Spider-Gwen is struggling to create some semblance of a normal life in a world where everyone knows her secret identity. She’s stumbled on an idea that seems pretty close to the Heroes for Hire concept from Luke Cage and Iron Fist back in the day, doing hero work for civilians for a price. That brings up a whole slew of other problems, not to mention the fact that there’s a new villain trying to take over the criminal underworld.
This series spun out of Spider-Geddon and was wrapped up in that event to start with. This issue feels like it’s really found its voice and has taken off with great strides. This is especially true with the dialogue. Writer Seanan McGuire has turned in some of the best, fast-paced, witty dialogue this side of Joss Whedon. It’s packed with jokes and moves at a mile a minute. It’s a perfect fit for the look and feel of the book.
Speaking of that, I am so glad to see artist Takeshi Miyazawa on a title like Spider-Gwen. He brings an unparalleled energy to his work and this book is no different. There’s a slight cartoony vibe to it at times, particularly with the more humorous panels with some fun expressions. This is balanced by some awesome action shots of Gwen swinging through the city or fighting some bad guys. It works together in this perfect way that keeps the book moving at a brisk pace.
As Gwen is putting together her plan to fix her financial woes, she’s thinking quickly and it shows in her internal narration. Letterer Clayton Cowles places these caption boxes in a way that flows around Gwen, showing her thought process and adding to the overall humor of her exploits.
In flipping through this issue again, it’s pretty amazing to see just how much story is packed within its pages. We get a showdown with the dreaded Bodega Bandit, a meet-up with the Mary Janes, a great father / daughter chat, some entrepreneur talk, a showdown with Man-Wolf’s henchmen, at look at his master plan, and a glimmer of a new relationship. All of that happens in one issue and it never feels overwhelming or like something is glossed over. There are a number of plot threads juggled here and they’re handled very well.
Although we’re dealing with a threatening villain in Man-Wolf, Spider-Gwen doesn’t feel like a grim and gritty comic. This can be attributed to colorist Ian Herring, who keeps a lighter tone on every page. Sure, Gwen is dealing with a number of problems, both in and out of costume, but she still holds her head up high. She’s not wallowing in her sorrows. This sense of positivity is pretty great. She shines through these obstacles with her white and black costume cutting through the darkness.
Herring adds some extra intensity to the fight scenes, filling in the background with bold yellows, blues, and purples. These wash out the locations around Gwen as she leaps, punches, and kicks some henchmen. It’s a nice complement to Miyazawa’s artwork.
Spider-Gwen grows by leaps and bounds with this issue. It introduces a number of new ideas to the title character’s personal and professional life that look like they’ll have some great payoffs down the line. This chapter raised Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider up the ranks in the Spider books at Marvel.