An Examination of Marvel Now’s Spider-Female Initiative

The Girls


During the Marvel Now initiative, we saw the amount of Spider-Men ongoing titles (2099, Ultimate, and ASM) matched with Spider-Female titles (Spider-Woman, Silk, and Spider-Gwen.) Using Dan Slott’s Spider-Verse as a launching board, the opening arc of Spider-Woman set the board for Jessica Drew, Cindy Moon, and an alternate universe Gwen Stacy to take the stage in their own titles. With all three books continuing on into All New All Different Marvel, and Web Warriors giving Gwen a 2nd title alongside Anya Corazon and Mayday Parker, I thought it would be interesting to see how these characters fared in this first wave, starting with the Spider-Verse event and concluding with the Secret Wars event.






web warriors 2Jessica Drew: Amazing Spider-Man Volume 3: #9-15, Avengers Volume 5: #38-40, #42-44, New Avengers Volume 3: #26, #28, #30, #32, Captain America and the Mighty Avengers: #8-9, Spider-Woman Volume 5: #1-10, Secret Wars #1, Howard the Duck Volume 5: #5, Hawkeye #22, Thor Volume 4: #2, #4, #8. (35 issues)

Gwen Stacey (Earth 65): Edge of Spider-Verse #2, Amazing Spider-Man Volume 3: #9-15, Spider-Verse Volume 1: #1, Spider-Verse Team-Up #1-2, Spider-Woman Volume 5: #1-4, Spider-Gwen Volume 1: #1-5, Spider-Verse Volume 2: #1-5. (25 appearances)

Cindy Moon: Amazing Spider-Man Volume 3: #9-15, Spider-Woman Volume 5: #1-4, Howard the Duck Volume 5: #5, Silk #1-7 (19 appearances)

Anya Corazon: Amazing Spider-Man Volume 3: #9-15, Spider-Woman Volume 5: #1, #4, Spider-Verse Volume 2: #1-5, Spider-Verse Team-Up #3 (15 appearances)

Mayday Parker: Amazing Spider-Man Volume 3: #9-15, Spider-Verse Volume 1: #1, Spider-Verse Team-Up #3, Spider-Island Volume 2: #1-5 (14 appearances)



SW volume 2Clearly the weakest character of the lot is Anya Corazon, aka Spider-Girl. In her fifteen appearances, the most notable development she went through was gaining a mentor in the form of Billy Braddock, aka Spider-UK. And even though their partnership would lead to the formation of the Web Warriors, a group of Spiders dedicated to protecting the Web of Destiny, she was largely a background player during the formation. Hopefully as her team of Web Warriors travel through dimensions, aiding worlds who lost their Spiders during the Spider-Verse event, she’ll step up and become a more developed character.

Next up, would be Mayday Parker. Clocking in at 14 appearances total, Mayday went through a devastating loss when her father was killed. She was drawn into the Spider-Verse event in an attempt to save her little brother, Benjy, who turned out to be the fabled Scion, a very important Spider that the Inheritors had to sacrifice. The loss of her father became the crux of all of her appearances, as she struggled to remain true to herself and her father’s memory. With the aid of the Spider-Family and her own friends and family back home, she managed to embrace the legacy of her father while also doing things in her own way. Fourteen issues, one big change.

Next up is the breakout star of Spider-Verse, Spider-Gwen. Coming from a universe where Gwen was bitten instead of Peter and Peter died after turning himself into the Lizard, Gwen was very much a rookie in the fight against the Inheritors. But she emerged alongside the other victors and seemed ready to handle things when she returned home. However, knowing how much Peter Parker changed the world got inside Gwen’s head and made her doubt her confidence to do anything. She lost herself in the Spider-Woman persona, avoiding her father and bandmates as she tries to live up to Peter’s legacy. And while she ran, her world continued to expand around her, with new takes on characters like The Vulture, The Rhino, Felicia Hardy, Frank Castle, and Matt Murdock. And ultimately, it was a heartfelt exchange with May and Ben Parker that brought Gwen back out from under the Spider-Mask. The way Spider-Gwen Volume One handles her change, with more depth and style, is why I place Gwen’s evolution over Mayday’s. I find her to be a funnier, more rounded character, a symbol of modern day youth, but she also had a lot more space to grow than Mayday.Mayday

