Interesting Tidbit That You May Not Care About But It’s Here Anyway: Remember when we were discussing over at the boards the reasons for the delays in Big Time Amazing Spider-man? Well, technically, this is the January issue of Spider-girl, yet it didn’t come out until Feb. 9th. This is one of those books affected by the “Big Marvel Office Move,” as mentioned by Mr. Tom Brennan in the letters section.
“A Certain Point of View”
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artists: Clayton Henry w/Tim Seeley and Sergio Cariello
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterist: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Jelena Djurdjevic
***WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS AND STUFF AHEAD***
The Plot: The issue starts with Anya at her apartment, recounting to herself the events of the last two issues—namely, her dad’s death, her battle with the Red Hulk, and her decision to continue as Spider-girl after her chat with Rocky. She worries that she won’t be able to pay her bills and wonders whether her dad was ever happy with her being a superhero. She also voices her wish to entrust her secret identity with someone in her life. After her dad’s funeral, Anya agrees to a sleepover with Rocky, but on her way there, she has an encounter with the Red Hulk, who explains that he and her dad were following the trail of a mysterious group known as Raven. Both men had their coffee poisoned at City College, but the drug triggered Red Hulk’s transformation, causing his rampage. Rulk deduces that Spider-girl is Gil’s daugther and wants her cooperation to uncover Raven. As Anya finishes retelling these recent events, it turns out she’s actually talking to Sue Richards, who stayed invisible to make it easier for her to admit she’s Spider-girl. Sue herself admits she already knew about her secret from Gil, and both take a moment to remember him.
The long paragraph above should give you a good idea of the kind of issue this was. Tobin gives the reader a lot of exposition, so this issue didn’t feel short at all. Contrary to how I thought things would play out (again), issue #3 continues the Red Hulk plot, this time filling out the blanks surrounding Spider-girl’s initial encounter with him.
The art by Clayton Henry continues to be great, and Chris Sotomayor’s colours are nice and vibrant. It’s such a shame he didn’t have actions scenes to work with, since those are always fantastic, but the faces he draws are always a joy to look at. Henry is joined in this issue by Tim Seeley and Sergio Cariello. I’ve seen Seeley’s stuff in the Ant-Man & The Wasp 2010 mini (which you should totally get, by the way, if you are a fan of both Pym and O’Grady), but I’m not familiar with Cariello at all. Thus, I cannot tell for certain who’s responsible for what section of this issue, but if I had to guess (and excuse me for guessing at all), I’d say Cariello did the section involving Anya changing into her costume in the alley and her getting picked up by the Red Hulk, while Seeley drew Ross’ flashback. I’ll have more to say about Cariello’s stuff, though I think it’s pretty good, but Seeley’s pages fit very well with the narrative, since it’s reflecting a flashback as recalled by Rulk. It’s also a nice touch by Sotomayor to make his colors slightly faded to set the scenes apart.
Whereas in the last couple of issues we had a nice balance between character moments and action scenes, we get practically no action in this issue. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and I’m glad we’re getting all this exposition here, hopefully getting it out of the way for future installments. I was a little thrown off by the framing device Tobin used in this issue, especially since he was having her speak to the audience AND use Twitter for narration purposes, but it had an excellent payoff at the end. The twist with Anya speaking to an invisible Sue (rather than seemingly to herself and the audience) was unexpected and very well done. For an issue devoted entirely to character interactions, Tobin does a good job. He made Red Hulk not so unlikable in my eyes, and Sue actually displays some emotion.
Jelena Djurdjevic does another great cover. I hope she continues to do more for this book. By the way, I count it as a plus that Marvel finally removed the “Big Time” banner from the cover. I know they were trying to link things with Amazing Spider-man, but, seriously, at what point did Anya “hit the big time”? When her dad died, or when she almost got squashed by the Red Hulk?
I mentioned Sergio Cariello’s art (or at least I think it’s his). Like I said before, I understand sometimes using different artists when the situation calls for it, like in this issue with the flashbacks done by Seeley. I thought Cariello’s art was good but it seemed to me like he was filling in for Henry for the dark alley panels. That’s great and all, but his art is significantly different from Henry’s. It’s a little more exaggerated. There are some pluses, like the way he drew Anya and Rulk (who actually resembles human Ross for once), but other than that it’s a little jarring. Again, it’s not the art itself, but the fact that there’s more than one artist and their styles don’t really mesh is what bothers me.
Something that kinda annoyed me was the part with Sue and Anya, where Sue tells Anya that she’s going to be a recipient of a scholarship that pretty much allows her to stay in school and continue to live at her apartment. While this is nice and everything, I felt it was a little contrived. Sure, it wouldn’t be much of a comic to see the main character swamped with schoolwork and two jobs leaving no time for heroics, so I get that this was done for the sake of future plotlines, but the means to an end was just a little too convenient. Oh, well. It wasn’t really that bad.
So far, Spider-man has cameod in every issue, but he has yet to do anything meaningful in the book. Anya and Rocky have talked about how awesome he is, but unfortunately we don’t get to see this brother-sister relationship between the two spider-based heroes take place. Not a huge fault because the narrative wasn’t calling for it, but it’s worth mentioning.
Overall, this was a great issue though I didn’t feel the same satisfaction from reading it as I did with the first two. Things are now set up for Anya and Rulk to do some avenging, so we’ll see where that goes. In the meantime, we got a very well done issue, and, all things considered, I am confident to award it:
4 Webheads out of 5
~My Two Cents