Overview

Spider-Girl #100

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Spider-Girl #100

Credits

  • Words: Tom DeFalco
  • Art: Ron Frenz and Pat Olliffe
  • Inks: Sal Buscema and Scott Koblish
  • Colors: Gotham
  • Story Title: ?Til Death Do Us Part
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99

And so it ends; everything – May, the Scriers, Kaine, Venom, Hobgoblin, Black Tarantula, and more – they all meet their respective fates in the grand series finale!

Mayday has just been stabbed thoroughly through by a Scrier wielding a poisoned hand-blade – a prophecy she’s been trying to avoid for the past year of continuity. Unable to shirk fate, the book opens with her death, and the hesitant disbelief this event brings to the actions of her allies. The skirmishing comes to a screeching halt; the multitude of story-threads still to be woven are left unraveled; it seems the adventures of Spider-Girl are emphatically over.

Whatever! What book have you been reading? DeFalco charges on – death can kiss his oversized butt as it barrels past – and he pens an oversized, 34-page whopper of a conclusion to May’s first series’ opus.

That’s right, as we all know by now, it isn’t over; The Amazing Spider-Girl will be the follow-up Mayday series that’ll kick off this October by Messrs. DeFalco and Frenz, though Spider-Girl #100 is still, for all that, the big, big finish to everything begun in this little-comic-that-could’s scandalously long-lasting run. To get this all out of the way up front: Spider-Girl has been on the brink of cancellation nearly half a dozen times, and in every single instance the fans of the series have petitioned and won, which is an event unparalleled in the annals of comic book history – it’s unparalleled to occur once, and this invincible underdog has survived in such a fashion six times (if we include this latest pardon after issue #100, whereupon it is now to receive a brand new series with fully-backed, big-money publicity for a hopefully greater future than any of us ever dared dream it’d achieve back at its inception).

While the adventures of the true daughter of Spider-Man may not, in fact, be over, Spider-Girl #100 is still a major hallmark of an achievement. In an industry where dark horse concepts only survive due to constant series relaunches, title alterations, and creative team changes, Spider-Girl is the only one that has been honored with the ability to reach its centennial month of publication with nearly all of the above right where it began (the main art team has shifted only once, from Olliffe to Frenz, though Frenz was at first the fill-in for Olliffe, and now Olliffe is the fill-in for Frenz, which means, in a way, nothing’s changed at all!). Even better, the title change and number relaunch that’s finally occurring should only prove to bolster sales and increase notice of the series, which is a financial support for the book that fans have been clamoring for all along. And, hey, the creative team is still the same!

So how is this celebratory issue #100? Well, I’m a big naysayer for the classic-stories-reprinted-as-extras shtick, especially when such stories are only a few years old at best. And for a cult-hit like Spider-Girl – who would be reading #100 that hasn’t been reading the series as a whole up until now? There are some, I grant you, but when brought up next to the 100-page Savage Dragon issues of the recent past wherein all the material was original or at least incredibly obscure and hard to come by, such a concept of reprinting quarter-bin comics as a supposed treat seems ridiculous and redundant.

But that, my friends, is my only gripe. I am, in the end, pleased as punch to pay $1.00 more for this particular issue of the series, as the main story does clock in at a one-third higher page count than it usually runs (thank God! No anniversary issue should have a regular-sized main tale! Blasphemy!). The story for this big finish is perhaps one of DeFalco’s best, with a stunning level of pathos (though in this book’s case, I suppose the better term is bathos) and gorgeously rendered comic-book action. Ron Frenz has a boat-load of fun illustrating the Hobgoblin with all his classic, 80’s poses and expressions, and in much the same way in which Thor #400 was perhaps one of the most epic climaxes for that character (written and drawn by DeFalco and Frenz, of course), Spider-Girl #100 is the most thrilling issue ever penned for the fan-favorite heroine, without question.

There’s a bizarrely affective final fate for the Venom symbiote, that brings the concept of the symbiote to, quite frankly, unplumbed depth and unsought for heights by any other writer. Equally so, the Black Tarantula, Kaine, and the Scriers – all fervently closeted characters in the main Marvel U. – receive a treatment and a handling that bursts with empathy, consideration, and echoes the writer’s fondness for the character as likeable characteristics that readers can’t help but pick up on. By the time the final page is turned, it’s hard not to care as much as DeFalco cares; his scripting is just that earnest, and that sincere.

Spider-Man returns to action as well in this issue, though perhaps for a very final time, and it was a treat to see an out-of-shape, bluntly stern Peter behind the mask again. DeFalco turns a clever play with Peter-as-parent vs. Peter-as-devil-may-care-adventurer, and goes so far as to have the Hobgoblin remark on his lack of witty repartee. "My, my how times have changed. You used to be so witty in your youth!" Sure enough, Peter is more a bull than a Spider now, caring only – as most parents do – for a simple, quiet life for his children to grow up in, and the high-flying fisticuffs of his past are definitely not the perks he once thought they were.

All the other subplots that have been rumbling about in the background of the book equally get a fair squeeze of space, and bring the series to a smooth, coasting finishing that reads as a true ending, though not an absolute one (new series coming, remember?). Frenz is perhaps the best artistic choice for Spider-Girl, or anything written by DeFalco for that matter. While Olliffe is a good Ditko-style artist, Frenz has the Kirby and Romita Sr. blend down pat, and his figures and action veritably scream majesty and archetypical grandeur.

So #100 is, as it should be, the very best Spider-Girl issue ever produced. I can only imagine how super-charged the creative team is going to be after a few months of rest, and I eagerly await the next big installment of Mayday’s impossibly prolonged career. The queen is dead, eh? Long live the queen!

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