Spider-Gwen #3 Review: Javi’s Take

image“And if I walk away–and someone else gets hurt–how do I live with myself then, Dad?”

Gwen confronts her father, the Vulture, …and The Punisher!!!

Writer: Jason Latour

Artist: Robbi Rodriguez

Color Artist: Rico Renzi

Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Cover Artist: Robbi Rodriguez

Variant Cover Artist: Mike Mayhew

Design: Idette Winecoor & Jessica Pizarro

Assistant Editor: Devin Lewis

Editor: Nick Lowe

Story: Gwen and her father start to have a long overdue conversation about her alter ego, when the Vulture interrupts to interrogate Captain Stacy. Gwen suits up and takes the battle outside where she confronts Captain Castle, wearing a vest adorned with a skull. Gwen defeats them both and webs the Vulture up for the police, whilst neighbor Ben Parker helps a wounded Captain Stacy into his home so his wife can asses his injuries. image

Thoughts: It seemed like this issue went by in a flash, but that is not to say it was without substance. Gwen and her dad finally reach home to have a conversation and the fun, flip Spider-Woman persona is gone, leaving a very fragile, heavy hearted teen-ager. Both parties are worried, but for different reasons. George, of course, is very parental in trying to protect his daughter. I wondered what kind of childhood Gwen must have had when she mentioned her dad teaching her to spot a tail when she was 8 years old. Was this done in fun? Was he overprotective and paranoid and was she fearful? What did her mom think? Was she around, or was her absence part of the reason why he taught her? I can’t think of much background on 616 Gwen’s mom and I know the Ultimate version abandoned her. So far, everything about the Spider-Gwen world and its differences continue to intrigue me. image

The mantle of responsibility and consequences is continuing to weigh heavily on Gwen, making this feel like a Spider-Man story. George tells Gwen she can’t be Spider-Woman anymore and Gwen asks how can she live with herself if someone else gets hurt. She flashes back to Peter dying in her arms and confesses to her dad that she would give anything to stop lying and hiding behind the mask. She is full on feeling the brunt of the new lifestyle thrust upon her, with the man who raised her into this, now afraid for his child’s safety and telling her to let the weight go. He tries to tell her about forgiveness and as a reader, you know it’s a lesson she won’t learn anytime soon, if ever. Combined with Rodriguez’ art, it’s a moving scene where he keeps the speed lines to a minimum and lets the drama play.

Once the Vulture arrives, Rodriguez kicks his art into its usual dynamic mode. I realize this is still VERY early into Gwen’s career, but probably not a good idea to switch into costume when you’re being assaulted in your own home. At the very least, sneak out the back and then arrive thru the entrance the Vulture made! Gwen switches back into snappy banter mode and I wondered what a 616 Peter book would be like under this team. image

Vultchy rants and raves about an Osborn, further salivating the notion that we’re gonna get to see a Norman/Gwen face off at some point in the series. The Vulture’s monologue is interrupted by Captain Stacy’s bullets and he turns tail and runs. Again, he seems to be able to dish it out, but not take it when his prey fights back. He’s far more creepy than the 616 version to me, but cowers when the going starts to get tough. His bully dichotomy adds dimension to him.

Gwen’s feeling of responsibility drives her to give chase, meanwhile, someone else who’s been known to know a thing or two about the subject, rushes to George’s aid. I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing Ben and May Parker in the next issue. Ben not only seems younger than his 616 counterpart, but brawnier, too, probably because he’s attired similarly to the Brawny Paper Towel Guy.

As Gwen feels the effects of the gas, from nausea to seeing triplicate, Captain Frank Castle makes a very intimidating appearance in a version of his Punisher garb! The gas mask adds an inhumanity to his towering, bulky visage. If he wasn’t bobby trapped, Gwen would’ve made quick work of him, even hindered from the gas, but instead she winds up unmasked. Castle condescends to her, surprised that she is “just a girl”, but this “girl” solidly knocks him out and has to make a decision. image

It’s her third issue and Gwen has some serious problems. If the Vulture is as smart as he brags, it shouldn’t take him long to piece together that she’s Spider-Woman. Add to that, Captain Castle may have gotten a look at her face and it probably won’t take long for him to realize it’s his co-worker’s daughter. It could be that he only saw the top of her blonde head, but is a Spider ever that lucky? I think my favorite part of the issue is Gwen piecing together what could happen if the Vulture outs her to the police and before she can even finish her thought, she stops herself and affirms that Spider-Woman is NOT a criminal. She webs him up for the police, and whilst I wish she would’ve left a “From, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Woman” note, it wouldn’t have been appropriate in this scene. Gwen closes out the issue by sitting in Peter’s dark empty room and reflects, ending it in true, classic 60’s Spidey style.

