“Sometimes, people aren’t who you remember them to be. Real people, real lives, are flawed. Sometimes they’re weak. Sometimes, they’re wrong. Even the heroes.”
This is it-Spider-Gwen vs. The Green Goblin! Will the spider/goblin cycle of violence repeat on this Earth?
WRITER: Jason Latour
ARTIST: Robbi Rodriguez
COLOR ARTIST: Rico Renzi
LETTERER: VC’s Clayton Cowles
COVER ARTIST: Robbi Rodriguez
WOMEN OF POWER VARIANT COVER ARTIST: Emanuela Lupacchino
HANDBOOK ENTRY PRODUCTION: Joe Frontirre
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Devin Lewis
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
SPECIAL THANKS TO: CK Russell
STORY: A stunned Gwen comes to, finding Cap embroiled with Harry, who is half lizard now. Harry’s glider attacks, knocking Cap out, dazing Gwen even more, and blowing off Harry’s right arm. Armed with Cap’s shield and mutagen suppressant, Gwen decides to strike with her words, not her fists. Putting her faith in Harry, like her dad has in her, Gwen convinces the Goblin/Lizard/Harry to use the serum and lets him escape. Cap regains consciousness and lets Gwen go on her way. Coming home, Gwen has a heart to heart with her dad and he reveals he has quit the police force. The former Captain Stacy burns the file of his last case that involved Peter/the Lizard and father and daughter go inside to watch Dad Cop together.
THOUGHTS: What a great way to conclude the Greater Power arc! Rodriguez is back doing art and aided as always by the colors of Renzi, everything shines.
Latour kicks us off inside Gwen’s subconscious. Renzi utilizes an even more hyper palette as various characters, including her masked alter-ego, goad Gwen to be her best. The whole team deftly sets up the tone and theme for this issue on the first page.
Regaining consciousness after the end of issue 4, a foggy-headed Gwen assesses her situation. Going back to his usual colors, Renzi renders the outside of the first few panels in a darker haze, almost like the readers themselves are waking up! Harry is full-on rage monster here, growling until he starts forming words again. When his glider sneaks up behind everyone and launches its attack, I couldn’t help but recall the classic Amazing Spider-Man #122 when the Green Goblin got impaled by his own glider after Spidey dodged an attack from behind. Harry came out a little bit better than his alternate reality dad-he only lost an arm by comparison in a panel I wasn’t expecting.
March is apparently “Wield Cap’s Shield Month” if you’re part of the Spider family! First we have Miles in Spider-Man #1-2, Gwen in this issue, and MCU Peter in the trailer for Captain America: Civil War! Pretty amazing coincidence that they all wound up within a week or two! Corporate synergy at its finest!
Harry’s body is constantly being depicted in different stages by Rodriguez throughout the issue, particularly as his new arm begins to bubble and shape. The shading employed as his body mutates really highlights the art, too.
What follows next is one of my favorite Spidey/Goblin fights. However, instead of the usual acrobatics, Gwen unmasks like she’s in the end of a Spider-Man movie and just talks to Harry. Being a more rational version of the Goblin, er Lizard, Harry is actually able to listen to his friend as her words cut through to him. EVERYTHING for Gwen really seems to have built to this moment, her talks with May, her dad, and all the teenage angst and guilt she has been going through. These past few issues of her examining herself and her role in Peter’s death have culminated in this moment and she embraces all of it to help her friend, to offer the trust she has been given by others. There have been moments of growth and acceptance for her before, but this really feels like the crowning moment for her character. Maybe it’s because she did lift the enchanted shield, imbued with the power of ” ‘Mericuh”! I cracked a smile with Gwen’s Team America reference.
This is a whole different Spidey-Gobby dynamic than a long time reader will be used to. Latour’s dialogue was inspired throughout the entire scene as Gwen gave her speech. ” ‘Spider-Woman vs. the Green Goblin’ — is that what we REALLY want our future to be?” is a line that carries all the weight of every Spidey-Goblin fight that preceded it. In my mind an image from The Spectacular Spider-Man #200 flashed by, of Peter riding in an ambulance as Harry in Goblin gear lay dying on a gurney. I love that Gwen is trying to prevent a similar moment by offering the trust and forgiveness she has received from others. 616 Peter had been very empathetic with Norman in the Lee days, but Norman never could’ve had a moment like this, his mind wasn’t able to process his Goblin half thanks to the formula he had created. Harry doesn’t have that (that we know of), just Lizard serum and hopefully he’ll be able to keep the beast at bay. Gwen and Harry’s friendship really shines through as they embrace amidst the rubble.
Gwen and Cap get to have a heart to heart once Harry escapes with Cap offering reassurance and fortifying the lessons Gwen has been learning since donning the webs. Cap and Gwen have arrived at a place of mutual understanding which has to feel great for Gwen, given what big a fan of Cap her dad is. Another Spider-Title coincidence this week-Cap also has to stop nervous cops from taking down this particular Spider.
Gwen returns home to find her dad hanging out outside, enjoying a liquid repast. I love this conversation as much as the one Gwen had with Harry. Latour shows us the consequences of last issue as George puts his faith in his daughter, letting her know she has his full faith and support. As good as this is for their relationship, he is taking himself out of the loop and away from any sources that could help them later as Captain Castle most assuredly continues his hunt for Spider-Woman. Presumably, Jean will help him out as this plot continues to develop. In the meantime, father and daughter are finally getting some quality time without the troubles from the last few issues interfering.
It’s really refreshing to see them share some playful banter, too, even if Gwen is getting “brain pictures” in her head of her dad with Cap. It’s great to see that they enjoy each other’s company and the love really comes across through the art and script. Gwen and her dad seemed tight back in the 616 and I’m glad to see that continue over on Earth-65. Is George retiring taking him on a course closer to that of his 616 counterpart? This reviewer certainly hopes not. I feel it’s really important that Miles and Gwen keep a parental figure, or figures, around. It gives them a different dynamic than Peter had with the doting, but seemingly clueless Aunt May and opens up different avenues for the storytelling from those we’ve seen before.
Next ish is another crossover and while I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, I know we’ll be in good hands for the Spider-Gwen chapter. Everyone hit it out of the park and it felt like a lot of threads came together, giving a very real sense of closure for this arc. I can’t wait to see what Latour, Rodriguez and Co. have lined up for us next!
MY GRADE: A+
JAVI’S HUH?: Harry gets to keep his arm after injecting the mutagen suppressant. However, Dr. Connors of Earth-616 always loses his arm when he returns to normal. Is that because that is his baseline and Harry lost the limb after he took the lizard formula or are they simply different compounds?