When it came to the most character evolution, I was really torn between the next two, but I’m going to give Silver to Jessica Drew. After the events of Spider-Verse, Jessica realized her life had been insane for far too long. Trying to escape from alternate dimensions and space travel, she quit the Avengers and decided to embark on her own. And for a little while, she seemed kind of aimless, which is okay for someone like Gwen, a young adult just new to the superhero game, but not a woman whose been doing this as long as Jess. But Jessica came back with a vengeance, a new costume, and some sidekicks to boot; Ben Urich and Roger Gocking, aka Porcupine. Jessica’s series wasn’t so much about an evolution of character as it was about becoming comfortable with the person you are. And outside of her series, she was busy as well, helping her ex, Hawkeye, settle his affairs against the Russian Mafia, and the Odinson discover the identity of the new Thor. But as much as she tried to escape her past as an Avenger, it caught up to her and Natasha Romanov roped her into joining Sunspot’s Avengers, a group dedicated to reminding the feuding Avengers what the Avengers should stand for. She died during the final Incursion of Earth 616 and Earth 1610 (Ultimate), trying to save as many people as she could. Jessica is easily the strongest hero of the Spider-Females as it stands right now.

But it is Cindy Moon who went through the greatest transformation. I don’t know of anyone who enjoyed Cindy Moon, pheromone sex toy, when she appeared in Dan Slott’s ASM relaunch. Not even a tie in to Ezekiel and my favorite era of ASM could make me care, but that didn’t stop Marvel from pushing her. Practically the co-star of Spider-Woman when it launched, Cindy was an overeager rookie, doing more harm than good, but always with the best intentions. And then once her own series started, we started to see a more rounded Cindy Moon develop. We saw the toll the years in the bunker took on her, and we saw her struggle to find her own identity in the superhero world. Driving Cindy was her quest to find her family, who disappeared shortly after she did. And while Cindy started by doing things on her own, she eventually learned to open up and trust others like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, J Jonah Jameson, and even her one time villain, Dragon-Man. She started to bring people in, building powerful connections with them, much like a Marvel Universe version of Dick Grayson. And as her final day loomed and she fought one last time to find her family, we saw a strong hero drawn to helping others around her. As you saw her fight the chaos of the final Incursion and reunite with her brother, you saw just how far this character had gone since her first appearance.

I’m now going to shift focus to the creative teams working on the characters. I’ll primarily be focusing on the people who handled the main titles of these characters: (Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, Silk, Spider-Verse Volume 2, Spider-Island Volume 2)


Sinister SilkOnce again, Anya takes last place here. I think Mike Costa’s Spider-Verse miniseries was miles better than his Scarlet Spiders mini-series, but he still is pretty heavy handed with the exposition. Not only that, but he put most of his focus on Gwen and made Anya probably the most ignored character in the mini. Poor Anya, hopefully she won’t have to fight Mayday for the spotlight as well.

I’m going to give fourth place to Gwen. Something none of the Spider-Female titles were lacking in was humor, and Gwen got a lot of good lines in Spider-Verse and Spider-Gwen. But again, Mike Costa’s exposition heavy hand hurts her and Jason Latour’s writing while at times brilliant, could also be unfocused and we spent far too much treading water. Poor pacing from Latour hurts Gwen most of all. The conclusion to the Most Wanted arc really felt like it happened in Issue Four, with Felicia Hardy basically stealing the book for the actual conclusion.

Third place is Robbie Thompson, a newcomer to comics. He took on the Herculean task of trying to make Silk an interesting character and I think he did that and much more. He did have some ups and downs though, with the humor not always sticking and a lot of convenient plot devices just happening to play out. But he should also be commended for making J Jonah Jameson a great character again and making several of the issues stand on their own, while also building an ongoing story line. Silk felt very much like a season of TV, which I quite enjoyed.

