By: Paul Tobin (writer), Clayton Henry (artist), Chris Sotomayor (colors), Joe Caramanga (letters) & Nate Crosby (editor)

Young Spider-Girl back-up by: Paul Tobin (writer), Dean Haspiel (art), Edgar Delgado (colors) & Joe Caramanga (letters)

The Story: Classic 1st issue fun for a teen-superhero as Spider-Girl starts out dealing with criminals her own size, but gets sucked into a bigger fracas.

What’s Good: I have a hard time getting bored with teenage superhero comic books.  They are often paint-by-numbers as the hero start out tackling smaller villains before gaining mastery over their powers and dealing with some A-list bad guy…. and thus becoming a full-fledged member of the superhero insiders’ club.  But, that is such a classic coming-of-age story that it never feels old (to me).

Spider-Girl #1 hits all the right notes for a series like this as Anya Corazon tries to balance her daily life of school and family with her heroic after hours duties.  In keeping with this type of story, we see her facing off first against Speedball who is a C-list Spider-Man rogue.  That’s fitting.  Anya doesn’t currently have any powers (although she has been combat trained by the Avengers), so Spider-Girl vs. Speedball is a pretty fair fight.

Anya’s personal relationships are also explored and the fun thing is that her Dad knows her secret identity, but when her Dad arranges for Anya to hang out with Sue Richards, Sue has no clue that this teenage girl is swinging around in spandex by night.  That’s just an interesting reversal…usually the teenage hero is trying to conceal their secret identity from their parents not having their Dad be a full-fledged cheerleader for their crime-fighting.

A few writers have used Twitter as a story telling device, but Tobin makes very nice use of it here by letting tweets replace narration boxes.  But, the real bonus for originality is that @The_Spider_Girl is a real Twitter ID and you can follow heron Twitter if you want (I am).  That should be at least moderately interesting for a while.

Henry’s art is spot on.  I didn’t see a single technically unsound panel AND he pulls off the really hard thing for an artist of a young hero: He makes her look like a teenager when she’s in costume.  Anya is a slight teenage girl, so its refreshing to see that she doesn’t suddenly become muscular with a huge chest the second she puts on her costume.  Also, many superheroes are drawn as essentially nude figures with costumes painted on…. not Spider-Girl.  Perhaps the legs and arms are those of a nude figure, but he tones down the “important” parts and that’s appreciated.  I don’t need to see pendulous breasts on a teenage hero!  Nicely done!

The back-up story is also really good, featuring very strong art by Dean Haspiel, it tells the story of young Anya’s first visit with her father to the Baxter building.  Any parent of a precocious little girl will love this!

What’s Not So Good: When does this story take place?  The reason for the question is that as the issue rolls on, Spider-Girl is pulls into a big-time fracas with the Fantastic Four.  I loved the way the big-bad wasn’t revealed until the final panel, but when I saw who it was, my first thought was: “Isn’t he supposed to be a good guy now?”  I don’t want to spoil the reveal, but it would have made more sense if this issue had run 3 months ago.  That makes me wonder if there was a hiccup in the release of this book, especially when I see Nate Cosby listed as editor.  He left Marvel about a month ago and while he surely has some material that is in the pipeline, it does make one wonder if this was supposed to be released a few months ago but got delayed by something.

The story telling is still very good, but if you’re a person who likes to pretend that all the Marvel comics are going on during the week when they are released, you might be thrown for a loop.

Conclusion: Very good debut issue.  Major villain issue aside, it hits all the right notes for this kind of comic book.  Fun, spunky, teenaged heroine takes down villains with really nice art!  Yeah!

Grade: B

– Dean Stell