Gwen is juggling lives on two different earths and is handling it surprisingly well. I have a hard enough time juggling my meals for a day so I’m impressed. On Earth-616 she’s a mild-mannered college student and back home on Earth-65, she’s Ghost-Spider, dealing with the thugs looking to fill the void left by Man-Wolf’s arrest. The villain has been released from prison thanks to his father’s connections, so there’s a looming threat in the distance. That’s not the only threat though as the Jackal has his eyes set on Gwen on Earth-616.
The Jackal angle is so perfect and so disturbing. Obviously this guy has some huge history with the Gwen Stacy of this world and he’s latched onto this one with the same level of creep factor. Gwen is completely unaware of this just yet which makes the whole thing even more chilling. The Jackal lurks in the shadows, watching her from afar as he pulls strings around her. To what end, we don’t know yet and that makes it even weirder.
Writer Seanan McGuire balances the super hero side of Gwen’s life with the personal side. Ample time is spent with her in and out of costume as we see her manage her life as Ghost-Spider and her life as a daughter and friend. The dialogue and Gwen’s internal narration is witty and full of quips as she tackles everything with an infectiously positive attitude.
Gwen’s outlook on life is so upbeat that it makes the Jackal appear even more sinister by comparison. While he looks like a literal monster in his jackal-form, his human guise as Dr. Miles Warren is even scarier. Artist Takeshi Miyazawa adds an evil tone to his eyes, showing how he’s always plotting. I’m more afraid for what he has in store for Gwen based on this look than I was for Man-Wolf.
The chaotic nature of Gwen’s double life is best portrayed in a single moment when she pops back to her home world and her cell phone picks up service again. She gets hit with a ton of notifications all at once. Letterer Clayton Cowles stacks these along the side of the panel to the point where it’s almost overwhelming.
Miyazawa once again delivers some incredible action sequences. This creative team has only improved as time has gone on. I love the varied angles we get in the middle of a fight scene as Gwen leaps around her enemies. There’s a motion effect to some of the images with the lines around Gwen blurred a bit. This is used sparingly, but very well. It adds to the kinetic energy at work. Miyazawa was aided in inks by Rosi Kampe and points like this definitely hit the mark.
Any discussion of the action scenes would be remiss if I didn’t mention Ian Herring’s colors. The background often fades away and is replaced with bright yellows, pinks, and purples. This adds a flair of fun to the fight sequences that coincides with the overall tone of the book. Herring also influences the darker side of Ghost-Spider #2 with the Jackal, showing him in shadowy labs that further distance himself from humanity.
Ghost-Spider is firing on all cylinders. This new status quo for Gwen has allowed us to have our cake and eat it too. She’s on Earth-616 proper, allowing for some great potential team-ups and altercations with classic villains like the Jackal, and she’s still back home dealing with all the drama and excitement of that world. All the while, it maintains a fun atmosphere that you can’t help but get wrapped up in.