by Tom DeFalco, Ron
Frenz, Pat Olliffe
(Marvel Comics, 2001)

One of my favorite comics, and the only Marvel Comics publication that I read on a regular basis, doesn't even take place in Marvel continuity. For non- or new comic readers, let me explain.

For years, Marvel published a title called What If, where pivotal Marvel events and characters were changed, and/or taken in different directions. The result was entertaining looks at what might have been, without changing what had already occurred.

A few years ago, something unusual happened; a What If story about Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and his wife, Mary Jane having a baby, who grows into a web-slinging teen superhero, elicited such positive fan response that the character was given her own comic. Now, having logged more than 70 issues, and being saved by readers from two different attempts at cancellation, Spider-Girl, if not one of Marvel's most popular titles, can certainly boast the most loyal following. And for good reason. Spider-Girl is written by long-time Marvel fixture, Tom DeFalco. Through sheer imagination and intense love for the character, DeFalco has woven a tapestry of entertaining characters with believable motivations, actions, and reactions as he establishes both new characters and older versions of familiar ones.

In the great Marvel tradition, the character of Spider-Girl is built around her alter-ego, May Parker, instead of vice-versa. And, much like the Spider-Man books, her villains are often equally interesting.

The art in this collection (the first eight issues) was handled by pencilers Pat Olliffe and Ron Frenz, whose styles are so similar that making the transition between the two is almost "silky" smooth. Both are action-oriented artists, which is exactly what any Spider-Man-related title needs. Yet, the artists are also adept at subdued scenes, as well.

Perhaps the most important thing about Spider-Girl? Quite simply, it's a lot of fun -- something many comics are missing these days. Spider-Girl is recommended for everyone, so let your children, as well as your inner child, read it.

- Rambles
written by Mark Allen
published 10 July 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.