Spider-Woman #1 review

When this series relaunched with #5 a few months ago – yes, I see the #1 on the front, but this is Marvel – I appreciated the craft, but the hipster Marvelousness of it all meant it wasn’t for me. I like my Spiderwoman creepy, something she hasn’t been since about 1980. 

Still, I’m always tempted by a gimmick, and here’s Jessica Drew heavily pregnant. The book has jumped forward eight months due to Marvel’s Secret Wars business, and Jess has stepped back from superheroing. She’s mentoring the reformed Porcupine as he takes his first steps on the right side of the law, while reporter pal Ben Urich reminds her not to interfere. She doesn’t really need the advice; she knows she has to be sensible for awhile, safeguard her unborn child. 
Flashbacks show us how Jessica’s been doing the last few months, but they don’t tell us who the father is. Likewise, we don’t find out as a maternity leave party is thrown for Jess by chum Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel – Iron Man, for one, is beside himself with curiosity. 
And can you blame him? When Captain – then Ms – Marvel got pregnant, no one knew who the father was, and it turned out to be space rapist Immortus via a literal phantom pregnancy. Writer Dennis Hopeless doesn’t bring that up here, which is sensible on the one hand – why bog a book down with someone else’s continuity?  On the other, well, there’s no way the subject wouldn’t come up. While I can go with Hopeless just moving on, the detail that Carol wants to be godmother to Jessica’s child is pretty unbelievable. 
I do wish we’d found out who’s the daddy; the question is more interesting than anything that happens in this book. Much as I enjoy a bit of superhero socialising, as much fun as penciller/colourist Javier Rodrigues and inker Alvaro Lopez’s alien hospital scene is, Spiderwoman #1 is so ridiculously relaxed that there’s no excitement. There’s neither physical nor emotional tension. It’s as if the issue has been injected with one of those calming hormones some pregnant women produce. The final page brings in some of my favourite foes, but I’m not worried for Jessica for one minute – she’s so ridiculously experienced at this point that she’ll cope easily. Her venom blasts mean she could likely take them out without moving an inch. 
And I don’t care about Porcupine one bit. The reformation angle is great, but let’s move him on to one of Marvel’s many team books, let him grow among a more varied cast. 
So here’s another Spider-Woman #1 – same creative team, slightly new set-up, but still not for me. The confident, amusing script succeeds in reintroducing us to today’s Jessica Drew, the art is lovely throughout, with great layouts and fine character portraits, the tone is consistent.. I hope it succeeds – but unless the likes of Mandrill, the Brothers Grimm and Nekra show up, unless there’s an injection of the intensity that made the original Spiderwoman great, I’ll pass. 

8 thoughts on “Spider-Woman #1 review

  1. Here's the weird thing. I hated the last volume once Land left. The new costume is uglier than sin and I thought the art looked more like an amateur try out than a Marvel comic. Worse, Hopeless was writing it as if a former PI was clueless on how to be a PI. (I blame Matt Fraction, TBH. His volume of Hawkeye was successful and it featured a radically dumbed down Hawkeye, a characterization that had never seen the light of day before. Because Hawkeye succeeded, Ant-Man and Spider-Woman had to feature stars with their IQs halved as well) So I read this number one expecting to hate the book still. Confident I would.

    And I was wrong. Will hate the costume to my dying day, but the art seems more polished, Jessica Drew is not a moron (which is weird since my sister swears each of her unborn children got their brains started by stealing massive amounts of brain cells from her), and I already care more about what's going on than I did for the whole villain blackmail arc previously!

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  2. While I'll always love the cartoon Jessica Drew better, Jessica Drew as a whole is my favorite Spider-Woman and one of my very favorite super-heroes. While I do miss the creepy aspect of her (bring back The Needle!) at least they acknowledge her past by having her do the private investigating (since Bendis who supposedly loves the character erased so much of her actual origin and canon). While I would rather read about her fighting bad guys than dealing with a pregnancy (way to steal Catwoman's “One Year Later” bit!), it is progression for Jess from being feared/ hated all those decades ago, trying to find acceptance and a place to have a somewhat more normal life. I'm very hesitant about supporting this book, but I'm also concerned that if this gets cancelled then gone is Jessica Drew, who wasn't just a supporting character for Spider-Man, will be full-time replaced by Spider-Gwen. (Oh, while there could have been a conversation regarding or alluding to Carol's rape-pregnancy, even if it was small with a lot of body language as opposed to right out discussion, as you say, it would most likely have had a negative effect on Jessica's latest first issue.)

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  3. I can see caring more about this story's Jess than the previous one, heck, I jumped ship immediately. I just hope that the Hawkeye tone is dumped for something all her own. And I realise that Jessica's black hair was never natural, under the wig, but i do miss it… Where she was striking, she's now ordinary.

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  4. I wished that the series would focus on Jessica's developing friendship with Peter Parker, in addition to her own adventures. And her current suit sucks. Why couldn't she have a cool costume like Silk or Spider-Gwen who works best in her own universe.

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