Comic Review – Spider-Gwen #1 (Marvel Comics)

Kit is taking over the weekly comic book review because Adam is in the unenviable position of attempting to finish off his PhD.

“Heeeere, Lizzy, Lizzy, Lizzzzy–” – Spider-Gwen

Warning: minor spoilers.

I’ll be carrying on covering the Weekly Comic Book Reviews by picking up another of the All New All Different Marvel initiative. This time it’ll be Spider-Gwen #1! Adam reviewed the previous Spider-Gwen first issue, which came out earlier this year (you can find that review here). It proved to be quite the success, fans taking to the new take on a Spider-Hero well.  We have the same creative team behind the relaunch post-Secret Wars, with Jason Latour writing, Robbi Rodriguez on art, Rico Renzi providing colours and letters from Clayton Cowles, so we should expect the same quality as before.

In case you missed it before the idea behind Spider-Gwen is in her world, Earth 65, it was Gwen Stacey who was bitten by a spider, not Peter Parker. In her world her friend Peter became jealous of her powers and, with the help of Dr Conners, became Earth 65’s equivalent of the Lizard. This comic starts with, and actually runs throughout, a recap of Spider-Gwen’s past. Needless to say things didn’t end well for Lizard-Parker.

spider gwen1In the present a convenience store owner is ‘robbed’ and whilst the villain’s sidekick is making his… getaway… the store is attacked by the Lizard. When the morning comes around, Gwen wakes up late for work. We get a feel for her as a person while she panics and tries to beat the rush hour. Which she does by dressing up as Spider-Gwen and riding on the side of a bus. Whilst catching up with her dad of course. Her father works in the NYPD as a detective and knows his daughter’s secret identity. We also pick up in this world that Frank Castle gets to shoot people legally! Well, not as the Punisher, he’s a cop working alongside Captain Stacey in charge of the Spider-Woman case. Once Gwen gets to her first day of work we find that she was due to work in that very convenience store. She tries to hunt down Dr Conners, but finds him missing. We get a lot of flashback now, getting to see what life used to be like for Gwen and her relationship with Peter.

The comic ends with her making her way down to the sewers to confront the Lizard. However, she gets more than she bargained for, not just in the enemy she’s up against, but it seems a certain Avenger is out trying to track her down. Although they are a little different in this world too!

The art itself of course looks great, in line with the style of the previous Spider-Gwen run. The flashbacks all have a slight tinge to the colour scheme in the panels, showing them as non-current events. I would criticise this choice slightly, it took me a moment the first time to realise it was a flashback!

Final Verdict

Overall it’s a decent first book. It’s been set up as a jumping on point for new readers, as expected from an issue 1 reboot. Although I think it does this a little too heavy-handedly. I hadn’t read any of the first Spider-Gwen series, but did have a rough idea of the concept behind it. As a new comer it felt like there were a couple too many flash backs, I’d have rather had a bit more current content and getting to know Gwen and her world in the present day. I’d also have liked to see a new villain, once we know she’s already dealt with the Lizard once.

Still, it’s well worth a read if you like the Spider-Heroes and want to see where they’re going with her character.

Final Score – 7.5 Busted Web Shooters out of 10!

Comic Review – Spider-Gwen #1

1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week I grabbed the first issue of the new Spider-Gwen series from Marvel Comics, written by Jason Latour and with art by Robbi Rodriguez, colours by Rico Renzi and letters from Clayson Cowles. Full disclosure – I didn’t read any of the Spider-Verse event from Marvel, featuring a team up of a multitude of parallel universe Spider-People that introduced this new character, but as it was the start of a new series that exists purely because of the hugely positive fan response to her introduction and design, I thought it was worth checking out.

Spider-Gwen takes place on Earth-65 (for those who don’t know, the Earth in the “main” Marvel Universe is referred to as Earth-616). In this alternate universe, Gwen Stacy was bitten by the radioactive spider rather than Peter Parker, bestowing upon her all the abilities we recognise and leading her to take on the mantle of Spider-Woman (I don’t know why this title isn’t called Gwen Stacy: Spider-Woman rather than the cutesy sounding Spider-Gwen). As usual with Marvel comics, the sort-of back story is summarised on the first page along with a brief recap. In this universe it seems Peter, striving to be special like Gwen, became the Earth-65 version of The Lizard, and died in the ensuing fight. Gwen was forced to reveal her identity to her dad, Captain Stacy, who allowed her to escape. Got it? Good.

Having returned to her universe after Spider-Verse, Gwen finds the Spider-Woman is public enemy number one, and she sets to recovering her reputation by tangling with some villains, even if they turn out to be a bit rubbish. She also avoids calls from her dad and stalks her old band, The Mary Janes, who have become instantly famous after Spider-Woman turned up at one of their shows. She then tangles with The Vulture, coating the city in childish graffiti in order to draw him out so she can turn him in to the police, but while heavily taunting him it looks like she may have underestimated him.

I may have missed the inception of this character and a little bit of the back story, but Latour writes tightly and skilfully enough for that not to really be a problem. I really liked Gwen’s character, and some of the slight differences between this universe and the normal Marvel U (I keep wanting to say “our” universe), in particular Captain Frank Castle taking over the Special Crimes Task Force. The story does feel like a bit of a continuation rather than the start of a new story, but most people would presumably be coming on following Spider-Verse. Rodriguez draws a dynamic world, with quick action and nice bold line work. Renzi makes this alternate New York really pop, with an almost dayglow colour pallet that contrasts well with Spider-Woman’s largely black and white suit. The art really helps to make this book ooze with attitude, with an almost punk-rock feel that lines up with the band story line and Gwen’s behaviour in general.

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this series, but what I got was a really nice surprise. Spider-Gwen, while I’m not dying about the name, is a fun and vibrant book that is well worth picking up. Even not having read the series that spawned it, I didn’t feel too lost as I have a basic working knowledge of Spider-Man lore. If you fancy a slightly different take on web-slinging, check this interesting new female-led book out at your LCS or digitally.

Score: 8 of the Worst Arch-Nemeses out of 10