Thursday, March 3, 2016

Spider-Gwen #3 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

This issue is great, though it did leave me feeling like I missed an issue.

First, Latour drops us right into the fact that Gwen apparently frequently travels to "our" Earth to spend time with Jessica Drew.  In fact, Jessica refers to herself as Gwen's mentor.  I honestly don't know how or when that happened.  I don't remember them ever interacting during the original "Spider-Verse," and Jessica wasn't part of the "Spider-Verse" mini-series that ran during "Secret Wars."  Did something happen in "Web Warriors" that I missed?  At any rate, Gwen and Jessica have a lovely conversation on a rooftop in New York.  Gwen asks Jessica about "our" Gwen because, every time she sees "our" Peter Parker, she realizes how different life could've been for "her" Peter, just as her life is different than "our" Gwen's.  (I hope you followed that.)  Jessica has a great response to this (totally understandable) line of questioning, telling Gwen that the tragedy of "our" Gwen is that she didn't get to have a full life, one filled with mistakes.  It's a great moment, because she's reminding Gwen that "her" Peter's life, just like "our" Gwen's, wouldn't have been story-book perfect, even if he had lived.  She's also discouraging her from viewing "normal" people's lives as any less complicated than superheroes'.  (Gwen should go talk to Midnighter.)  It's really a touching conversation, and I hope Gwen follows Jessica's advice to talk to "our" Peter, because, man, what a conversation that would be.

Second, Frank Castle and Matt Murdock have come to the conclusion that George is working with Spider-Woman, since she's saved him twice.  Matt actually goes one step further, approaching George to tell him that he essentially knows Gwen's secret identity.  That said, I can't remember how he can be that sure.  Did Toomes tell him?  If he did, I can't remember how Toomes knows.  I'm going to have to read some back issues.  Maybe he's just fronting, hoping George will confirm his hunch?  Whatever Matt's motives, Castle (insanely) decides that George is working with Spider-Woman to take over the Kingpin's criminal empire.  Latour doesn't tell us why Castle thinks that.  In fact, both DeWolff and Grimm treat him (justifiably) like he's crazy.  But, it once again leaves me feeling like I'm missing something here.

Finally, Harry Osborn returns in this issue.  (I'll admit that I wasn't aware that he was gone.)  We learn that he left after Peter died; in a conversation with Gwen, he tells her that he blames himself because he didn't tell Spider-Woman that Peter was the Lizard.  I can see why he feels guilty over that, though I'm not entirely sure why he thinks that telling her would've helped.  If he didn't know that Spider-Woman was Gwen, then why would he think that Spider-Woman would care that the Lizard was a student?  All she knew was that a crazed mutant was rampaging through a high school.  But, guilty he feels, and we learn that he joined the Army and then, somehow, S.H.I.E.L.D.. all as part of a plan to get revenge on Spider-Woman.  (In case you're wondering, he's mad at Spider-Woman because she broke Peter's heart, since he just wanted to be like her.)  To cap off the crazy, Harry activates a hidden glider at the conclusion of their conversation, melodramatically flying into the night.

Despite these criticisms, I still loved this issue.  Latour sends Gwen on a helluva emotional roller coaster, from struggling with the feelings that "our" Peter inspires in her about the road not traveled to confronting the unexpected fury of Harry Osborn.  Given that she also doesn't know what Castle and Murdoch have in store for her, Gwen might need a lot more trips to Jessica for advice.

*** (three of five stars)

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