Taking silver is the combined team of Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz. They’ve been writing Mayday for over a decade now and have a really solid handle on her. With easily the smallest page count (her backups in Spider-Island clocking in at around a single full issue and then her half an issue in Spider-Verse team up), they did a lot of work with Mayday in a short amount of time. And once they got going, they delivered a fun tale that evolved the character, while also checking in with multiple aspects of the world around her. It’s a shame they won’t be handling her further adventures in Web Warriors, but I’m sure she’ll be under their pen again before long.

And in the first place, Dennis Hopeless over on Spider-Woman. He was the first to make Cindy an interesting character, even if Jessica had to stand in her shadow for a couple issues. But once Spider-Verse was over, Jessica Drew came to life under Hopeless’s pen. She was smart, funny, and slowly coming to terms with the type of person/hero she is. Hopeless also made her supporting cast come to life, while also learning from Spider-Verse so that Jessica didn’t get lost again. And he had fun playing with tropes and expectations, which makes me very excited to see what he does with a pregnant Jessica.

SW volume 3Art:

Man, things are not working out for Anya right now, are they? She once again takes last place, this time in part for Andre Araujo’s art. I felt like Araujo was in over his head on the Spider-Verse miniseries, but I do have to commend him for his efforts. I feel like he came at it with everything he had and his colorist Rochelle Rosenberg tried her best to help him. Unfortunately, Rosenberg’s colors were best when the scenes occurred outdoors and most of the series took place inside. But the art team delivered strong facial expressions and clarity in the action scenes, traits even the greats can struggle with.

Next up is Mayday, who was drawn by Sal Buscema in the Spider-Island backups. There’s nothing wrong with Buscema’s style, it’s got a very classic feel to it, but it also felt stilted to me. Still, he delivers some great classic Spider-Man poses in his work. Colorist Andrew Crossley delivers some strong if unremarkable work as well, but this artwork feels like part of an era of style that has come and gone. Their art probably ranks higher than the next three for most of the Crawlspace, especially since two are a more distinctive style that draws a lot of hate.

Coming in at third is Spider-Gwen. I honestly couldn’t tell you which of the top three artists working on the Spider-Female books I like the most, so it comes down to guest artists and Gwen has Araujo penning five issues focused on her, so she falls to third. In her ongoing title, Robbi Rodriguez and colorist Rico Renzi deliver an art style that is unlike any other Marvel is putting out there. Robbi draws with a punk sensibility and Renzi fills the pages with vibrant colors. Once again I would like to point out, Spider-Ham is the character Robbi Rodriguez was  born to draw and I hope we see Ham return to the pages of Spider-Gwen.

Second place goes to Silk. I think Stacey Lee’s art might actually edge out the Rodriguezs as my favorite, but sadly, Silk’s guest artists were not up to snuff. Tana Ford handles the Last Days issue of Silk’s adventures and while she delivers some strong art, she does come off as a poor man’s Stacey Lee. However, Annapaola Martello was a huge misstep for the series. Her art style would have been much better suited for a fight issue, but most of her issue is talking and her faces unnerve me. Ian Herring deserves heaps of praise for how he maintains a strong color continuity during guest issues and his colors work excellently with main artist, Stacey Lee. Lee uses a very minimalist anime based style that is very kinetic and she delivers a lot of great emotion with her facial expressions, even when a face is mostly concealed behind a mask.

Spider-Woman snags first place again, and that’s even with Greg Land doing the first three issues. I’ve never been a huge hater or fan of Land’s work, so the book starts with a fairly neutral art grade. But it kicks into high gear when the main artist, Javier Rodriguez joins on issue five. His redesign of Jessica’s costume is one of my favorite modern superhero redesigns and he does most of his own colors, so I’m giving him most of the credit for how the world of Spider-Woman just comes to life. The mundane looks beautiful and he’s able to switch from serene to terrifying spectacularly well. In some of the darker scene, his inker Alvero Lopez deserves a lot of credit, as he’s able to intensify the mood of the art. For the Last Days issue, Spider-Woman and Hopeless are joined by Natacha Bustos, who was actually Rodriguez’s choice for guest artist. She delivers a style very similar to his, and while not as polished, it doesn’t hurt the series much, unlike Silk’s guest artists.

