Spider-Woman #6: Super-Sleuth
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist/Cover Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Inker: Alvaro Lopez
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Devin Lewis & Charles Beacham & Nick Lowe
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
This Place Looks Ominous: Jessica Drew takes Porcupine hostage after their fight, hiding him in She-Hulk’s building while she’s in court. After a hilarious exchange, where Porcupine fails to help Jess, she goes after her next C-List villain; Mister Luck. After he proves to be unhelpful, she one punches him and visits her next target; Big Wheel. Puzzled by his theft of alpacas, she is interrupted during her interrogation of him by a text telling her she’s barking up the wrong tree. It tells her to go to a location, an ominous building on the water front. Before she enters, she is nearly run over by Ben Urich, who in fact saves her when the building blows up a moment later. Ben reveals he’s been following her and she’s been going about things wrong. They concoct a plan where Jessica Drew disguises herself as the Porcupine so she can be kidnapped and taken to the Big Bad. The issue ends before we get to met our Big Bad.
But Just Regular Ominous: One of the best things about the new Daredevil is the relationship between Karen Page, a young inexperienced sleuth who wants to make a difference, and Ben Urich, the old journalist who has been around the block a few times. A similar relationship is on display here, between Jess and Ben. Obviously, there’s a few differences, but the core mentor-mentee aspect is here. Ben needs this, because he was the weak link in the issues preceding this one. Here, he comes off as a helpful mentor, and his weird activities get explained as him acting on his accord since he’s unsure of Jess. Having his creepy smile turn from creepy to smug is a change I can get into, because under Hopeless’ pen Ben is smug. I hope we see these two bicker over sleuth styles going forward, because both are sharp characters and the humorous dialogue is where Dennis Hopeless kills it in this series.
Jessica’s exchanges with everyone, herself included, make me laugh more than I would expect. I love this take on her, she’s still making mistakes but not nearly as many as she was in the last couple issues. She’s learning to ask questions first, but also to be ready to shoot quickly. It’s nice to have a Spider Title where the hero isn’t making light of her villains, even if they are C-Listers; Big Wheel is the biggest villain in this issue. Unfortunately, the villains don’t get a ton of time to shine (Porcupine aside, who appears to be a regular for the series judging by solicits) but that’s understandable as the focus is on Jess and Ben.
The art in this book continues to be solid if not anything to write home about. Javier Rodriguez is joining the ranks of Mark Bagley and Salvador Larroca on my list of artists who can create beautiful art at a decent pace, with it’s own unique style. Rodriguez doing his own colors is probably the book’s biggest strength, as it gives it a unique palette that no other book on the shelves has right now. Inker Alvaro Lopez turns in some great work as well, with a great use of shadows throughout the story.
Not Terrifying, Turn-Around-And-Go-Home Ominous: Is this an incredible issue? No, it’s not. But it’s solid in nearly every aspect and it serves as a great piece in a larger whole. The story moves at a brisk pace, the laughs come often, the characters don’t come off as idiots, and it’s interesting to have a story where the stakes are high for our villains but not our heroine. We’ve got two issues left in the storyline, which is plenty of time to raise the stakes, reveal our big bad, and deliver a satisfying conclusion. Let’s hope our creative team sticks the landing.
- Urich switches from creepy to smug
- Solid development for supporting cast
- Unique colors and unity between art team
- Good, not great in nearly every way