The adjective-less Spider-Woman webs herself a new series today. Deeply imbedded in Spider-Verse, the issue focuses on two of the most poorly developed Spider-women: Jessica Drew and Cindy Moon. How is it?
Spider Woman: Spider-Verse Part One
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Greg Land
Inker: Jay Leisten
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Cover: Greg Land & Morry Hollowell
Editors: Charles Beacham & Nick Lowe
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
The issue begins with Jessica Drew, Cindy Moon, and Spider-Man Noir in an alternate dimension. Jessica’s been given the task of keeping Cindy safe above all else, but this proves difficult when Cindy and Peter Noir find themselves compelled to help anyone in trouble. They get into a brawl which brings two of the Inheritor family, a family hunting Spiders across different dimensions, to them. The Inheritor members are the Twins: Brix and Bora. Brix almost drains Peter Noir, but Cindy saves him and then Jessica is able to jump them to another dimension.
They end up in Marvel 90214, Peter Noir’s home world. Jessica brought him home, since in his injured state he’ll only hinder them and Jessica plans to leave him behind as bait. Cindy is upset by this decision, but it never comes to fruition as Peter Parker shows up with Spider-Girl (Any Corazon) and Spider-Gwen. He intends to have Gwen and Anya look after Cindy, which Jessica thinks is reckless. Peter tells Jessica she has to go, the mission he gave her could change the tides in the Spider-Verse War. Jessica tells the Spider-Girls to be as unheroic as possible in an attempt to stay alive, before taking off.
Cindy hears that Jessica thinks her reckless ways will get them all killed and she takes off to another dimension, where she is alone and attacked by the Inheritor Twins.
I’ve never been the biggest Jessica Drew fan (I thought Bendis did some cool stuff with her, but after Secret Invasion when Jessica should have been huge, he dropped the ball) but I am big Dennis Hopeless fan, so I went into this with hope that he’d do something that I could get on board with it. While this was nothing amazing, I still think it was a really solid issue.
And most of that has to do with voice. Hopeless gives both Jessica and Silk strong personalities and great voices. Jessica is the experienced solider, trying her best to keep the mission from falling apart. Hopeless does a good job of showing that Jessica isn’t always this stick in the mud, though most of the jokes she tries to make in the issue fall flat. Jessica understands the stakes and she makes the hard calls that you would never see Peter Parker, Miles Morales, or Miguel O’Hara make. And you see how conflicted that leaves her, but she does it anyways because she knows how close to game over the spider family is. So while it’s still too early to tell, Spider-Woman could be the darker Spider-Book that fills the niche Superior, Venom, and Scarlet Spider have left vacant in their cancellations.
And then there’s Cindy Moon. The woman locked away for years who’s anxious to be a superhero. She reminds me a lot of the new Ms. Marvel, someone so enticed by the world of super heroics that she can barely contain herself now that she’s in it. And that makes her one of the biggest weaknesses on the Spider side of the War, because she draws the Inheritors to her like flies, largely in part to her inability to not try and be a hero. It’s a great conflict for the character and it gives her a strong voice alongside Jessica.
And let’s not forget how great Hopeless does with the variety of Spider-Guests that appear in this. This really does feel like an essential part to the Spider-Verse story and it’s great to see so many Spider-people interacting with one another. Spider-Man Noir was especially well handled and I honestly thought he was going to be the first casualty of the war that I care about. I’m curious to see how much everyone will feature in the book over the next few issues, as we shift focus to Jessica while Silk and Spider-Gwen move to their own books.
Although I don’t hate Greg Land, if you do, I don’t know how much you’ll enjoy the art in this book. He does however do some fun stuff with Spider poses, alien technology, and his action scenes are easy to follow. I really enjoyed what Jay Leisten brings to the book, his inks bringing a darker tone. Frank D’Armata’s colors keeps the book looking drab and dark as well. It fits for now, with the bleakness of Spider-Verse looming over the book.
This issue is not without faults though. Apparently, Cindy is like a super potent scent for the Inheritors for some reason, but it’s only mentioned in the recap page? That’s kind of a big deal, especially since Jessica spends most of the issue protecting Cindy and we’re never told why in story. And again, a lot of the humor falls flat. That’s not to say the issue is completely devoid of fun, as they do end up going to an alien New York and there is multiple Peter Parkers in the issue. It just seems like Jessica’s ‘fun’ voice is trying too hard while her cynical voice is actually the best source of humor in the book.
Hopeless throws us head first into Spider-Verse and gives an above average issue with two strong leads. Where the book goes from here, both in regards to Spider-Verse and post SV, is hard to tell but for now it’s a solid read. Despite some of the decisions characters make this issue (Sacrificing Spider-Noir & childishly running away from the Spider-Family) I found everything believable thanks to a strong dose of personality to both Jessica and Cindy.
- Easy to follow action
- Great characterization
- Delivers on the Spider-Verse front
- Jokes tend to fall flat
- Vital information left out of the story
- Hard to tell where the series is going