FLASHBACK REVIEW: SPIDER-GIRL: THE END!


 

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When a title ends, it is never easy on the reader, the artists, the writers. But to be honest, there was a group of guys more prepared to take on the role of writing a final issue more so than Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz and Sal Bucemea. But before I get to them, I’ll focus on Tom DeFalco himself. While Ron and Sal helped do the first issue of Spider-Girl (Issue 0 as it was called later, but originally What If?! 105) He has written so many issues of Spider-Girl its hard to keep count. He’s the been the driving force of this book from the beginning and he’s the reason we kept coming back. Throughout it all, with a fantastic sense of who the characters are, he crafted the Marvel Universe as he saw it going to. MC2 was a very DC-Concept. It allowed the growth of the hero to its end. He was able to craft a world which sometimes resembled “What if Tom DeFalco was still editor in Chief?” Things and concepts such as Character Progression, Deaths that meant something, and Characters such as Thunderstrike (The son of the Character that him and Ron Co-Created in the 90s), Lyja (From his Fantastic Four Run), and in Spider-Man’s case, Black Tarantula all were brought in for this run, so in a lot of ways its a love letter to the past, while being set in the not TOO distant future. DeFlaco and  Pat Olliffe were the mainstays for a long time. I would be amiss if I didn’t mention him in some manner, because he was really great on the book. He did the art chores from issue one, all the way through issue 67 before departing the title. (He because he had taken another project, and wasn’t able to come back before finding out that Spider-Girl had been saved.) Flashforward to Ron coming back on the book, and the aforementioned  trio had worked together for many issues of Spider-Girl, Starting in 68 of the original Spider-Girl Series, they worked their way through its final issue in 100. Two months later, they relaunched the title as a new #1 The Amazing Spider-Girl this title which ran for 30 issues, before getting the axe. But, it was saved again. Before DC and Marvel had really embraced the Digital Format, Spectacular Spider-Girl would be Digital First, comprising of 10-12 page stories to be debuted on the Marvel.com Digital Subscription service. She would later join up in Amazing Spider-Man Family  and it’s later incarnation, Web of Spider-Man. So while she was a pioneer of that new format, she always came home to the printed pages of something.
This was because of her fans. 

MC2 was a brainchild of Bob Harras and Tom DeFalco. It was going to be aimed at the mass market crowd, something you’d see in Walmart or K-Mart, something along Archie. The books would last twelve issues, before getting replaced by new ones. This concept brought about A-Next, J2, and Spider-Girl. While A-Next and J2 did complete their runs, Spider-Girl remained the top seller of the line and was to keep on. While this was good news, Marvel wanted to Cancel it at issue 17, but it was saved. Issue after issue came about. If you go back to the original series, every time you saw a Splash Page ending, it was to be the final issue. An issue that was going to be released back in 65 which took us 15 years in the future was to be released. Thanks to last minute saves, fans buying full page ads in Previews, a Grassroots effort never before seen online, the title survived until issue 100 before getting its final axe. Then there was ASG, which lasted 30 issues. Then the Digital/Anthology book came about. Finally, we got here. Her final mini series (which was solited as a ongoing, which hadn’t even been told to DeFalco til he found out it was a mini due to a person asking a question about it on the Spider-Girl Message Board) had four issues, and finally we got that sad news that Spider-Girl was ending. For good.

After 136 issues of books where her name was on the title, she was done.
The Mini series had left many wondering what’s next. There was several plot threads to ‘wrap up’ and so, without further ado, its time for the final issue of Spider-Girl. Flashback review style.
SPIDER-GIRL: THE END
WRITTEN BY: Tom DeFalco
ART BY: Ron Frenz
INKS BY: Sal Buscema
“The END of SPIDER-GIRL!”
BACKSTORY: Gang war is over. Mayhem is on the loose. 

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STORY: We begin in the distant future, where a woman is telling children about Spider-Girl. We cut to the events of the more present day, where mayday is going about her life, despite looking for April (who is the clone of May and bonded with the Symbiote. She calls herself Mayhem.) The two fight, and May is caught under the rubble. She sacrifices herself to save Mayhem. At this point, the group is interrupted and we learn the rest of the story: The woman telling the story is May

