I (along with a million other poseurs) got swept back into the comic book store in early January with the arrival of Marvel’s Star Wars #1. Star Wars #1 being a Disney property now, and being ripe for comic continuity rebooting was a roaring success for Marvel, selling the most issues of a comic book in a long time and it also had an interesting side effect of getting lots of randoms back into comic book stores. The circle was now complete as Vader once said. I had become the very neck beard I had seen as a child, wandering the comic store aisles, trying to make heads or tails out of what had happened the last 20 years (where the hell was the Gen 13 by the way?). I guess this same thing basically happened a few years ago with the New 52 DC reboot, bringing people back into the fold, giving them a jumping on point, well for the last few months for me it’s worked, and I can say its been fun so far.
Besides Star Wars, I also wanted to pick up a “normal” Super Hero series as well. I never really collected super hero comics as a child, I collected a lot of super hero cards, TCGs, POGS, I even had a subscription to Wizard for awhile, but never did the monthly comic thing. I’d pick up a random issue now and then, and once in awhile I’d grab some trades (that was just kinda becoming a thing back then) or a manga, but comics were mostly the domain of my friend Jordan who I’d accompany to the local comic book shop after school weekly until it burnt down (arson?) one day in the late 90s. Lately though I’ve been craving getting back to physical media and cut down on my screen time so this seemed like a good opportunity to pick up a new hobby and see where it goes. This is where Spider Gwen #1 comes in. I never reviewed a comic before and I’ve never read a Spiderman comic either so this should be good.
The first thing I noticed about the Spider Gwen book was the design of the heroine. In a word, I thought it was sick. The hoodie has taken on a political meaning in our culture the last couple years (for better or worse) and I’m not exactly sure if this was the intent of the artist but the hoodie to me has always been a youth fashion statement. It evokes a sense of rebellious swagger and in general an F U to the man. Robbi Rodriguez designed a bad ass looking heroine and then washed the whole thing in this acid induced color palette. Pinks, light blues, neon greens, and purples instead of blacks are used to contrast the sketchy world of Spider Gwen against the mostly black and white heroine to awesome effect. Action scenes are blocked out in large swathes of color, it gave me a Warriors or maybe Streets of Fire vibe and that’s a good thing. This was a funky city Spider Gwen lives in and I can’t wait to see where the book goes with its other heroes and villains from a design standpoint.
The story also delivered I thought for a first issue. This isn’t the first appearance of Spider Gwen, she was spun out (see what I did there) of the SpiderVerse event Marvel has been putting on for the last year. In the Earth 65 alternate universe, Gwen Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider, and Peter Parker died. She protects the city as Spider Woman with her chief of police father knowing and protecting her secret. The first issue sets up her life as a vigilante, under appreciated but mostly in it for the love of throwing down some justice like her father. It also sets up a few conflicts, she’s having problems with her band, “The Mary Janes”, The Vulture is causing problems, dropping cops off of buildings and she’s wanted by the cops herself. We also get a glimpse of an Earth 65 version of a popular character who in this universe is also interested in handing out pun….er justice himself. My one complaint is there were a lot of panels with Gwen looking at her phone, hopefully that’s not a super trend, but yea kids these days.
I picked up Spider Gwen #1 because it was a #1, I dig reading something from the beginning, that is appealing to me. I also have always been a sucker for awesome female characters, call it my inner Whedon. The art is the icing on the cake, I really dug that as well, so as long as Rodriguez sticks around I’ll be reading this comic I think. I do have a lot of questions, mainly what happens to a book this new when all the Marvel Universes start colliding together in a few months, I’m sure there are contingency plans in place for that, I just hope this team gets to stick together and this comic keeps gaining traction. Anyways not sure how to review a comic really, was this enough? not enough? Let me know what you think!