The first appearance of Spider-Gwen took the comic world by storm thanks to her plucky debut in the epic Spider-Verse crossover, with print issues selling for up to £100. But will Jason Latour’s and Robbi Rodriguez’s work on Spider-Gwen #1 live up to the hype of this epic debut or are they just spinning us a web of fail?
Writer: Jason Latour
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
Price: £2.49 from Comixology
Spider-Gwen #1 opens directly onto a recap page which doesn’t give a whole lot away. If you didn’t read the first appearance issue of Spider-Verse, it’s well worth getting a copy and reading that before jumping into Spider-Gwen as issue 1 follows on directly – a great shame as it makes the comic a little jarring to read. Readers won’t know that Gwen is the drummer in The Mary Janes or that she quit for… reasons, or that she is considered a villain by the people she’s trying to protect. Needless to say that JJ is on her case.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom if you haven’t read the first appearance. The neon- contrast-with-dark colour schemes have been faithfully carried on and works so well with Gwen’s costume and the duo-life she leads. Rodriguez’s artwork really lets you get to grips with a character’s emotions even if they’re not speaking – this is one artist whose pictures do tell one thousand words. Seriously, you can skim through the artwork and get the general idea of what’s going on, which isn’t too common in comic books at the moment. The reader is an active participant in Gwen’s plans and the general plot of the book, rather than being left to view passively.
That isn’t to say that the writing isn’t good. The wise cracks from Gwen are amusing and the inter-character discussions are interesting and thought provoking, getting the reader to engage their brain and actually give a monkey’s about what is happening in both sides of Gwen’s life.
But! If you’re a long-standing Spider-Man fan, the parallels with Peter’s first encounter with The Vulture may be a little too close to the bone – is Spider-Gwen essentially just Peter Parker but as a young woman? Well, yes, actually: mild spoiler, Peter Parker is dead in this universe. (Seriously, go read the Spider-Verse issue) But does this mean that Spider-Gwen has to follow the same path as Peter did when he was starting out? Is it so hard to give a new Spider character a chance to follow their own path rather than holding Peter’s hand – be that literally or figuratively?
So while the first issue was okay, it wasn’t the be all and end all of Spider writing as it was made out to be. Here’s hoping that the next issue of Spider-Gwen picks up because the first was an overhyped disappointment.