Let’s get one thing out of the way quickly, I’m not a prominent comic book reader. Casual would be more of an apt description. Much like books, or movies or television shows, when I get into it, I get into it, and I far rather binge read/watch/consume than have to track a month at a time (reading mangas primarily, I’m more used to weekly releases than monthly releases), that said, I couldn’t pass on the hype behind Spider-Gwen, and recommendations from a friend of mine meant I had to get my hands on it, so I did. And I loved it.
It instantly brought Batgirl to the forefront of my mind, another series I’m really enjoying, particularly the revamped art style and story direction, so this was a seamless transition. Robbi Rodriguez’s art style brought on the similarities. And the character design for Spider-Woman’s suit certainly helped with the comparisons.
Plus, Jason Latour doesn’t make it all that hard to jump right into it, even if you, like me, didn’t follow the Spider-Verse storyline (I’ve never been a big one on the collision of multiple universes), it isn’t hard to get an idea on what happened. I mean, the premise is simple enough, in this world, Gwen Stacy was the one to get the spider-bite, and Peter Parker’s the dead one, much like Spider-Man, Gwen has to deal with getting the city on her side despite Jonah Jameson remaining a torn in her side, while also keeping New York safe and of course dealing with more mundane troubles.
This debut also reminded me of Arrow, the similarity between Canary/Spider-Woman and George Stacy/Quentin Lance is prevalent. Both are obviously vigilantes with father’s helming the roles of police chiefs (well until the end of the first chapter that is), and knowing their daughter’s extra-curriculum activities, they have to deal with it as best as they can, it’s an interesting dynamic, and one Batgirl may have to deal with sooner than later in her own series should Jim Gordon ever figure out Barbara’s identity.
As for the first issue itself, it was awesome, honestly the only criticism I might have, is that Gwen seems a little bit too much like an exact female replica of Peter Parker’s Spider-Man. I mean, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, I still enjoy the character nevertheless, but wouldn’t have minded some separation from Peter Parker. Having not read the prologue, I’m unsure on Daredevil’s (is he Daredevil in this universe?) alignment but I’m looking forward to his integration in the story, that said, you have to look forward to seeing the Punisher (is HE even Punisher in this universe) go after Spider-Woman, I’m not sure he’ll be lenient if he ended up discovering Spider-Woman was in it for the greater good of the city – spray painting a bunch of skyscrapers probably won’t help her case.
The first issue also left us with a cliff-hanger and the introduction to our first major villain, Vulture. He’s never been on the top of my Spidey rogue gallery list but he should prove an interesting first nemesis for Spider-Gwen (ignoring the 78 cent stealing Bodega Bandit that is). On the flipside of Spider-Gwen’s life, she’s trying to get things back in order after a hiccup with her band, though this verse’s Mary Jane is stubborn on that matter making it harder than it should be.
The best part of it all, we got page loads of puns and pop culture references (“takin’ your bald and going home” though outdone by the earlier “So you wanna’ break bad and go Heisen-Bird, do you Toomes?”). I’m really looking forward to what Latour’s got planned next, but more so the development with Kingpin, Murdock and Frank Castle which will have deeper repercussions on Gwen.