Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spider-Gwen #3 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Amazing.  I just love this series.

Latour continues to make Gwen's origin story recognizable as a version of Peter's origin story, but tweaks it in key ways so that it feels fresh and unique.  First, Gwen has an advantage that Peter didn't have, namely the fact that her police-officer father raised her with a certain set of crime-fighting skills; as she reminds him here, he taught her how to spot a tail when she was eight-years-old.  But, Gwen's first outings as Spider-Woman are proving to be more disastrous than even Peter's first adventures were.  By the end of this issue, Peter's death weighs on her like Uncle Ben's death did on Peter, plus the Kingpin still wants her dead and the Punisher and the Vulture likely know her identity.  It's not good.  I have to wonder how Latour is going to handle the secret-identity issue, since it seems unlikely that he's going to strip her of her ability to be "Gwen" so soon.

But, one constant seems like it's going to remain:  Aunt May.  The Parkers apparently live on the same block as the Stacys, and Uncle Ben comes to rescue Captain Stacy after the Vulture doused their house with fumes when he was trying to shake down George over his connection to Spider-Woman.  (The Kingpin is using the Vulture to get to Gwen, as we learned last issue.)  He tells George that May Parker is the woman to get a man on his feet, and we see Gwen sitting in Peter's room at the same time.  I like the idea of May as Gwen's confidante, if we're going that way.  Of course, she's going to have to explain that she didn't kill her nephew first.

Looking at the issue itself, I have to say, Latour and Rodriguez deliver possibly the best fight scenes in the business.  Latour gives Gwen such a distinct voice when she's fighting, full of bravado and slang.  We've all gotten used to Peter's wise-cracking that it's hard to see it as separate from his normal personality, but Latour makes it clear that Spider-Woman has a different voice than Gwen does.  Moreover, Rodriguez is just a marvel of infusing a fight scene with kinetic energy.  From Gwen's screaming Spider-Sense signaling the start of the fight to her swinging her father's bowling trophies like they're bola whips, you feel the movement as you're reading it.

They also don't neglect reminding us that Gwen is struggling here.  Rodriguez makes her borrowed clothing from last issue prominent, reminding us that she's barely had time to rest since this series started.  (It reminds me of the opening arc of the first volume of "Spider-Man 2099" in that sense.)  Plus, Latour has her rant against the adults coming after her:  the "jack-booted fascists," "loudmouth newspaper jerks," and "bald-headed old creeps with wrinkly yellow bathtub toes."  It probably makes her miss just dealing with Mary Jane.

Again, everything here is great, and I hope that it stays that way for a long time.

***** (five of five stars)

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