There were a lot of comics coming out today with tragic endings of sorts, and I wanted to review at least one of them. Worse yet, most of them involve Captain Marvel one way or another – she’s had a rough week. Spider-Gwen 12’s ending isn’t only sad, but it feels like a major game changer for the series. Ms. Marvel’s sad ending is especially harsh considering how fun Ms. Marvel usually is, but it’s well done. It’s also a major game changer. But of the comics that had the sad endings, I feel like I have more to say with Spider-Woman 11 than the others, so I’m reviewing this one.
Spider-Woman 10 ended with Jessica Drew finding out that Hawkeye killed Bruce Banner (which happened in Civil War II 3). Being a friend of the Hulk’s, as best demonstrated in Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Avengers Assemble run, while also once being romantically attached to Hawkeye, this hit Jessica hard. Writer Dennis Hopeless captures her anger very well, as she’s spent days breaking into places in a desperate search for answers. This issue opens with her breaking into Bruce’s lab, but she’s unable to find what she wants.
This issue explores themes of friendship in so many ways. The flashback shows an amusing scene between Jessica and Bruce that references one of Avengers Assemble’s many memorable moments. It ends with the perfect line “I like you better when you’re angry”. Porcupine also helps Spider-Woman calm down and figure out what she really wants at that moment. Their growing friendship over the course of Hopeless’s Spider-Woman run is one of the reasons it works so well. However the ending also shows how Civil War II may have forever altered the long-time friendship between Jessica and Carol Danvers. I won’t spoil it, but how it ends isn’t unexpected. It’ll be interesting to see how things will change moving forward.
Veronica Fish’s art is great. It’s a simple look at first glance, but there’s a lot of detail in the backgrounds and in body language. The opening page shows an external shot of a medical examination building, surrounded by cops and a member of Alpha Flight, yet Jessica still easily sneaks inside. The last panel shows the silhouette of Bruce’s body, with only the name tag clearly visible in a way that enhances the scene’s impact. Jessica’s smile in the flashback is delightful, and Bruce, working on his laptop, seems to be trying to ignore her at first. The art enhances the scene’s humour. Other pages show montages of various scenes divided by the look of broken glass and Jessica’s angry face in front of everything, and of course the montage of Jessica sneaking around the Alpha Flight base is fun. There’s a lot to talk about with the art really – it’s well varied and creative in that sense. Rachelle Rosenberg’s colouring is bright and appealing in brighter scenes, while the sneaking sequences make great use of shadows and monitor glows.
As sad as this comic’s ending is, it balances itself out with some great humour, fantastic art and a brief sense of hope. At the same time, the fact that Jessica is too angry to realize how tragic this comic is only makes this issue sadder in the end. Even though it’s officially a Civil War II tie-in, it still feels very much character focused, and the story could work without the Civil War II aspect. Spider-Woman fans should check this series out if they haven’t yet, as should those who are curious about this ex-Hydra superhero.