The fact that this comic even exists is special. Edge of the Spider-Verse 2 introduced this alternate version of Spider-Man, where Gwen Stacey received spider powers instead of Peter. It’s a great comic that somehow told an entire origin story, a main story and brought some great character drama all in one issue. The fan reaction was rightfully positive, to the point where Spider-Gwen’s debut is in its fourth printing. And today sees the beginning of her ongoing series.
Spider-Gwen takes place several days after Edge of the Spider-Verse 2. In that time, Gwen left for the Spider-Verse event, there’s been a power swap in the police and the Vulture showed up. Mary Jane’s band is in turmoil thanks to MJ’s attention seeking ways. That said, everything is explained for new readers who haven’t read her debut issue. Better yet, everything that’s good about EOTSV 2 is good here.
This comic is just fun. There’s an overall music feel in everything, even some of Spider-Gwen’s taunts while she fights both the Vulture and the “worst arch nemesis ever”. The sound text is both varied and delightful. This comic also introduces several alternate versions of well-known 616 characters, most notably Frank Castle and Ben Grimm. What roles they play are best left unspoiled, but they’re both in different places than their main universe counterparts. The world of Spider-Gwen is becoming more interesting all the time and I hope that Secret Wars doesn’t change it too much if at all.
The art by Robbi Rodriguez is equally great. The entire comic is bright and colourful, even during nighttime scenes. The graffiti in the background not only adds character to the world, but adds humour when Gwen uses it to taunt the Vulture. Rodriguez also makes great use of Gwen’s cellphone screen, whether it’s watching news updates to catch up on her lost days or looking through her contact list. Facial expressions capture people’s emotions well, most noticeably showing Mary Jane’s frustration and resentment when dealing with her bands struggles. Also, Dollar Dog is a great name for a dollar store.
The letter after the issue highlights how special this comic is. This comic exists mostly because of the fans, who supported Spider-Gwen in all sorts of ways both before and after her debut. And as a thank you, Jason Latour and Rodriguez gave us a great first issue for her ongoing series. If you have any interest in Gwen Stacey becoming Spider-Woman in an alternate universe, pick this up for your own good.