“I’d give ANYTHING to regain the people I’ve lost. In ANY universe.”
Marooned on Earth-65, the Spider-Women split up as they go after their own objectives. Oh, and the Bodega Bandit is back in business.
WRITER: Jason Latour
COLOR ARTIST: Rico Renzi
LETTERER: Clayton Cowles
RECAP PAGE ART: Stacey Lee
RECAP PAGE DESIGN: Idette Winecoor
COVER ARTIST: Yasmine Putri
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Robbi Rodriguez, J. Scott Campbell and Nei Ruffino, John Tyler Christopher
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Devin Lewis and Kathleen Wisneski
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
STORY: Stranded on a world not their own, Spider-Woman Jessica Drew and Silk Cindy Moon team up with Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy to find a way home, until Cindy decides to find her family on this Earth instead. After brief interludes with the Bodega Bandit and The Mary Janes, Jessica strikes off on her own to find someone who can help, eventually coming across a young Reed Richards. Gwen returns to Jessica’s side, just in time to help her fight off an ambush. Victorious, the trio return to Gwen’s house to work on a dimensional hopping solution. Once there, Cindy calls them to warn the team of what she’s discovered.
THOUGHTS: My soul was immediately crushed when I opened this comic and saw that Robbi Rodriguez didn’t provide the interior art. He did one of the variants, but judging by the solicits, he’s not back till #9. Having not mentally prepared for this eventuality, I wasn’t ready to embrace this art style as readily as I did the last fill-in issue, or the art on Spider-Women Alpha #1.
Yasmine Putri provides the art for the regular cover, continuing the work she did on the first chapter. It’s a cool image of The Mary Janes jamming out with the Spider-Women. Campbell provides another piece of his connecting cover, and Christopher offers up a fun action figure variant featuring Spider-Gwen in her aqua gear, complete with push button swimming action! In case that’s not enough, there’s a Civil War variant, too.
Rodriguez may not be present for this outing, but Latour and Renzi are, providing their trademark style. I mentioned in my review for Spider-Women Alpha #1 how I wished it had Renzi providing the colors for the bits on Earth-65 and whilst my wish comes true this issue, it wasn’t quite to the desired effect. Renzi doesn’t seem to change anything palette wise, but it just doesn’t mesh the same way it did over the art provided by Rodriguez or Visions. Maybe I’ll feel differently next issue when Bengal returns, but for this installment, it didn’t gel in the way I was expecting it to.
Latour provides his usual embellishments of corn dog and pop culture references, but also throws in a few more differences between Earths 65 and 616. On Earth-65 Madripoor is a prime luxurious destination spot, there are no Avengers, Howard T. Duck is President (with trademark cigar), She-Hulk wrestles, Reed Richards is a kid, and Franklin Storm has a “fantastic” family tv show, complete with H.E.R.B.I.E. the Robot.
In the first chapter, I really thought it was cool how Gwen would stand on the side of the wall normally, not crouched in a Spider pose, and Bengal continues that tradition here in a handful of panels with a few different perspectives that highlight the difference between Cindy and Gwen above and Jessica sitting below. Bengal definitely has some strong compositions, but an even more manga/cartoony style than Del Rey. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but as I mentioned above, I wasn’t expecting it. Of the two fill-in artists we’ve had, Visions’ work definitely blends more into the aesthetic Rodriguez has established more than Bengal. Like all things art, your mileage may vary.
Gwen’s attitude toward Cindy is also a carry over, providing friction on this makeshift team. Being a bit of an outsider herself, I’d really like to see Gwen be kinder. After the last story dealing with her, Harry, and Peter being a band of social misfits, I would’ve thought she learned her lesson, but apparently her anger at Cindy over the events of Spider-Verse is overriding that. It feels like a small step back after how she handled the conflict with Harry.
The poor Bodega Bandit makes his return and as usual, can’t catch a break. Instead of arresting him, Jessica just zaps him on his way. You know you’re at the bottom of the villain pool when the heroes don’t even care to bring you in.
Someone spies on Jessica and Gwen as Gwen changes into her civvies. Jessica feels it, but Gwen blows it off, stating her Spider-Sense would warn her. Since it doesn’t, is the watcher someone she knows, someone who won’t pose a danger, or have they found a way to neutralize her Spider-Sense? Maybe she’s losing her powers..?
Gwen brings Jessica over to the shattered mess that is her living space with The Mary Janes and in that moment, she realizes she hasn’t done much living lately. If memory serves, her last downtime with the band was the camping trip that Harry interrupted several issues ago. Seeing Gwen’s sadness at the realization, Jessica pulls away, going off to figure her problem out on her own. To Gwen’s credit, she quickly makes the decision to stick with Jessica as she is her family, too. It’s when she comes to Jessica’s aid at the playground where she professes her dedication to Jessica and Cindy that we might finally be seeing a turnaround on her feelings toward Silk.
How cool is it that the Earth-65 Reed Richards is a kid, but still has the grey temples? Even better, he was completely unphased by Jessica’s plea to help her dimension hop, having met people like her since before he could tie his shoes. However young he is, he’s learned that you NEVER trust a Tony Stark, an ironic sentiment given how the Reed of Earth-616 sided with Iron Man during the first Civil War.
George takes the arrival of Jessica and Reed well in stride as he offers Jessica a drink outside as Reed tinkers with Legos to conceptualize what he’s going to invent. Latour provides a brief insight into his character as he instructs Jessica to call him George, but he continues to address her as Ms. Drew. I really enjoyed this scene as they got to reflect on the fears and doubts that can plague a parent when it comes to the future of their children. George is also big enough to admit when he’s made a mistake and wise enough to realize he raised Gwen right.
The issue ends with the reveal of who is underneath Agent 77’s ski mask and it fell completely flat for me. Without saying his name aloud, I have no idea who this guy is. A relative or friend of Cindy’s? It failed to impart a sense of shock or dread as seeing his unmasked face had no recognition value, though Cindy feels they should be worried. Guess we’ll find out soon enough.
The last page is a profile on Jessica Drew with art by Robbi Rodriguez, giving an all too brief glimpse of how he would portray her. I really felt like I was missing out. Latour does a phenomenal job trying to condense and clarify her back story in his typical humorous, whimsical way, even mentioning the whole Prime Earth/Earth-616 debacle.
Being on a separate world doesn’t preclude this title from being swept up into a multi-title crossover, but so far it’s been an enjoyable romp seeing the interactions and differences noted by our three leads. Knowing that we have limited time with Rodriguez makes me want to get to the next arc quickly though, as interesting as Spider-Women is shaping up to be. The dialogue by Latour and colors by Renzi brings the familiarity, but the addition of Bengal on pencils doesn’t quite mesh with what the team has established and those looking for a Rodriguez imitator may be disappointed, as talented as he is.
MY GRADE: B+
JAVI’S HUH?: They still print phone books on Earth-65? Feels like I haven’t seen one in forever!