Overall Ranking:

So as it stands, Jessica Drew seems to be the strongest contender among the Spider-Female stars, with Silk hot on her heels. Gwen and Mayday seem to be on fairly equal footing, while Anya trails behind by quite a bit. It’ll be interesting to watch how these five fare going forward and if any other Spider-Females will join their ranks and get their own titles. Maybe Black Cat getting her own title would be a start to fixing the mistakes done to her character or Mayday could get another on-going, or perhaps we could see a gender bent Alpha, or Black Widow gain spider powers. Honestly, I could see the latter two happening over Mayday getting another on-going. 

Closing Statement:

Spider-Women_1_Yasmine_Putri_CoverBy the end of each volume/series, each character earned the chance to continue their adventures in their on-going series. The fact that none of these books were cancelled is probably my favorite thing about the All New All Different Marvel movement and I hope their good fortunes continue.

The event I’m looking forward to most next year is definitely the Spider-Women event, where Jessica and Cindy re-team with Gwen, but in her universe this time. This is the team of women that kicked off the current female push (Ms. Marvel doesn’t exist) and it’ll be great to see them all back in action together again.

Also, going forward, I’ll continue to review these titles, plus Web Warriors, and the new symbiote titles (Venom: Space Knight, Guardians, and Carnage) so I’ll be doing monthly reviews, that will be much shorter than my regulars, but will feature several reviews at one time. At the end of each arc, I will also do a review of the whole arc, something people seemed to enjoy for the Spider-Verse miniseries review. Every now and then, I may do a solo issue review if it’s something amazing or spectacularly bad. You can still get single issue Spider-Gwen reviews from the talented Javi Trujillo and if anyone wants to single issue review these titles, just shoot Brad a message. 

(13) Comments

  1. Al

    According to Bagley and JRJR, most modern artists are thrown when they aren’t given full scripts. And at the end of the day the art on the page is the art on the page. I never ever at any point said that I dislike the aesphetic style of modern artists, I was saying it’s not fair to criticise the older style as dated when it works for the technical storytelling requirements and at the same time criticisng art for not conforming to modern aesphetic standards isn’t very logical because it presumes modern standards to be better when Rob Liefeld being the definitve aesphetic style of the 1990s proved that wasn’t the case. My only back up for this is a factual tone...and the fact that I can pull out scans of modern and older comics to compare the styles, layouts, the flow of the narrative, the choreography of the action scenes and the pacing. But your’s JUST my tone and JUST my opinion. *rolls eyes* You are coming at this as if there is no technical standard whatsoever when there is and Frenz and Buscema hit closer to that standard tan many modern artists. Art is not simply subjective but has a CRAFT to it. People can enjoy whatever art they like but what works best from a technical point of view can be genuinely examined. You might love the Avengers more than the Godfather but as a piece of cinematic storytelling the Godfather is unanimously better. Similarly Frenz as a sequential storytelling artist is technically better at his job than say McFarlane was, or Bachalo is, or yes than Rodriguez is even though I LIKE his aesphetic.

  2. xonathan

    I think you guys have a point. In the 80's comic book art was a standard, with clean lines and great storytelling. You didn't even have to read the narration to know what was happening. Now there is no standard, and some modern comic book artists are good storytellers, others rely on the script, other are just bad. Now, in modern times, it's a mater of opinion on who you like as an artist.

  3. Nick MB

    @9 I feel like you're blaming the artist for a lot that's actually in the writing. Especially now that most comics are written full-script, artists don't control how much takes place on a page. And more broadly, not that there aren't artists who focus on style to the detriment of storytelling (Chris Bachalo often falls into this), but I feel like, again, you're going from "I dislike the storytelling styles of modern comics" to "storytelling in modern comics sucks", and your only back-up for this is to state your opinion in a factual tone. Just because you find the storytelling of Frenz and Buscema more pleasing doesn't make it the unanimous truth.

