Posted September 17, 2014 by Stephen Hardman in Columns

Comic of the Week – 17.09.2014 – Edge of Spider-Verse #2

WRITTEN BY Jason Latour
ART & COVER BY Robbi Rodriguez
PUBLISHER Marvel Comics

The Spider-Verse event creeps ever closer as the weekly Edge of Spider-Verse mini-series hits issue #2 this week. This series is a really great platform as it gives writers and artists a chance to create all new Spider characters with each issue. This week Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez bring us Gwen Stacy: Spider-Woman.

We first meet Gwen in a familiar superhero scenario – isolated and confused about her place in the world. This is compounded by the fact that her father is determined to stop Spider-Woman and bring her to justice. It takes a punishing fight with Rhino and the revealing of her secret identity to her father for Gwen to realise that she has a responsibility to keep wearing her mask, continue to be Spider-Woman, to fight against the evil of the world. The journey we see Gwen go on in this comic is deftly handled by Latour, whose tight scripting and clever dialogue moves the book along at a perfect pace.

It would be impossible to talk about this book without talking about the art team. Firstly Robbi Rodriguez’s art? So good. So damn good. I actually wanted to give him a standing ovation when I’d finished reading this book. But he wasn’t there, and I was on a train at the time so I thought it would have been a bit weird. I applauded silently instead. There’s been a lot of talk about, and praise of the costume design, and it does look great with the white hood and the web detail on the upper arms and on the inside of the hood. The way Rodriguez draws Gwen generally is fantastic, the sleek lines and the sense of fluid movement he conveys will be familiar to anyone reading Vertigo’s fantastic FBP. His characters are all limbs and angles and always look dynamic. Here, together with the superlative colours of Rico Renzi, every panel pops with pure energy. Renzi complements the look of Rodriguez’s art perfectly and is a great fit for the overall tone of the book. Lastly the lettering of Clayton Cowles is, as ever, fantastic. I particularly love the sound effects which blend into the panels without being distracting.

There are some really nice touches in this book, including brief appearances from Matt Murdock and Peter Parker. Latour’s conceit of having a “Previously In Spider-Woman” page makes me nostalgic for a character that didn’t exist until this week, which is an awesome feat.

Marvel is making a real effort to appeal to a wider audience, particularly female readers by debuting more and more comics with female leads – ongoing series like Elektra, Black Widow, Storm, Captain Marvel, and books that share an affinity with the this comic such as She-Hulk and Ms Marvel. And with a new female Thor recently announced this trend shows no signs of slowing down. Is it a gimmick? Is it a cynical marketing ploy? When the books are this good who cares? She-Hulk in particular is one of the best monthlies on the shelves at the moment, as evidenced by our Comic of The Week accolade last month! Whatever Marvel’s motivations for pushing forward with more female character driven comics it is giving readers an opportunity to try something different and that can only be a good thing.

The question that should be on most people’s lips now is what’s next for Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman? We know she is going to feature again in the Spider-Verse event but she has exploded into existence with such force that it seems almost impossible that she will not feature again in the pages of comic books, or even have her own on-going series, once Spider-Verse is finished.  I’d definitely buy that! Make it happen Marvel.

Born in the North West of England and now living in North Somerset his interest in comics started at an early age by reading the cartoons in weekend newspapers – a particular favourite being Calvin & Hobbes. His interest grew when he discovered the only comic shop in his home-town, which led him to Vertigo, the early incarnation of Image, as well as Batman, a character which remains a favourite to this day. He also loves crime and noir fiction, film and TV of all kinds, and music of all types. Writing and blogging takes up much of his spare time and he hopes to one day publish his long-gestating crime novel.