabs Spider-Girl and leaps onto a rooftop! She is determined that he pay for what he has done but Red Hulk has some explaining to do: As General Ross, he was at the City College Library to track down information about a friend of his who died suspiciously. He got talking to Anya’s father who was investigating something similar. Someone decided that they were getting too close and poisoned them! The poison, administered by Raven, turned Ross into Red Hulk but killed her father! After it happened, Red Hulk tried to fight through the poison but his blood was boiling and his actions and thoughts were not his own (#2). Red Hulk figured that Spider-Girl’s emotions during their encounter were running strong so was able to work out who she is. Red Hulk explains that Raven is an undercover organisation that has been funnelling weapons and tech to gangs and terrorists but he wonders if Anya’s father had anything in his possession that could help him get closer to uncovering them… An uneasy alliance is formed between the two of them – find Raven together and bring them to justice!
Now: Anya finishes her story and her audience, Sue Richards (Invisible Woman), turns visible again. Sue offers Anya a scholarship from The Fantastic Four to help her keep the apartment and to keep her afloat. Sue explains that she always knew Anya was Spider-Girl… She and Anya hang a picture of her father up. She wants him to rest in peace… que en paz descanse.
I’ll get it over with straight away – too many artists. I love Clayton Henry’s stuff but the fill-ins, though well used to cover the flashbacks, are so different and clash so much with the polished and clean work by Henry that it ruins the read of the issue. Granted they all tell the story well and I’m never lost, but it does let the issue down.
Paul Tobin’s story itself is quite a good one. We get the expected explanation as to why Red Hulk was acting out last issue and Tobin cleverly keeps Anya’s balance between guilt, anger and acceptance of what she is hearing. I love that, from this, there’s a sort of team-up happening and look forward to where this heads. Putting these two together is a risk but one that works as they’re both fairly new to readers yet are so different.
As far as Gil goes, Tobin does a good job of bringing Anya’s mourning to a sort of conclusion. The funeral scenes are nicely quiet but are a little too focussed on Red Hulk thoughts. The idea to confess all, share her feelings and her identity to Sue is a clever choice that both frames the flashbacks nicely and fit beautifully with past relationships.
Spider-Girl #3 closes this mini arc in a very satisfactory way, planting seeds to be sown at a later date with the Raven/Red Hulk subplot and redirecting the character and her motivation.