Spider-Gwen Most Wanted Conclusion
Writer: Jason Latour
Artist/Cover: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letter: Clayton Cowles
Design: Idette Winecoor & Jessica Pizzarro
Editors: Nick Lowe & Devin Lewis
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Steal Only What They Can’t Lock Away: The issue opens with Matt Murdock receiving an invitation from Felicia Hardy to a live performance involving her band, the Black Cats. There is bad blood between Hardy and Murdock, as he killed her father and she stole the first dollar the Kingpin ever made, like her father before her.
The Mary Janes are invited to open for The Black Cats. They all hate Felicia, but take the gig anyways. During their act, Felicia cuts them off to perform. Murdock arrives with the Hand and chaos breaks out. Gwen manages to save the Asian fourth band mate, who turns out to be Betty Brant.
She returns to the fight as Spider-Woman. Gwen takes on the ninjas while Murdock tries to taunt Felicia into killing him. Spider-Woman tries to talk her down but is forced to take her down with a single punch. Murdock tries to befriend Spider-Woman, but she takes everything as a threat and flees when the cops arrive.
The issue ends with Jean DeWolff visiting George Stacy, warning him that people will start making connections if he continues to be linked to Spider-Woman.
Take Only What They Can’t Take Back: Well that’s certainly an interesting installment. Not a great conclusion to the arc, but I’ll look at the issue first. This is definitely a different Felicia Hardy than we’re used to. A young African-French woman, who was trained by her father to be a thief from a young age, before becoming a music super-star. She would travel the world stealing things of value with her father, until they stole the wrong thing and Matt Murdock put a bloody stop to it. In his Netflix costume no less. She also goes by the codename Le Chat Noir. The French is a nice introduction to the series, subtitled visually like it would be in movies. This Felicia is a little larger than life, but her crazy outfits and light shows give a very unique visual flare to the ninja battle and the rest of the issue.
Gwen feels very overshadowed in her own book. This issue is centered around Murdock and Hardy, although Em Jay gets a few moments through out the issue. We see her passion for what she does without losing sight of the fact she’s still the same jaded Em Jay. Sadly the Mary Janes don’t get a big moment, which feels almost appropriate.
The art team are their usual selves, love em or hate em. This issue lays on the musical aesthetic and youthful attitude thick, from art to humor to character development. Considering it’s the finale of it’s opening arc, I’m okay with this. It’s a reminder that Marvel isn’t putting out another book like it. It reminds me most of issue one, while not nearly as successful.
Also that ending just comes out of nowhere. But eh, let’s see where it goes.
Steal Their Hearts: Gwen’s show and book gets hijacked by Felicia Hardy for a very interesting take on her. It ties in nicely with the world Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez have built so far. This really does fail as a conclusion though. I’m bias, because I like the world enough that I’m okay with a detour into it. The last volume of Young Avengers opened with a story arc that has the perfect title for this issue.
Arc Verdict: Spider-Gwen is a weird book. The creative team seemed to be finding their sweet spot before, working with a very unique Gwen Stacy that didn’t adhere too closely to her counterparts and had some serious issues. While we saw some resolution to that, it does seem like they are having trouble balancing their many threads and developing the world at the same time. Gwen and Spider-Woman storylines didn’t really come together, which sucks because there is good material in both and a good supporting cast between the two worlds. The book’s art style is an acquired taste, but there is a lot of cool things going on in this series. Robbi Rodriguez’s Spider-Ham remains a visual highlight of the book.
Ultimately, this arc seemed more interested in setting up the world and building relationships between characters than delivering resolution. At times, even hijacking the story from Gwen. Hopefully Latour has laid all the groundwork out for the next arc, and when the series comes back after Secret Wars, we’ll see more of Felicia, Frank, and Murdock as legitimate threats.