Spider-Woman #5: Ordinary
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Inker: Alvaro Lopez
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editors: Devin Lewis & Charles Beacham & Nick Lowe
Story: In the five weeks since Jessica Drew quit the Avengers, she has made a mess of her solo crime fighting career. She has caused tons of property damage going after things as petty as purse snatchers and she assaults an undercover cop. They put her in jail for the night, until Ben Urich shows up to tell her that they’ve been holding her as nothing more than a cruel joke, posting photos of it online. Urich asks her for help on a case he’s working on. The significant others of supervillains are disappearing and Urich suspects sinister motives. Jess tells Urich that these women are probably hiding from their exs and that he needs to let it go. Urich points out her recent short comings as a solo hero and Jess storms off. She interrupts a bank heist, which just so happens to tie back into Urich’s case, which she decides to take on.
Thoughts: Now, this is what I am looking for. Dennis Hopeless is great at mocking familiar superhero tropes and that is on full display here. Scenes where people berate Jess for her excessive crime fighting techniques are a highlight in this issue; whether it’s the cops, Urich, or even herself. Even better is the scene where Jessica has to legitimately question a supervillain before she leaps into action. Hopeless doesn’t focus on the bleakness of Jess’ situation, focalizing the bad through Jess’ incredibly on point sense of humor. She’s hilarious, a little hot headed, and quite sassy. Hopeless could have a lot of fun with the Jessica/Clint pairing if Hawkeye ever shows up.
The book also has a fun meta moment that acknowledges Milo Manara’s infamous Spider-Butt cover.
It doesn’t all work though. While Jess finally shines in her own book, Urich comes off weird. If it was anyone else, I wouldn’t trust them in the least. He comes off really creepy in the issue; the final panel is even him staring at Jess from afar with a creepy smile.
Also, the plot is incredibly convenient, to the point it stretches believability. This is something Hopeless has been having struggles with in this series. It’s not enough to make the issue a bad read, but it does detract from it.
The big thing though is that this is another Spider-Female title that is about a character who’s lost and trying to make her way in the world. That’s 3 for 3 now and I feel out of all our leading ladies, Jess should have her head on straightest. Her attempts to live a semblance of a normal life isn’t a strong enough hook for this series to distinguish itself.
The real stars of this issue is the art team though. We have a second Rodriguez working in the spider corner (Robbi Rodriguez is the artist on Spider-Gwen) and Javier seems to be doing pencils and his own colors. And it’s gorgeous. Rodriguez’s action moves with the eye, creating a cinematic style for the action. There’s a scene in the rain that really sells this, as Jess cuts through the rain with her moves, ending up quite damp because of it. Also, the way she uses her blasts look fantastic under Rodriguez’s pen. The bright green juxtaposes against the muted colors that fill the issue and it works really well.
His characters are expressive and he takes a note from cartoons and anime, often exaggerating reactions in a stylized way (like the way Jess puffs out steam when she mimics a bull.) The artist behind the onamonapia should also get some credit, the little effects here and there add to the issue, without feeling too invasive, which is the opposite of what is going on in Spider-Gwen.
I quite enjoy the new costume, especially the gloves. It’s sleek, it looks great in action, and it has so many great little bits (like her glasses or the fold out wings built into the jacket.) Despite all that, my favorite outfit Jess wears in the issue is a simple white shirt. Rodriguez draws it so that it looks like it clings to Jess, especially around the chest and it’s a level of believability I’m not used to. My favorite scene in the book has Jess in this shirt, destroying her old office as the sun is setting through pulled shades, casting a faded purple glow over the office. It’s breathtaking in its believability. And that coffee pot is amazing.
Verdict: This is another solid Spider-Female book with a few flaws that bring it down. Like Silk and Spider-Gwen, I believe this book is only going to get better as its creative team hit their stride. If you put a gun to my head and asked me to pick my favorite artistic team between the three, I wouldn’t be able to. They all bring something to the table and Javier Rodriguez brings a believable yet cinematic feel to his book. Like the other books, strong characterization of the titular character pulls this book through its unremarkable plot. I hope Jessica can find her niche in this market, because this book deserves an audience.
- Jess comes alive
- Believable art
- Fun deconstruction of superheroics
- Creepy Ben Urich
- Shares a similar premise as Silk and Spider-Gwen