Straight-up Boring Tidbit: I was curious as to what the title of this issue was alluding. A quick Google search pointed me to an Alice Cooper song titled “I Am the Spider” from his 2008 album Along Came a Spider. This is a brief excerpt:
Along came a Spider
Crept up beside her
Spun his web deep inside her
My darkness will guide her
What does it all mean? I have no clue. Listening to the stupid thing the one time was disturbing enough, so I’ll let someone with a better sense for these things do a more in-depth analysis.
Spider-Island: The Amazing Spider-Girl #2
“And Crept Up Beside Her…”
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artists: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover Artists: Patrick Zircher & Andy Troy
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
The Plot: The Kingpin seeks Spider-Girl’s cooperation (and, as he puts it, she wasn’t his first choice) to take on the Society of the Wasps, because they’ve begun to target his Spider-infected employees. He appeals to her by bringing up the death of her parents, saying that she can prevent other daughters from losing theirs, and offers her his resources, including the location of their central nest. He says she can’t take them on alone and that it only took two days to figure out her identity. She declines and instead tries to seek the help of the FF, the Avengers, Ms. Marvel, and even her teammate Firestar (which are all gathered at Bryant Park to fight Spider imposters, as seen in ASM #667), but they all turn her down.
Back at their appartment, Rocky and Anya are fixing up the place (remember it was thrashed in Spider-Girl #8) while discussing the strange Spider-Island phenomenom. Suddenly, Madame Web (Julia Carpenter) shows up to tell Anya she had a vision of her teamming up with an emeny to save Manhattan, making it pretty clear she needs the help of the Kingpin. Spider-Girl swings to the location of the wasp nest and finds that the Hobgoblin has been waiting for her and that he went ahead and slaughtered a bunch of wasps. They spot a queen wasp and try to ambush them but are overwhelmed by their numbers. Kingpin himself shows up to aid the two, but they are still outnumbered and have to retreat, not before learning that the wasp queen has created a venom to kill all the spider-powered people in Manhattan. Spider-Girl finally acknowledges that they need a better plan of attack and accepts Kingpin’s offer with a handshake.
The Good: Let’s talk about the cover art for moment. Once again, Zircher and Troy do an exceptional job. Yeah, it’s another tribute to ASM #100 (I’m surprised Marvel didn’t go overboard with them for SI. I know Herc was having one but that’s all they’ve done, I think), but it’s so striking I don’t mind at all.
The interior art is fantastic, as well. It’s very animated, very dynamic, very colorful. I absolutely love it and feel like I can’t praise it enough. It has its flaws (more on that later) but this is the type of thing I want to see in my comic books.
Last issue, my main complaint was that we saw very mininal character moments (actually, my main complaint was that the letterist couldn’t bother to use special symbols when needed, but I digress). I am happy to say that issue #2 rectifies that problem, as we see more interactions between Anya and the Kingping, the Hobgobling, Rocky, and other Marvel heroes. It’s an interesting dynamic. The Avengers and the FF wouln’t give Anya the time of day to help her with a pretty serious problem, whereas the Kingpin goes through a lot of effort to lure Anya into accepting his offer. The other Marvel heroes are depicted as jerks (in particular, I think I have yet to see a story guest-starring the FF where they are NOT depicted as jerks), whereas Kingpin honours Anya to the point where he doesn’t let in Hobgoblin on her personal details (such as who she is and where she lives). While I doubt this team-up will have any lasting effects on Spider-Girl, it’s very fun to see. Speaking of the Kingpin, I really enjoyed his characterization. His appeal is so powerful that I probably would’ve taken him up on his offer!
The Bad: I mentioned that art had some flaws. Once again, I wonder why orange seems to be the predominant color. We have an orange sky, yet this mini takes place over the course of several hours, so it’s not sunset or anything like that. Just an odd choice, in my opinion.
Now, I think the art is great, but I coudn’t help but notice that most of Anya’s expressions are either shock or her gritting her teeth. Don’t misunderstand me, though. These are not Rob Liefield-levels of people always gritting their teeth. Kingpin, Hobby, Rocky, and others are all fine. They smile and frown or just have their lips closed. It’s just Anya that always showing her teeth (maybe gritting is not the appropriate word). It’s not a problem, and I would never take off points for something stupid like that, but I saw it and went like, “Wha?”
The one thing I can definitely fault this issue with is the random inclusion of Madame Web. Once again, I have to admit to the fact that I didn’t read The Grim Hunt arc of ASM, but my understanding was that Julia is supposed to be some sort of mentor to Anya, yet she never made one appearance in her ongoing. Her only purpose here is to move the story along by removing whatever doubts Anya was having about teaming up with Kingpin. It’s so sudden, and she’s barely in three panels, but with that she’s off to seek his help. May I submit that maybe it would have served for a better character moment if Anya had reached this conclusion on her own? Alas, this is what we got, and it could’ve been better executed.
Verdict: Spider-Island: The Amazing Spider-Girl is shaping up to be an intriguing tale. I look forward to see how this partnership pans out. Issue #2 is great to look at and a great read. I highly recommend it. 4 Webheads out of 5.
~My Two Cents