SPIDER-GWEN #1 Is Awesome(ish) – Comic Review
There! I said it all in just one little sentence right up there!
Spider-Gwen #1 is one of the instances where I was anticipating unique greatness and my own expectation got the best of me. Spider-Gwen is awesome! Her Edge of Spider-Verse premiere was fantastic! Her first issue was…really darn good. It’s a blend of ‘potential is still there and lovin’ it’, but also ‘a little close to classic Spidey-ness’ — for better or worse depending on the reader. For me, that makes it not so great, but I love the character so damn much.
Gwen Stacy returns home (Earth-65) from her greatest adventure (Spider-Verse) and Spider-Woman haters — Spider-Gwen is known as Spider-Woman on Earth-65. Her situation with the band doesn’t look so good as well as her relationship with dear ol’ dad, which can be blamed on the events of her Edge of Spider-Verse issue and Spider-Verse in general. On top of that, she has to deal with the Vulture. The Vulture? Yes, the Vulture, but she has her reasons.
This is where things get shaky for me with just loving the book. Story beats and Gwen’s stack of problems, the villain… It started to feel a little too close to the Peter Parker Spider-Man formula. Gwen’s book should feel like her own, Silk #1 pulled it off nicely. What does set Spider-Gwen apart is she’s still a kickass, punk-rock Spider-Woman. Her approach to getting things done is fun and unique to her. Jason Latour’s characterization is fantastic. It’s the character of Gwen Stacy and the other characters that make this interesting. The band has a great moment in this issue, and it’s well done and engaging. Latour’s dialog is fun to read and there are great blends of drama among all the fun and giggles.
Where Spider-Gwen #1 falls flat: The “villain of the week” feel with the Vulture’s involvement. It’s great to see Gwen pulling out the spider-moves and going up against a villain, but did this issue really need this to happen already? Did we need the weak motivation for Vulture’s actions to have a way for Gwen to clear her name? I don’t really think so, but in the end Vulture doesn’t matter, at least not yet. Maybe a couple of small time Bodega Bandit — read the issue — encounters would have sufficed in showing off her skills. This is why I think Silk hit home for me, the Dragon Claw villain was on the level of the Bodega Bandit — again, read it — so more time was spent to shape Cindy Moon instead of paying homage to the classic Spidey comic stylings.
So, what else did I love about this issue? The fantastic presentation! Artist Robbi Rodriguez (FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics) and colorist Rico Renzi (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) make this book look great. It has so much style! Spider-Gwen #1 just looks fantastic. The aesthetic fits Spider-Gwen’s personality and voice so well. If she was a real person, I think she would agree. The action feels good, facial expressions are top-notch, the pages themselves have so much character. And these guys made Vulture look really cool, in a gross way. It’s a visual victory, indeed.
Spider-Gwen #1 is not a bad issue by any means. I would be lying to myself completely if I thought that. It looks great and it’s fun to read. It’s just not what I expected, the same happened with new Thor for different reasons. And I continue to read Thor because it’s still fun to read. Spider-Gwen is supposed to be her world’s Spider-Man, but I thought similarities would end at the spider-bite and -powers, storytelling style could stay with Spider-Man. Even with the strong unique concept, visuals, and reinvented Gwen, the content of the first issue felt a bit too familiar below the surface. This doesn’t mean it will continue to feel this way. There are many issue ahead to be amazed by and drool over. I’m confident I’ll have fun along the way. Plus, it looks great.
Published by Marvel Comics
Written by Jason Latour
Illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez
Colors by Rico Renzi
Letters by Clayton Cowles