It can be hard with event books to toe dip in to just part of an event without feeling entirely lost, but "Spider Island: Spider-Girl" works well on its own while still tying nicely into the larger picture of the Spider Island Event.
Anya was previously a "powerless" Spider-Girl, but is now re-powered by the spider virus working itself through the population of New York. She's also being hunted by The Society of the Wasp now. Plus, the Hand and Hobgoblin are after Anya, but for the most surprising of reasons: The Kingpin, now with spider-powers himself, needs Spider-Girl's help.
Paul Tobin has a complicated job in this issue, trying not to get bogged down in Anya's history with The Society of the Wasp; he's only partially successful. The issue veers between being alternately action heavy and overflowing with painfully naked exposition, but Tobin is able to deliver an unexpected surprise at the end of the issue as well as some solid character work. The big question mark for me as a reader is will Anya retain her spider powers when this event is over? Whether she does or not, how will she deal with that new reality? Tobin is already diving into Anya's head on this issue, and it's the best part of the book, other than the Kingpin-sized surprise at the end.
The art by Pepe Larraz is gorgeous and functional. Very fluid and well paced, with equal attention to strong action sequences and slightly quieter moments, Larraz really shows his talent here. His characters are beautifully designed and nicely consistent throughout, and he is particularly good with body movement and character expressions. His inking is also strong, with surprisingly heavy line work that gives this book a nice substantial heft and a unique feel. It's very detailed work from figures to backgrounds, and exceptional attention is paid to every detail. The colors by Andres Mossa are vibrant and smart.
Thanks to incredibly strong art by Larraz and some nice character work and a fun plotting twist by Tobin, this is a good start to a promising event mini-series.