Anya Corazon, Spider-Girl, is still dealing with the death of her father, poisoned by RAVEN in an attack on Red Hulk. She is beginning to forge a new life for herself: a new flatmate, continuing her life as Spider-Girl and dealing with the everyday pressures of teenage life.
What she doesn't know is that RAVEN are spying on her. Her neighbour, Curt Godwin (a RAVEN Agent) knows that Anya is Spider-Girl and plans to recruit her into the organisation!
Having recently defeated Screwball and Ana Kravinoff, Spider-Girl now continues her strange alliance with Red Hulk as they work to bring down RAVEN together...
Anya Corazon, Spider-Girl can’t get Red Hulk out her head. His part in her father’s death haunts her (#3). She is startled when her flatmate Rocky shouts so goes to see if she’s ok. Rocky is haunted by her mother’s death at the hands of The Green Goblin and keeps dreaming about him…
At school the following day, homework is getting too much! Anya is met outside by General Ross/Red Hulk. He tells her that he tracked down a RAVEN base and attacked. He hands her a sheaf of papers stolen from the base and asks her to look at them to see if she can further their investigation…
Later, at The Baxter Building, Spider-Girl prepares for her first interview. Sue Richards is on hand to support her as Norah Roberts and cameraman Phil Urich (who is secretly The Hobgoblin) interview her.
Anya watches a new video from Screwball, calling Spider-Girl out. She’s got other things to worry about.
As Spider-Girl, she stops a bank robber but, when checking her twitter account, realises that Hobgoblin has been sighted near Times Square! She tracks him down, determined to show RAVEN what she is capable of! She eventually finds him and they start to fight! With his flaming sword and sonic scream, Hobgoblin is a vicious opponent but Spider-Girl has prepared and stuffed her ears full of chewing gum!
Spider-Man learns of the fight and knows that Spider-Girl is out of her depth!
Spider-Girl succeeds in taking Hobgoblin’s bag of pumpkin bombs but she is smacked onto the roof of a parked car as she tries to take him down! She shouts that she’s done playing nice and that if he wants his toys back he’s going to have to come and get them! Hobgoblin swoops towards her, brandishing his sword for the kill! Spider-Man arrives but can’t do anything as Hobgoblin screams towards her! Suddenly he is wrenched backwards by a rope that Spider-Girl managed to attach to him and then a lamppost as they fought! Spidey makes sure Spider-Girl is ok but this gives Hobgoblin a chance to escape.
A little later, Spider-Girl sticks up for herself. She liked having Spider-Man there but she’s a big girl now. She asks him if he can provide some muscle for her mission tomorrow – find out, from the papers Red Hulk gave her, who killed her father!
This is a clear jump up in form from Paul Tobin, demonstrating a clear progression of tenacity and gumption for the character as well as delivering a meaningful and impacting done-in-one issue. As is the case, the impact remains understated and clever as Tobin cannot rely upon big theatrics and obvious guest appearances to help Spider-Girl, instead building a strong central character, good supporting cast and telling solid stories.
Instances of this which stand out include the underlying Screwball scenario, Spider-Girl’s pursuit of Hobgoblin in the attempt that RAVEN are watching and can see what is coming for them and the ingenuity of . There’s a brilliant moment where Norah Winters (great cameo!) questions whether Spider-Girl is out of her league sometimes. Spider-Girl is but Tobin uses this to his advantage (contrast with Red Hulk, thinking through her fight with Ana Kravinoff and outwitting Hobgoblin) to create a superhero comic about someone with no superpowers. It is thoughtful planned writing that makes this series work.
Clayton Henry’s welcome return aids the return to form as well. His clean lines, true grasp on the character and the fluidity of his storytelling and composition has been sorely missed and is a complete delight to pour over. His consistency is superb and he doesn’t put a step wrong. He’s also the only artist to feature in the title that has given Spider-Girl herself a grabbing visual, using shadow and texture on her costume and structuring her as a fifteen-year-old girl. There’s nothing voluptuous and unrealistic about Anya; she’s just a girl.
His version of Hobgoblin is great but the visual seems as toned-down as the character. We’ve seen Hobgoblin slice of someone’s head and try to murder people. Again, I don’t think Tobin fully displays the threat of this character (though he does a better job than he did with Ana).
It has to be said that cancelling Spider-Girl with #8 is a damned shame.
I feel there has been some hard work put into this character and that this book is worth reading. Sales say otherwise but I’d encourage all to give this a go. It is a quiet book but one filled with good intentions and suitably understated stories and characters.