I wish the issue could’ve been longer, but it was still a great read. It may only be three issues in, but I feel that the team really gets the themes of Spider-Man and is applying them well to Spider-Gwen. The art is superb in my opinion and I’m enjoying the voices Latour is giving the characters. image

My Grade: A


(7) Comments

  1. Diannah

    Constantine, I have to admit, Rodriguez's Gwen costume sucks, to put it bluntly. If you look at Giuseppe Camuncoli's version he did over in ASM, and it was fine, and even stylish. The way Rodriguez draws Gwen's costume, she looks more like a cheap knock-off cartoon character.

  2. Constantine

    I enjoyed reading the issue but, yeah, they really need to flesh out Gwen more, particularly her reasons for continuing to be a vigilante. I guess I get what they're going for there: Peter thought so highly of her and what she could do that he died trying to become like her, so she wants to live up to his expectations. Yet I don't think they've sold it really well and it feels a bit... flimsy as a reason to continue to risk her life and the lives of those around her. I think they should do a string of more Lee-Ditko/Romita type stories wherein the superhero story was mostly self-contained while the exploration of Pete's daily and social life was the more continuity heavy part of the series. It would likely help to flesh out Gwen, her life, and the supporting cast. Finally, am the only one to not like her costume? I know the whole "am I the only one..." thing is generally stupid but I've seen nothing but universal love for the costume. It looks over-designed and the colors clash to me. I think it would look a lot better if they took out those goofy maroon parts and put black webbing on the white bits.

  3. ryan3178

    I really enjoy this version of the Vulture. It really portrays him as calculating and experienced. I do agree that we do need a little more on Gwen herself but we are getting there. The use of Frank Castle was well done. He is menacing no matter what universe he is in.

  4. Diannah

    Another great continuation of the story from Latour. Even the Vulture is starting to grow on me. However, the art is still on the low-end of acceptable. Overall, I'd give the comic a "B" grade.

  5. Al

    This issue was the best one so far...it still had big, big, big, big, big problems and one of those is that we still haven't fleshed Gwen out all that much. We've just gone over old ground

  6. Chase The Blues Away

    "How can I live with myself if someone else gets hurt" - but Gwen, all we've seen so far is when you are Spider-Woman, people get injured or die. Peter died because he wanted to be like Spider-Woman. The Rhino attacked George Stacy thinking he was sending a message of support to Spider-Woman. The Vulture attacked the kids/Ben Grimm because Spider-Woman was getting all the attention. The Vulture attacked the Stacy home because, Spider-Woman. Aside from rescuing a cash register with less than a dollar in it, we have yet to see anyone have their life positively affected by the presence of Spider-Woman. (Also, Gwen might not be a criminal ala the Vulture or Rhino, but she should be wanted by the police for vandalizing the city in SG 1). This is in marked contrast to Peter's early adventures, where we saw him help people and save lives even as he messed up his own. So, yeah, not seeing it. Cool artwork, awesome colors, but right now Gwen would be doing herself and everyone else she knows a huge favor if she hung up the webs, the way it's been written so far. Captain Stacy is a terrific character, but the book isn't called Spider-George. A C at best in my grade book.

  7. Frontier

    Y'know, I noticed in that picture that Gwen's mom looked a lot more like 616!Gwen then this Gwen does for the most part, complete with the hairband. I wonder if that also hints at your theory that something happened to Gwen's mom while she was growing up, like how 616!Gwen died, that led George to be so focused on teaching her Police basics? Then again, I recall Ultimate Gwen could notice a tail too, so it could also be that it was a byproduct of him being so overprotective over her. Wow, three issues in and now two more people possibly know Gwen's secret identity. That's gotta be a record. Looking forward to seeing how much this complicates Gwen's life. Would really suck if word of it gets around to Murdock or Kingpin. And I don't think Frank is going to go easy on her even if she's a girl after that punch. First Osborn mention...and certainly not a positive one if we take what Vulture said at face-value. Looking forward to seeing the creators follow up on that. I'd been waiting to get more insight into this worlds Peter, and his relationship with Gwen, since we learned about the big details of this universe, so can't wait to see that explored next issue. Thanks for another enjoyable read Javi!

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