Jason Latour (W), Robbi Rodriguez (A), Rico Renz (C)
Originally, Spider-Gwen was only supposed to have two issues as part of the special “Spider-Verse” event. But from the moment her costume was revealed she had a following and what was only supposed to be two issues became a new female-led ongoing series. Behold! The power of vocal fans.
The first issue of this new series picks up immediately after the events of “Spider-Verse.” But if you didn’t read those issues you’ll be okay to start here. Jason Latour doesn’t make too many references back to the multi-book event, although if you haven’t read them you may find yourself asking a few questions. Like where is Peter? Why is Captain Stacey in trouble with the force? And why did Gwen quit her bad ass rock band The Mary Janes? But since these are all key issues in Gwen’s life I trust that the series will circle back to them and explore them fully. All you really need to know is that it’s still set in the alternate universe where Gwen Stacey was bitten by the radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker.
This first issue doesn’t take a lot of chances. It goes around and introduces the major players, gives the reader a sense of style/tone and throws the first villain—in this case the Vulture—at the hero. Pretty standard stuff. But this series has a bit of an advantage. It’s a familiar universe, with familiar characters and familiar villains, but with Gwen as Spider-Woman experiencing them for the first time. It manages to feel both comfortable and new at the same time.
The plot is fun (even if The Vulture is a rather tired villain), but it’s Gwen’s personality is what really sold me on this series. Peter Parker/Spider-Man has always been a little bit sassy, and Spider Gwen keeps that tradition alive. She’s sarcastic and funny, but in a way that feels more genuine than Peter’s traditional zingers. But she’s also a bit more rebellious and rock star chic than he ever was (despite some of his best efforts).
Artist Robbi Rodriguez and colorist Rico Renz have done a fabulous job providing this alternate universe (and Gwen herself) with a unique style starting with Gwen’s fabulous costume. The design is simple but eye catching, bold with great personality. It calls to mind Spidey’s traditional blue and red ensemble, but it also makes a clear statement that this costumed hero is something different (and bonus points for not drawing it as though it was painted on). The rest of the book is equally as eye-catching. There are a lot of bright colours and sharp lines. It’s a little bit punk rock and a little bit street art.