“Learning to Fly”
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artists: Clayton Henry & Sergio Cariello
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterist: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Jelena Djurdjevic
***WARNING: LATE SPOILERS AHEAD. WAIT. ARE THEY STILL SPOILERS?***
The Plot: Last issue, Spider-Girl rushed back to her apartment to see if Rocky was safe but found instead that that she and her dad had been kidnapped by Emeline Foster, an agent of Raven. When it seems like she has no way out, her Spider powers suddenly come back, and she immediately puts them to use by taking down Foster and her ninjas. She finds out the location of the main base from her, and she makes it in time to see Kurt Godwin enter the door. Anya calls Spider-Man and the Red Hulk for backup, but then she immediately storms the base alone, easily outmaneuvering the agents with her new newfound powers. When she confronts Godwin, he insists that she would be the perfect Raven agent, but she tricks him into shooting a machine that sends a neural inhibitor feed, thus turning the ninjas against him. Before they can get their hands on him, Anya tries to keep him alive (despite the fact that he’s directly responsible for her dad’s death), and Spidey and Rulk show up to help. Anya then finds the room where Rocky and her dad are held hostage. She unties them and reveals her identity to her, which she had already figured out from following her on Twitter. With the Raven situation behind her, Anya feels like she can finally go home.
The Good: All right, guys. The moment you were waiting for is here. But is it any good? I’d say it is, for the most part. The gang of Tobin, Henry, Cariello, Sotomayor, and Djurdjevic is all here to deliver the final issue, and they all do a great job. The Djurdjevic covers have always been a sight to behold, and it is so here as well (although Spidey’s costume could’ve been done better, but whatever). Henry, Cariello, and Sotomayor put forth the quality interior work you’d expect for them. The art is dynamic, expressive, and colorful.
The story itself by Tobin is fast-paced once again, which is probably due to the fact that the series was cancelled and every plot thread had to be wrapped up pretty quickly. What I found interesting was Tobin’s use of black narration boxes instead of Twitter for Anya’s internal monologue. To me it signifies that she has no time for games or to goof around. The situation is serious, with the lives of people close to her at stake (not that all the other times weren’t important for her, but there’s no fun-loving Anya to be had when dealing with Raven now). At first it threw me off, but once I understood the nature of this issue, I thought it was well done.
Because of the events taking place in Infested and Spider Island, Anya now has her powers back, including spider strength, agility, organic webbing (eww), and a camouflage ability. I personally love that she has her powers back. I also liked that she doesn’t question how her powers are back and instead puts them to good use immediately. It was also kinda cute that Rocky had figured out Anya’s secret identity already. Rocky and Anya’s friendship had been growing steadily throughout the series, so it was touching to see their reunion.
Finally, my favorite line comes from Anya’s response to Godwin’s “Don’t you want power?”
SPIDER-GIRL: Your kind of power comes without responsibility. So, no, I don’t want it.
It’s just a small way to honour that fact that Spidey has been a great influence in her life.
The Bad: Although the pacing made it for an exciting issue, I did feel like the things were coming down to a close in a hurry, which is understandable, of couse, but you still gotta wonder how much did Tobin had to change around to accomadate the fact that the series was ending on #8.
I know it’s weird for me to say this, but I did feel like Anya getting her powers back at the nick of time, when she was surrounded by agents, was a little too convenient. Foster apparently had some physical enhancements (and by that, I mean combat enhancements, of course. What did you think I meant?) so she should’ve been able to handle Anya, had she not gotten her powers right then. I don’t know, you guys. I like the fact that she has powers now, but probably not the way it was executed.
The Ugly (what?): Full disclosure time: I’m not picking up ASM at this moment, so I have absolutely no idea how New York people are getting their powers. If that’s been explained there, then awesome. I wouldn’t know. If someone wants to fill me in, that’d be great. I do think it’s kinda annoying that I have to read another book to get the answers for what happens in this book.
Verdict: I’m sad to see this series go (though not for long, as next time we take a look at Spider-Island: The Amazing Spider-Girl #1) but at least we end on a high note. It’s everything I look for in comics. 4 Webheads out of 5.
I really enjoyed this series and Anya Corazon as a character, so if you’re one of the five people who don’t hate her guts, look forward to the trade “Family Values” collecting #1-8 and that ASM backup.
~My Two Cents