Meet Gwen Stacey. I’m an old-school Marvel fan, and the life and death of Gwen Stacey stands as one of the most powerful moments in the history of the Marvel universe. She was Peter Parker’s lost love, the beautiful girl who he failed to save. She’s also gotten a recent popularity boost through Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man movies.
And so, Dan Slott’s Spider-Verse adventure hit us with an unusual and fascinating idea: that somewhere in all the multiverse, it was Gwen Stacey who was bitten by a radioactive spider, and that Gwen has taken upon herself the mantle of Spider-Woman! ‘Edge of Spider-Verse #2’, introducing readers to this character, has a lot of hype to live up to.
Gwen Stacey, Spider-Woman, has been given a rather unique costume that makes her an extremely distinctive Spider.
It carries a clear sense of homage to the original, while also looking fresh and new; it also avoids the traditionally over-sexualised comic book female syndrome. No, this costume is sensible and stylish, feminine in a non-sex-bomb way. I like the look.
It falls to Jason Latour (writer), Robbi Rodriguez (artist) and Rico Renzi (colour artist) to actually tell the tale. They immediately introduce us to a world that is very different to the Marvel Universe we know and love, where Gwen has only just gotten Spider-powers recently, where Peter Parker’s genius led to his untimely demise, and where Matt Murdock is a blind attorney working for the Kingpin! This isn’t a simple ‘What If?’, exploring the Marvel Universe with one changed variable; Latour skilfully created a world that’s much more interesting than that. All the characters we know and love are subtly changed, and that’s part of the book’s charm.
As well, though, Latour plays a clever game. After a ‘previously’ splash, he throws us into what feels like a typical Spidey comic. Rodriguez avoids full-page splashes full of ‘wow factor’, instead drawing the book as though readers have been familiar with Spider-Woman for a while. It’s a clever strategy, ensuring this actually feels like an ongoing. Rodriguez and Renzi work together to give the book a fun vibe that’s really enjoyable. The twist at the end feels like a ‘landmark’ issue in Gwen’s life, and I like that.
Ultimately, Gwen Stacey is every bit as enjoyable a Spider as I hoped she would be. Ironically, my only concern is ‘Spider-Verse’ – I really hope Gwen makes it out of the event alive, and that we get the chance to explore her world some more.
CBH Score: 4.5/5