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hem herself, and she explains that the world fell apart after Mayday died. She killed Kaine, American Dream, and many of Mayday’s villains. In response, the government made their own Symbiote killers and they took over the world. Now they live underground, and must flee from place to place. A last ditch effort was made, which is called the Mulligan. This takes April back to the moment that May loses her life and helps the Mayhem of that timeline understand what is to come. She saves Mayday and gives her life to her. Afterwards, Mayday’s friend are at the coffee shop. (May was supposed to meet up with them but was distracted earlier in the issue.) Wes, the comeic nerd who seems to have a thing for Mayday has figured out the secret and proceeds to tell her. The two share a kiss on the front porch and he ask… “So .. where go we go from here?”
The end…. For NOW.
THOUGHTS: I don’t remember being this disappointed when it came out, but I feel much more so than I did, and No words ring more hollow now than the final four words on the final Splash page (An obvious nod to her fans who knew that any time you saw a final splash page that it was supposed to be the end of the series) However, it isn’t unwarranted. So many times Spider-Girl was lost, and came back. Her fans, as mentioned at the top of the review had saved her so many times that it seemed natural that the writers would want to put that. But its been three years now. Another girl, Arana, took the title back during the ‘Big Time’ era and we’ve seen hide nor hair since then of a Spider-Girl. So, while its sad that it ended… this final story is somewhat disappointing. While the story isn’t bad, and the use of exposition is better than Slott will do ever, It feels so disjointed with the rest of the mini series. Yes, I am aware that that ran four issues and that this is a one shot, but I feel that the one and done aspect of the story was so out of place that I really did not feel anything about it. It drew me in enough to know that 1) I knew that Mayday would win out and 2) that it becomes clear that Mayhem is going to take the bulk of the issue. Perhaps the Ben Reilly Fanboy in me wanted to see that plot thread of DarkDevil being the son of Ben Reilly and Elizabeth Tyne (Conceived during the Spider-Man: Redemption mini series time period) get a resolution. Maybe Uncle Kaine shows up (More than the one page cameo). Maybe Something that connects to Spider-Girl more so than these two threads. While it felt like an ending, it just wasn’t enough of an ending to justify the story. So in that case, yes. It does not work for me especially after reading it again for this flashback. 
Ron and Sal do an excellent job with the script that DeFlaco gave (and some of the plot came from Ron himself as well) and the artwork is smooth, flows well and looks great. It has a classic feel to it and you can tell they have crafted the look of the book carefully. In an era where Artists can’t stay on a book for more than 6 issues, for these two men, who are twice the age, and have 5 times the experience of the current generation of artists , it is impressive that they can do this good for this long. 
 
Of course, it has to be mentioned that DeFalco made this his baby for so long, only missing one issue of Spider-Girl (Issue 51) that its amazing to see him stay on the book be help craft and create. I miss this book dearly and I want to see whats next. In that regard, I think the team succeeded. 
So while I felt it could be better, I’m going to give this a 3.75 out of 5 webs. Solid effort, but I just wanted more.Never have I felt more sad writing a review. (I could use this as an excuse as to why I didn’t write it back in 2010 in the first place, but that’s too Obvious of a joke to make) I do want to shout out to a couple people:
1) Kevin Cushing: You were the mastermind of the ‘Flashback’ series and gave me the outlet to not make this as awkward as it already was.
2) Brad Douglas: Two times you have hand picked me to review a series. This and Scarlet Spider. I’ve always appericated your support, your kindness and generosity have not gone unnoticed.  To have known you for a Decade now is amazing, and you’ve been one of my oldest friends. Thank you.
3) To YOU. The reader. You’ve put up with me on and off for the better part of 7 years. I always appericate your kind words and thank you for reading and listening.
Now. Leave a comment. 😛 
 
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(7) Comments

  1. Donovan

    Instead, the Chargers were GIVEN the first down and scored on the subsequent play. Owens signed a contract extension to remain with the Eagles the following season, but his attitude would once again create more controversy. With neither side a shrinking violet on the field, a good open attacking football game is in the offing.

  2. Lockdown

    I was such a fan of the book series even running Spider-Girl's World website for so long. I remember when I had my letter to Spider-Girl published back in Amazing Spider-Girl #24. I just had such a huge smile on my face. It's so sad how much May had against her after year one and how many times they kept canceling her series just to bring it back a month or two later. Even more how much they wanted to push Arana on everyone as the "new" 616 Spider-Girl in more of an effort to get the fact that Peter Parker and Mary Jane were no longer married. I would love to bring back Spider-Girl's World back as a website, but sadly don't have the time to put the work in bring the site back. I hope some day to see Mayday back just like we got American Dream in Captain America Corps and also Kevin Masterson back as Thunderstrike in the 616.

  3. hornacek

    Maybe it's just my computer, but the first paragraph under STORY ends with "The woman telling the story is May" - I was reading this and thought "wait, how can this be her if she died, maybe she faked her death or she came back somehow?" Then there's a blank line and the next paragraph starts with "hem herself, and she explains that the world fell apart after Mayday died." It took me a moment to realize this was the continuation of the previous sentence and that the previous sentence was actually "The woman telling the story is Mayhem herself, and she explains that the world fell apart after Mayday died."

  4. Spideydude

    Maybe leaving the review biz for the site Al. Not leaving the site. I've been here 10 years. The only way I'm outta here is if Brad or Kevin Bans me. :P

  5. Big Al

    the greatest disappointment was that Mayday as a character still has so much untapped potential. I really wanted to follow her on through High School and see her go to collage like Peter did. Well maybe someday someone out there will revive her. Great job on the Flashback reviews Zach glad to see Spider-Girl get covered at last. Just concerned with your last words on the review it sounds like YOU'RE leaving? That isn't the case is it?

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