  4. Al

    @#7-8: I’m not saying it’s an across the board thing by any means. Of course there are exceptions as there were in the 1990s. Liefeld WAS the industry style in the 1990s but Mark Bagley on ASM wasn’t conforming to that, nor was Ron Frenz in Thunderstrike. And, for the record my comments didn’t have anything to do with writer/artist teamwork so much as the artwork itself. Yes it is extreme, but it doesn’t make it untrue. From a technical art POV a lot of modern art is very much lacking compared to work from the 60s-80s and even some stuff from the 1990s. It isn’t to say the aesphetic of modern art is bad but there is making it look good and then there is having it move and flow and tell the actual story. I mean nobody today draws aesphetically like Romita Senior. But we would not call his aesphetic dated either. But JRSR didn’t simply draw things which looked nice he drew things which looked nice whilst telling the story. The hits from his Spider-Man punches were felt on the page itself. Each page and panel flowed organically from one to the other allowing the eye to follow and not have to fill in the blanks. Frenz and Buscema go a step further and organized the panels in such a way that a LOT happens on a single page but it isn’t cluttered. THAT is from a technical artistic POV masterful. If most modern artists are not doing that, particularly in super hero stories where there is an innate emphasis upon action, then yes the art is lesser for it. It isn’t that 80s art is just what it is or that it isn’t good because it isn’t the way modern art is. That way of doing art and using it for the story in innately better for the nature of this genre and medium. Because the entire point is for panels to flow together, to show the mechanics of how point A gets to point B. So no. It isn’t hard to back up at all frankly. It isn’t simply about telling the story, it’s about how well you tell the story. My point is that that older style of doing that was BETTER than what most people do now. Aesphetic is almost entirely subjective, so long as who is who and what is happening is clear and it jives with the tone of the series/story then it’s fine. But aesphetic isn’t the be all and end all of comic book art whatsoever. It’s how you USE that art and that aesphetic which is important. It isn’t as simple as throwing up one image from Stacey Lee, Frenz and Rodriguez and saying who’s better. The layouts, the flow, the changing expressions, the pacing of the art that’s what I’m mostly criticising

  5. Nick MB

    @6 The idea that modern comic art is "lesser" is pretty extreme. If you like 80s superhero art then more power to you, but that doesn't mean modern artists suck. Iron Patriot already did the example-listing, but the idea that modern art is bad "from a technical perspective" seems hard to back up. Even just the ongoing female Spider-Spinoffs have three artists who tell a story and produce professional-looking images doing it. It may not appeal to everyone in the world, but most art doesn't. Some people may think Robbi Rodriguez's art is too spikey or Stacey Lee's is too cartoony or Ron Frenz is too retro and that's all fair enough, they can look at whatever art pleases them. Saying it "doesn't fulfil the requirements" of their basic job seems a bit much. (I quite like all three, for what it's worth, although Lee on Silk is probably my favourite.)

  6. Iron Patriot

    @Al - I dunno if I can agree with your comments on comic artwork and storytelling. Look at the art team on Waid's Daredevil, for example. Visually stunning, especially when Chris Samnee steps up as the full-time artist, but is sequentially excellent. He's even credited as co-storyteller, rather than just artist. Then there's Fraction's Hawkeye. Aja, Wu and Francavilla(among others) are all just as essential to the book at the writer. Maybe sometime in the 00s, artists were a little more interchangeable as a response to the artist-driven 90s, but lately there's been a resurgence in strong teamwork.

