An event-review of the Spider-Women event is coming, which will also feature commentary from Javi Trujillo, but before that let us look ahead into Jessica’s status quo as Spider-Woman/single mother. This issue sees the return of the regular artistic team of Javier Rodriguez and Alvero Lopez, but are they as good as they were before? Check out the review.
Spider-Woman #8: Swim
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist/Colorist/C.Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Inker: Alvero Lopez
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Recap Production: Idette Winecoor
Editor: Devin Lewis
Executive Editor: Nick Lowe
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Recap: After the events of Spider-Women, Jessica Drew decides to tackle a slightly smaller fish this time round. Leaving her son, Gerry with Roger Gocking (Porcupine) she tracks down Tiger Shark, with help from Ben Urich. A fight from penthouse suites to flooded sewers ensues. In the end, Jessica emerges victorious, thanks to some help from a monstrous octopus creature Tiger Shark was keeping as a pet. She arrives home as the sun rises, where she has breakfast with Roger and Gerry.
Thoughts: After an appealing appetizer in the form of Spider-Women, this issue feels like a palette cleanser before we dine on a meaty Civil War 2 tie-in. And if Spider-Women and the general quality of tie-in issues is any indication, this may be the best issue of Spider-Woman we are going to have in some time.
Welcome back, Javier Rodriguez. You have been missed. This issue is a showcase for Rodriguez and Alvero Lopez, who make damn sure to return with a splash. Rodriguez’s art is full of little things that bring Jessica’s world to life: gravel falling off doors and walls, reflections on glass, bruising on cars from where Jessica leaps off/Tiger Shark grips them, and obstructions breaking the flow of spraying water so it gushes around it. He plays tricks with angles, concealing and revealing things as he desires. He creates tense moods with eerie colors, the night sky, and the rain that falls from it. Lopez adds thick shadows, casting terrifying silhouettes for Jessica’s foes. And Rodriguez cuts through the dread with headlights, street lights, and bizarre colorful creatures.
And that is not even mentioning Rodriguez’s fight scenes, which the issue is basically made up of. Rodriguez can draw entire fight sequences in a single unbroken page, a pretty damn incredible feat that he does more than once in this issue. His pages are buzzing with sound effects and visual effects, with an incredibly agile Jessica Drew constantly maneuvering her way through. One experimental thing Rodriguez attempts that I love is how he inserts Roger Gocking into the fight scenes. In the story, Roger is at home pacing with a naked Gerry in his arms as he tries to find pajamas for the little guy. On the page, Rodriguez inserts the pacing Roger into the battle as he calls Jessica on the phone, so it looks like he is in the fight with Jessica. It is an effect that could have failed spectacularly, but Rodriguez turns it into the highlight of a spectacular issue.
Dennis Hopeless seems content to let Rodriguez take the reigns this time around. Several sequences in the issue are told with sound effects, rather than verbal conversation. Not that Hopeless is not working just as hard as Rodriguez is, but he has different goals to accomplish with the issue. The first of these two goals is returning a sense of fun to the issue that was lacking from the Spider-Women issues. He creates some new tech for Jessica, new shades that function as a phone; this allows him to add some fun conversations while Jessica battles monsters. It also leads to a moment where they break later in the issue and she is suddenly cut off from Roger mid-conversation. There is also a sequence where we cut away from Jessica Drew’s battle with Tiger Shark to follow a paramedic on his phone, whilst driving on duty. The brief detour collides into Jessica’s fight, but it makes you laugh and think at the same time.
The second thing Hopeless focuses on is why Jessica continues to be a superhero despite having a baby at home. He does a really good job lining up similarities between being a hero and a mother, especially when it comes to the sacrifices you make for other people. He manages to sell why Jessica needs to be a hero and sticks the landing with a heart-warming final couple of pages.
Verdict: The dream team is back and with style. Javier Rodriguez delivers some of the best sequential storytelling Marvel is putting out, while Hopeless nails the emotional side of Jessica’s current trials and lifestyle. Not much really happens this issue, which makes it even more remarkable that this issue is as good as it is. While Spider-Women made it clear that Gwen Stacy is the Spider-Woman character to watch this year, this issue makes it clear that Spider-Woman by Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, and Alvero Lopez is the series you have to read.