In 1998, the creative team of one of the most acclaimed runs of Amazing Spider-Man introduced the world to May “Mayday” Parker. The teenage daughter of Peter and Mary Jane, she is discovering her life is anything but normal. Having inherited her father’s powers and discovered that he was once one of the world’s most legendary superheroes, she is quick to follow his mantra of “with great power comes great responsibility.” But her parents – having experienced first-hand what the life of a masked vigilante entails – are reluctant to let her follow in her father’s footsteps. Now Marvel are bringing this much loved series back to print starting with this first collection.
As any Spider-Man fan knows, the main theme of the series is responsibility. And Spider-Girl brought this theme to the next logical stage as Peter Parker embraces his role as a father (after the loss of his leg in his final battle with The Green Goblin brings his time as Spider-Man to an end). From his years of experience as a Marvel writer and editor, it can be argued that no one knows Spider-Man better than Tom DeFalco and that really shines through in this collection. Whether it be Peter and Mary Jane quietly freaking out when May jumps way higher than any high school basketball player should be able to or his mixture of pride and fear from her taking on the identity of Spider-Girl, this is a faithful portrayal of the character and a logical growth from what has come before.
But obviously, the main player of the title is Mayday Parker. Within this first volume, DeFalco establishes a great character possessing both her father’s smarts and her mother’s confidence and charisma. In many ways, it is a new spin on the original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko Spider-Man stories set during Peter’s high school years. Granted, May is more outgoing and popular than Peter was during that time, but it doesn’t stop her new superhero role causing havoc for her regular school life. She also regularly has to deal with her parents’ disapproval of her following in her father’s footsteps and even once she has somewhat gained Peter’s approval has to undergo tough training regiments to reach the standards he expects.
Beyond introducing Spider-Girl, this series helped establish the MC2 Universe introducing new versions of The Avengers, The Fantastic Five and Darkdevil whilst showing a possible future for the Marvel Universe. May not only encounters these groups and individuals, but also clashes with figures from Spider-Man’s past including a grown up Normie Osborn hellbent on avenging his father and grandfather’s respective deaths, the twisted clone Kaine, a now solitary Venom Symbiote and even Spider-Man himself in a time travel adventure.
As with DeFalco, this series has artists who are very familiar with Spider-Man’s world. Ron Frenz (who worked on Amazing Spider-Man with DeFalco in the 80s) brings his Ditko-esque style back which is a perfect fit for the high school setting, and Pat Ollife (who drew the Untold Tales of Spider-Man series set during the Lee/Ditko era) does a great job of giving the series an old-school Spidey vibe whilst bringing in some modern elements.
Anyone who didn’t read Spider-Girl in its original run should not miss the chance to see this classic series which is not only a perfect throwback to the classics of old, but also a great natural progression for the Spider-Man character.
Spider-Girl: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 is out now from Marvel
9781302912482 – P/B £33.50