Impressions: Spider-Gwen #1

The Spider-verse event has finally come to a close, our heroes have prevailed and now rest in their own respective worlds. The inheritors are vanquished, the multi-verse is safe, and the Spider’s are free to roam across the web of life and destiny. But where does that leave our heroine, Gwen Stacey? What state is her world in after being forced into recruitment by the Spider-army? Apparently, things have not been going very well.

In Gwen Stacey’s Spider themed world, some aspects of the world are quite similar, in that J. Jonah Jameson is the mayor of NYC and a Kingpin rules the criminal underground. Some things, however, allow this world to stand on its own: the Kingpin is not the obese Wilson Fisk, but instead that title is Given to the blind man MATT MURDOCK!

Another interesting twist is that after Police Chief Stacey is relieved of duty and he is replaced by a hard-nose loose cannon cop who doesn’t play by the rules named FRANK CASTLE! What’s more, Castle is a dirty cop who is in the mayor’s pocket, trying to find evidence linking Spider-woman (Gwen Stacey) to a string of crimes. Lets see what Gwen has to deal with in the premiere issue of SPIDER-GWEN!

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While her name isn’t ACTUALLY Spider-Gwen in the comics, this title is a nice nod to clue new readers in on who she is and to not have this character confused with either of the Earth 616 Spider-women. That is, if the costume wasn’t enough to blatantly show that this is a different Spider-woman. Another primary job this book is being given is to help build the atmosphere of this new Marvel world we are being introduced to. Unlike the Marvel ultimate, cinematic, or television universes, this new world is completely untapped and thus, makes for a veritable playground of story and character opportunities. The book wastes no time in introducing us to characters like the Vulture, who have not changed very much between the two universe, as well as showing off the likes of Frank Castle as the new police chief.

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But of course, what Manhattan is complete without the likes of J. Jonah Jameson ruining everyone’s lives with his hatred for Spider…Woman? Jameson has gone about slandering Gwen’s good name the entire time she has been away, even going as far as blaming her for the prevalent crime in NYC, despite her presence not being felt by anyone in the city.

Even the lowly street crime perpetrated by the likes of the…Bodega Bandit…are being blamed on Spider-woman. But while Gwen is busy re-acclimating to her world, her friends have long since left her behind. After not hearing a word from her for over a week, they have assumed she quit their band “The Mary-Janes” and have started scoping out a new drummer. This is all Mary-Jane’s idea, while the other two members want to go out and find her.

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Mary-Jane feels that Gwen quit and should be left to rot, but is simultaneously stressing over finding a suitable new drummer. The group is approached by Robby Robertson, a music reporter, and apparently a teenager in this universe. He tells them that the people loved and want to hear the REAL band, the one with Gwen, so M.J. needs to swallow her pride and find Gwen. This works great for not only establishing the presence of certain Spider-man charcters in this new continuity, but also works in favor of establishing a side-plot revolving around her real life, and not just her superhero gig.

While all of this goes down, Gwen is tasked with drawing out the Vulture, a new super villain that has gone about terrorizing cops and Oscorp employees alike. She draws him out with a rather larger graffiti statement defaming the Vulture’s name. This quickly draws him out of hiding and a fight ensues. The pair exchange quick banter, and bring the fight to an abrupt end with a cliffhanger ending.

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This is a great opening issue for Spider-Gwen, and it does well to help build this new world to surround a character we have grown to love from Spider-verse. My biggest complaint with the book is that there is a distinct need to read the “EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE” issue which first introduced Gwen in order to understand everything in Gwen’s real life subplot.

Overall, I highly recommend this book, for the strong character the writer was able to form from the Gwen Stacey archetype. I also recommend it for the interesting and colorful art style. The last word I would sue to describe this book would be dreary: it is a bright and colorful book with a fantastic art style. The characters are interesting, the fights are paneled well, and I cannot see any reason NOT to read this book.

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