  7. Al

    “However, knowing how much Peter Parker changed the world got inside Gwen’s head and made her doubt her confidence to do anything. She lost herself in the Spider-Woman persona, avoiding her father and bandmates as she tries to live up to Peter’s legacy. “ Er...I don’t think that happened. She didn’t move away from her friends because of Peter. I’m sorry, but I cannot agree with your assessment of Gwen. Gwen has NOT developed because she HASN’T been defined. Her personality is a rip-off of Peter’s and we’ve yet to truly get to know who she is between her truly baffling life decisions and her eternal guilt complex. She’s only been seen in extenuating circumstances, never at rest. Look at Peter Parker in the Ditko run. THAT showed you who he was and gave you a clear and defined personality for him. Who is Gwen Stacy beyond someone with a lot of guilt and bad slang? She’s mindbogglingly thin and underdeveloped for a new character with a solo book. Miguel O’Hara, Ultimate Peter Parker, Miles Morales, Mayday Parker. This many issues into their respective series gave us a VERY strong impression of who they all were and what their personalities were most of the time. So I cannot agree that Gwen has been handled well, nor developed well, nor handled better than Mayday in the context of everything since Spider-Verse. Mayday was going through a crisis too, but she had the benefit of 150 issues telling us who she was, thus her moving on and changing meant something. Spider-Gwen is too new to be moving on and changing significantly because we haven’t firmly established WHO she is and what her status quo is yet. It’s like...God, this is such a weird analogy. It’s like the first season of Power Rangers. They had a formula, they had time to let you get used to that and the (poorly written/acted) characters. And when you got used to that status quo and got your bearings THEN they changed the game and introduced the megacrisis of the evil green Power Ranger. Spider-Gwen hit the ground running and hasn’t had enough early epeisodes for these big developments to matter. We truly need to just see her in action fighting crooks and super villains for awhile and figuring out what her relationships with everyone are before we move those relationships into a new direction. I mean she barely talked to her bandmates in volume 1 and the band drama was one of the biggest subplots of the whole series! At the same time, I question how Gwen is funnier when her quips are basically just poorly spelled slang and a watered down ripping off of Peter Parker. Not very original really when you think about it. Surely if Gwen Stacy is a Spider-Hero she should have her own style of humour or maybe no humour of that kind at all since why SHOULD every Spider-Hero have that? Miguel doesn’t, he just has scathing sarcasm at his nicest and at other times he just calls people scumbags and morons. Mayday has Peter’s humour but the nature of the character justifies that. The point is she is his daughter. At the same time its a bit unfair to say Gwen has more room to grow than Mayday when Gwen has less than 2 years worth of material when Mayday has had 150 issues. Inevitably that’s true but does room to grow mean it’s better? Surely having more substance to you that allows you build off of something is better for future growth? In this regard. I mean who had more genuine potential? 1985 Peter Parker or one of the New Universe characters created around that time? Peter because there was more to him. By a similar token, Mayday has the entire marvel universe from 1961-1998 as her backstory, and a wide variety of original supporting characters and villains to play with, as well as all the old ones from Spider-Man lore. She isn’t simply doing alternate takes upon pre-established characters and then doing those takes badly. Spider-Gwen’s Vulture for example fundamentally missed the point of the character as did her version of Black Cat. I mean who has more creative and dramatic potential when you really get right down to it? A French singer version of Black Cat parodying Lady Gaga who hates evil Daredevil, or seeing the 616 Black Cat we’ve known and loved except as an older woman who’s coping with maturity she didn’t have when we knew her? I think the answer is pretty obvious. This extends to Mayday herself. Mayday is 16. We all know how much growing Peter did from that age onwards so she has PLENTY of room to develop just like her Dad did. But she’d be doing it off the base of an already defined and developed character and personality. She actually has MORE potential because you have something very concrete to build upon as opposed to something not yet properly defined like Spider-Gwen. And as for more well rounded...again this is somewhat unfair because if you take Mayday in isolation of Spider-Verse you aren’t REALLY getting a good sense of who that character actually is. It’s like examining Peter Parker only in the context of Superior Spider-Man. Mayday was and is in fact genuinely more well rounded than Spider-Gwen as her older series showcases. In fact she was more well rounded in her debut than Gen was in EOSV #2. As for a symbol of modern day youth, maybe superficially that’s Gwen, but...why do you get points for being a symbol of modern day youth one way or another? Silk isn’t a representation of a modern day youth. At best she represents stunted late 1990s youth and yet the consensus on this site seems to be that her book has a lot more substance than Gwen’s. Substance should be what counts when push comes to shove so whilst Mayday isn’t using her iphone all the time, using modern slang or being drawn with an artstyle reflective of current music trends, that doesn’t matter when she ultimately has much more personality, history and definition to her than Spider-Gwen currently does. And really the same is true of Kamala Khan compared to Spider-Gwen but I think Kamala is and even BETTER representation of modern youth than Gwen anyway. In regards to Costa I disagree that Spider-Verse was better than Scarlet Spiders by a loooooooooooong shot. Scarlet Spiders was a fun infiltration story climaxing in a brilliant fight and sacrifice. Spider-Verse was more or less a time killer until Web Warriors started. As for his heavy handed expsotion, dude, he’s deliberately writing this in the style of the 1990s because he’s handling 1990s characters and status quos. Ben Reilly, Kaine and the clones are innately 1990s. Spider-Verse not only had symbiotes but it had Norman Osborn as the in charage philanthropist. He wasn’t the mayor but this was more or less who Norman was in 1997-1998 when he owned the Bugle. Peter in Spider-Verse faked hsi death because Ben Reilly died and he was depowered with a wife and child. This was a play off of the Final Adventure mini-series which again was 1996. So he’s writing 1990s style for a 1990s influenced book. Which is as justified as Bendis writing in Bendispeak for the Ultimate universe when no one else in Marvel wrote that way. Not all modern comics need to be written in a modern way. If you are an AU book it’s your sandbox and you get to define yourself however you please. Also I felt Costa actually wrote Gwen waaaaaaaaay better than Latour. As for Anya fighting Mayday for the spotlight...I dunno man. That’s kind of be her just desserts since she was the reason Mayday’s title got canned in 2010. I’d give DeFalco and Thompson the top spots. DeFalco because DeFalco is a fucking master and Thompson because he silk from shit (pun intended). And a correction, Ron Frenz AND Sal Buscema drew Mayday but it was Frenz doing most of it with Buscema finishing it off. It wasn’t him doing it by himself. As for feeling stilted...dude...duuuuuuuude...look at the action scenes. Look at how kinetic they are. Look at how you are seeing the motions of how they get from point A to point B. That by definition isn’t stilted because you are seeing HOW they move from one image to the next. I agree though the art is from a bygone age. But as a criticism...that presumes the art we have now is better than what we had before and...that isn’t the case. Comic book art needs to have a strong sense of anatomy and movement. Frenz does this better than most modern artists who do just draw beautiful pi up after beautiful pinup. I mean it is from a bygone age but that bygone age was a damn good age. You could throw the same comment out in the 1990s when that art didn’t fit with the Liefeld inspired art of the day that everyone believed to be good when it wasn’t. Same thing here. Modern art is MUCh better than Liefeld for sure but does it actually fulfil the requirements of what a comic book superhero action story needs as well as Frenz and other 1980s artists? Well from a technical perspective, no most modern art absolutely does not. So it isn’t truly a valid criticism to say it doesn’t conform to modern standards if those modern standards are themselves lesser.

