Let’s all just agree to not really talk about the first four issues of this series, OK? They are very strongly tied in to the main Spiderverse story, and to be honest, they don’t really hold up that well. The story is clearly a side plot, and probably one that didn’t need to be told in such detail. Add in Greg Land’s much-discussed artwork… let’s all just agree that those issues happened, and move on.
The real first issue happens in issue #5. That’s the issue where Dennis Hopeless gets to trot out a new costume, a new attitude, and a new high concept for the series. Let’s be honest, this is 100% the Batgirl-ing of Spider-Woman. She’s got a new costume, she quits the Avengers, and she’s riding around in a cosplay-friendly suit handling street-level problems. This is Marvel’s answer to the DC’s modern Batgirl, and not surprisingly, I prefer Marvel’s take.
The main reason I dig Marvel’s Spider-Woman a bit more than Batgirl is due to the use of classic Marvel villains as plot devices. Any comic where Big Wheel (or his wife) play a role, you gotta know I’m going to appreciate it. Ben Urich is here too, tying this clearly into the Marvel U. I’m not a huge Urich fan, but he’s fine as a supporting character. He makes for a good plot device.
I also really appreciate Jessica Drew’s new outlook. Splitting from the Avengers makes sense, and while I don’t like that she’s messed up quite so many times since the break, I don’t mind the concept. Showing Jessica pull herself up by her bootstraps makes her easier to identify with and root for. I also like that her internal monologue feels like the same character as I’ve read about for years. This is not a new personality, instead it feels like Daredevil’s current outlook; it isn’t a new character, just a new attitude.
And the art is delightful. I will miss the classic Spider-Woman costume. It is just so full of 70’s greatness, I don’t’ think I’ll ever let it go. But the new suit is pretty darn striking and modern too. It still looks like a superhero costume, unlike Hawkeye’s terrible new duds. And Javier Rodriguez’s art is fantastic. The book maintains an independent feel while still looking like a Marvel book. I just wish that villain from the opening pages could show up again! He looks absolutely horrifying and fascinating, and he’s just a throw-away! Imagine what Rodriguez is going to do with classic characters and long-term villains. Exciting!
Thanks to the art, I think this might knock Silk out as my favorite of the Spiderverse launch titles. This book is GOOD!