Monday, April 13, 2015

Spider-Gwen #1 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

As I mentioned in my review of "Edge of Spider-Verse" #2, Jason Latour and I don't have a great track record.  But, we're not here to rehash the past.  I loved "Edge of Spider-Verse" #2 just as much as everyone else did, and I was honestly thrilled that Marvel realized what a chord Spider-Gwen struck with the fans and green-lit this book.  I'm also thrilled to say that this first issue didn't disappoint.  Not at all.

First, Latour uses a number of recognizable characters to draw us into the story.  In "Edge of Spider-Verse" #2, we were introduced to this universe's versions of Glory Grant, Matt Murdock, the Rhino, Captain Stacy, and Mary Jane Watson (among others).  Latour continues introducing analogue characters in this issue, though not in a way that feels overly cute.  Ben Grimm is a police officer trying to keep some kids from vandalizing a billboard advertising a reward for turning in Spider-Gwen (for killing Peter Parker); one of those kids is Hobie Brown.  Grimm becomes a victim of the Vulture, driven by his ego (as he is in our universe) to confront Gwen, because he's jealous of the attention that she gets.  Meanwhile, mayoral advisor Foggy Nelson tells Captain Stacy that he's been replaced by Frank Castle on the Spider-Gwen task force, since the mayor questions his commitment after he claimed that Spider-Gwen saved his life.  Meanwhile, Castle is torturing the Rhino in his prison cell to get the name of the guy who hired him to kill Stacy.  These developments would all be reasonable and exciting without this universe's analogues driving them; the fact that they are said analogues, acting in ways true to their counterparts, makes it more fun.  Obviously, this series, just like all alternate-universe series, can't run on these moments alone, but, as I said, the story that Latour tells stands on its own.

Plus, Latour begins to develop Gwen's supporting cast.  It's not all about superheroes and super-villains; Latour makes you just as invested in whether or not the Mary Janes are going to disband.  (Perish the thought!)  Latour also manages to make it all sound young and fresh without overdoing it (as Fletcher and Stewart did in the firs tissue or two of their run on 'Batgirl").  It's actually a fun read.  (The comment about "Jim and the Holograms" made me LOL, even though referring to a 20-year old cartoon show is probably the opposite of young.)  Latour makes it clear that we've got some darkness ahead, but, for now, he's making it clear that Gwen maybe, just maybe is having a good time out there.

*** (three of five stars)

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