  8. Jack

    Anya seems like an "affirmative-action hire" -- they intentionally created a generically Hispanic female superhero, and in that way they ticked off ethnic and demographic boxes. But they failed (and still fail) to give her a distinctive personality, purpose, or approach. She pales into being a place-holder compared to the other three.

  9. Iron Patriot

    @ Symbiotic arachnid - Radioactive Spider-Gwen is what'll be appearing on the covers, but previews and listings will have it as Spider-Gwen to keep it easier to find, according to Jason Latour. Bit of a shame really, as that is a pretty cool adjective. (And unfortunately, fodder for snarky commentary once fandom turns on this character) This was a really good article. Not the first topic that would've come to mind for me, but a no-brainer now that you've published this. Mayday's confusing, because I'm not sure whether this is the character that DeFalco-Frenz(Along with Olliffe and Buscema) have defined for the past 17 years. Spider-Verse implied that this was an alternate version. I want to like Anya, but I don't have much of a sense of her character quite yet. I might have to read her solo series. (Although now that I think about it, she did appear in the Ms. Marvel series from the mid-2000s.) I agree with the assessment that Jessica's been the best served so far. That said, I haven't read much of Silk yet. What I have seen looks interesting though.

  10. Enigma_2099

    ... the Supergirl premiere was actually okay. Now if they can just lay off all the Kal-el referencing.

  11. Symbiotic arachnid

    Interesting analysis! It's always good to see more female representation in comics. BTW, a little off-topic, i've seen some people refer to Gwen's new series as "Radioactive Spider-Gwen", however the Marvel wikia and solicitations still name it "Spider-Gwen (Vol 2)". Did they change the title or something?

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