Rating: 5/5 – What the First Issue in This Series Should Have Been.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.
When fellow ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn reviewed the first issue in this volume of Spider-Woman, he thought that it did “most things wrong as a debut issue.” He noted that since it debuted as part of a crossover in the Spider-verse event that it lacked any real focus on the title character. I shared similar feelings about the first issue and thought it was a disservice to both the character and writer Dennis Hopeless. How could I really judge his skill in writing this character when it was part of an event that wasn’t written or orchestrated by him? Still, I was enjoying Spider-verse, so at the very least I was going to stay until it was over. Then news broke that Spider-Woman would be getting a new costume when Spider-verse concluded. Many called it a gimmick and maybe it was, but I really liked the redesign so I decided I would stick around. I’m glad I did because this issue alone has completely sold me on the series.
The cover to this issue proclaims Spider-Woman has a “new costume” and a “new status quo.” Indeed, this issue delivers on both of these promises as Dennis Hopeless sheds the shackles of the Spider-verse event and takes full control of the series. The contrast in the writing is so stark that if I didn’t see his name in the credits, I would think another writer replaced him. This issue is fast-paced, funny, witty, and clever. In many ways, it mirrors the new costume, which sports a sleek, hip, and modern look. Hopeless smartly addresses the costume change in story with a humorous quip by Spider-Woman about “shame googling Spider-Woman butt,” a part of her anatomy often featured in her former skin-tight outfit. The issue shakes things up with other subtle changes, too, as Hopeless reintroduces the character post Spider-verse and molds her into something different from her past incarnations. I felt like a lot of whom she is was missing from the series thus far, so it’s a welcome change to focus on character development. By the end of the issue, Hopeless essentially resets this series and sets Spider-Woman on a path to rediscovery, giving us a character that is funny, likeable, and determined to do something new with her life. Hopeless has a pretty good track record with me, so I’m expecting a lot of fun moving forward, especially with the current narrative that looks like it will focus on some quirky B-list villains.
While Spider-Woman’s new costume may be the initial draw to this issue for many, it’s Javier Rodriguez’s art that could make you stay. He gives the book a serious makeover with a style that is fun and dynamic and syncs perfectly with the story Hopeless is telling. Rodriguez doesn’t over-sexualize Spider-Woman, but still makes her look striking in her new getup as she flips from wall to wall and pounces on the enemy. When the scene calls for humor, he easily manipulates her expressions to accentuate that humor. His bold use of colors throughout also makes the art pop. He uses a lot of bright and funky color choices that give the book a fresh and vibrant feeling consistent with the new direction. Javier Rodriguez has definitely made a big fan of me after this issue and hope he sticks around for the long haul.
This issue delivers on the claim that it would shake up the status quo. The story takes a decided turn away from the previous story arc and creates an all-new starting point that is accessible to new readers and reinvents the series for current readers. Dennis Hopeless finally brings us up to speed on Spider-Woman’s backstory and along with the vibrant and energetic art of Javier Rodriguez, superbly sets up the series for what’s to come. I can’t help but think that this is what the first issue in the series should have been. If the creative team continues to work this well together, I’ll definitely be sticking around to see where they take us next.
Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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