Spider-Women Alpha #1 Review


image“How am I going to get back to my baby?”

An alternate Earth lunch date gets deadly when Spider-Woman, Spider-Gwen, and Silk go up against S.I.L.K.! 

STORY: Dennis Hopeless, Jason Latour, Robbie Thompson

WRITER: Robbie Thompson

ARTIST: Vanesa Del Rey

COLOR ARTIST: Jordie Bellaire

LETTERER: VC’s Travis Lanham

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Idette Winecoor

COVER DESIGN: Jared Fletcher

COVER ARTIST: Yasmine Putri

VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: John Tyler Christopher, Stacy Lee, J. Scott Campbell

ASSISTANT EDITORS: Devin Lewis and Kathleen Wisneski

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Nick Lowe

STORY: Gwen goes to meet Jessica for lunch on Earth-616, only to find that Cindy is tagging along. Deciding to trick things up, the trio heads to Gwen’s Earth-65 where an enjoyable time gets ruined by the Super-Adaptoid. Once the giant robot has been trounced, Gwen discovers that her portal device is missing, causing Jessica to panic over her baby, who is back on her Earth with a baby-sitter. The device was stolen by an agent of S.I.L.K., whose boss uses it to travel to Earth-616!image

THOUGHTS: The last time I read a Spider title with “Alpha” in the title was Spider-Man: Maximum Clonage Alpha and let me assure you, Spider-Women Alpha is much better! However, you’ll have to forgive me if this review is a little slanted towards Gwen as I don’t read Jessica and Cindy’s adventures in their solo books. 

I’m unfamiliar with artist Del Rey. On first glance, her art reminded me of a cartoony Alex Maleev. The environments have a real grittiness to them, but when it comes to peoples’ faces, there is a slight anime influence. She’s not as kinetic as Robbi Rodriguez, but she has some innovative panel layouts and some cool perspectives on action. I definitely would like to see more of her work. One thing I really appreciated with her art was how she would depict Spider-Gwen after the Super-Adaptoid battle. I found it really cool how she stood on the side of the wall, perpendicular to Silk and Spider-Woman, as they conversed. It was different from the typical crouch, but still came off as a very spider thing to do. 

Silk writer Thompson handles the writing chores this issue, but worked on the overall story with Latour and Hopeless. Having Gwen working on song lyrics in her head was a nice touch and rings true, but Gwen at times is rude and insulting to Cindy, which seems out of place given that one of the themes of her solo title has been bullying. I understand her not being thrilled with Cindy given how Gwen feels that Cindy almost got everyone killed in Spider-Verse, but being flat out insulting to her face doesn’t seem like her. Also, given how Spider-Gwen #6 ended, Gwen seems a little mopey when Jessica asks how she is. It did make sense for Gwen to be uncomfortable with Jessica’s baby, what with her an only child and Cindy being more natural with the kid as she has prior little brother experience. image

Cindy may seem natural with the baby, but she seems very out of place when it comes to interacting with others, particularly Gwen. Jessica attributes it to her years of isolation in the bunker and Thompson depicts her as awkward socially, but enthusiastic and ready to go when it comes to action, a familiar Spider trait. Your heart breaks for her as she goes to play in the ball pit and then comes back to hear herself be the subject of discussion between Jessica and Gwen, her head lowered in rejection as Del Rey has her exit the panel. 

Jessica, being the most experienced, definitely takes point in her group of friends. Del Rey gives us a unique overhead view of her apartment, littered with panels from the ensuing scene. Her place is definitely scattered and I like that she acknowledges she needs some adult time. The responsibility of being a parent is eternal and not only that, she has the added responsibility of being a super-hero, too. It’s a pretty stressful position to be in, one that I’ve dealt with myself (well, maybe not the super-hero part) and having that adult downtime is so, so precious. image

For supposedly there no longer being an Earth-616, it sure gets mentioned as such a lot, with nary a Prime Earth nomenclature in sight. Okay, maybe it’s only three times, which isn’t as much as Earth-65 gets name checked, but still. We do get a few glimpses again as to what’s different between the two worlds as we see a billboard that advertises “sunny Latveria” on one Earth, and “sunny Wakanda” on the other. There is a callback to the STARKbucks and we finally get a glimpse of the Earth-65 Otto Octavius…and friend? Unfortunately, Jessica and Cindy’s excursion gets interrupted before they can visit the Earth-65 Dollar Dog. I would’ve preferred a more Renzi-esque color palette to the Earth-65 scenes, but that isn’t to say Bellaire did a bad job. 

S.I.L.K. is an organization that has been name dropped a few times in the Spider-Gwen title, but not much has been revealed. The action figure variant cover names the man stalking Gwen throughout the issue as Agent 77, but I haven’t a clue as to who could be under that mask. Maybe a Carter, in opposition to the one who is aligned with S.H.I.E.L.D.? Whoever it is, they know Gwen’s dual identity, but at this point, few in the community don’t. The head of S.I.L.K. also gets revealed, but I doubt it will shock anyone.image 

Spider-Women Alpha was a pretty entertaining issue. It had humor, high stakes at the end, and some character moments to boot. I liked Del Rey’s art, though some of her faces were a little too abstract and cartoony for me. I genuinely sympathize for the dilemma Jessica is left in at the end as that’s a pretty big stressor for a parent and I’m looking forward to next week’s chapter in Spider-Gwen!

MY GRADE: A-

JAVI’S HUH?: Did Otto’s pet…whistle?image 

(2) Comments

  1. Shaun Austin Martineau

    I honestly thought it could have been Hopeless in my quick read through. This feels very much like the Spider-Woman opening arc with the crew together, but with a lot of little character beats that worked well. The art wasn't the greatest, but it had its moments. I felt like Cindy was perhaps a little too childish in the issue, but I hope we get a lot of Gwen-Cindy bonding in this event.

  2. AGuy

    It was surprisingly there wasn't many things that I could say was bad about this issue, with exception for a bit sketchy art and Gwen being very passive-aggressive toward Silk.

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