Hey guys, how is it going? This review is super Civil War 2 centric, and I actually came to a decision on which side I fall on in the larger conflict while reviewing it. Let me know in the comments section which side of Civil War 2 you agree with and why.
Spider-Woman #11: Babe
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Veronica Fish
C.Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editors: Nick Lowe & Devin Lewis & Allison Stock
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
What The Hell Are You Even Doing Here, Jessica Drew: Jessica Drew finds herself on an aimless rampage after her ex boyfriend Clint Barton executes Bruce Banner, based on one of Ulysses’ visions. Bruce and Hulk were both close to Jessica, but Jessica believes Bruce was cured of being the Hulk. She breaks into Bruce’s lab to see if she can find any evidence suggesting otherwise, but is unable to. She starts to destroy the place when Roger Gocking reveals he has been on her trail and is there to help however she needs. Jessica uses him as a sounding board to plan her next move and decides it is time to pay Clint a visit. To do so, Jessica breaks into Alpha Flight’s space station. She hopes to avoid Carol, but runs directly into her. Carol tries to talk Jessica down, as if they were just having one of their usual fights. This infuriates Jessica, who lashes out at Carol. Carol never throws a single punch, but Jessica realizes she can not get past Carol without talking to her. So she abandons her quest to visit Clint and tells Carol she is through with her.
I Like You Better When You Are Angry: In the finale of this three part arc, Spider-Woman kicks up the Civil War 2-ness to an eleven. Jessica Drew has pretty integral ties to many of the key players of this event and this issue uses that to basically recreate Civil War 2 in a more emotional, more thorough way.
Jessica and Carol’s relationship is the emotional core of the issue, so lets look at the other relationships in Jessica’s life first. Dennis Hopeless continues to use Ben Urich one issue and Roger Gocking the next, but they never overstay their welcome and always provide to the story. Using Roger as a sounding board for Jessica to compose her thoughts is a great idea, especially considering how emotionally driven Jessica is this issue. I have mentioned time and time again what a big Hawkeye fan I am, so the fact this issue teased a Clint/Jessica confrontation for so long only to have it be a misdirection hurts a little. But I am not upset because the Civil War 2 tie ins have actually done a good job expanding on the main story and Clint’s big moment was given to Deadpool instead; their friendship is fairly recent but prominent.
Instead, Dennis Hopeless chooses to acknowledge Kelly Sue DeConnick’s eighteen issue Avengers Assemble run instead. Her run is great and she did a ton of work for Captain Marvel as well, so it feels right that Hopeless would bring story threads from that run into this issue. In particular he brings up the relationship Jessica Drew develops with Hulk and to a lesser extent, Bruce. As great as the Carol/Jessica stuff is, it is Jessica’s relationship with the Hulk that hits hardest. And Hopeless manages to do that with just two pages of material; thanks in part to DeConnick’s legwork.
During this flashback sequence, Veronica Fish gets to draw the classic Spider-Woman costume in action. She gets to draw three variations of Jessica’s costume this issue and the art team really nails this. The bright colors of the classic costume really bring another level of joy to the flashback scene. Likewise, the greys and blacks of the stealth suit allow your eye to venture the page and over all the design Veronica Fish has put in.
Unfortunately, Javier Rodriguez’s absence can still be felt. Veronica Fish has only two creative panels in the whole issue and neither of them are blow you away level. The sneak in sequence would have been something spectacular under his pen. Same with the sequence where Jessica trashes Carol through her space station. Veronica Fish does adequate both times, but Javier Rodriguez is just on another level. The book popped to life when he was coloring and Rachelle Rosenberg also does not hold up in comparison. Her sunsets look mostly the same, her palettes are smaller, and there is a lot more use of negative space under Rosenberg. In the first arc of Volume Two we saw space come to life in a visual trip; this time we barely see any space at all.
Thankfully, Veronica Fish is a great emotional storyteller. You are never left wondering what a character is going through, emotions written plainly on their faces. Rosenberg colors her faces in a similar fashion to Rodriguez and it really accentuates lighting and the flushing of faces. Body language is still something Fish has to master though. Jessica’s Venom Blast may look great, but the hits in her fight scenes do not seem to hurt like they should.
So this issue finds emotionally distressed Jessica Drew coming to blows with the arrogant militant captain who believes she has found the best way to keep the most people safe; man, that sounds familiar. The source of Jessica’s distress is even the death of a near friend, a death Carol also played a part in. So why does this issue work as a better Civil War 2 than Civil War 2 itself? Because the first issue set it all up. Jessica’s uneasiness with Ulysses. Her friendship with Carol was well developed into becoming the stakes of the story, while also showcasing both sides of the conflict. Then the second issue showed us the implications Ulysses could have on many corners of the Marvel Universe and gave us a very important crux; Ulysses is 0 for 0. Civil War 2 is trying its damned hardest to make us question whether Ulysses is legit or not without dedicating all that much time to his visions. Spider-Woman does the leg work for Civil War 2 and does it in practically no time at all (Bendis couldn’t do that.)
And now the third issue explores Jessica exploring the different sides of the conflict, before bringing her to blows with Carol in a fight that is far more emotional than physical. And honestly, as evenly balanced as the scales are for both characters given this is Jessica’s story but Carol’s event, I find myself on Carol’s side. Jessica is acting far too impulsively in this issue and she is not even approaching Tony Stark levels.
Books like Spider-Woman, Captain Marvel, A-Force, and Ultimates have portrayed Carol way better than Bendis has in Civil War 2. These books have shown the lengths Captain Marvel has put in to make sure this is all legitimate and helpful. She is sacrificing her personal life to ensure Ulysses is being used properly. And Ulysses is 0 for 0; I would not be surprised if the suitcase in Civil War 2 ends up being a third party interference to spark hero fighting hero. Carol Danvers is right, as far I am concerned. And she just lost her best friend because of it.
Verdict: If you want to see Civil War 2 done right and done in three issues, buy this story line when it comes out in trade paperback. This is not Hopeless’ finest arc and Veronica Fish is not Javier Rodriguez, but Hopeless knows how to nail his endings and Veronica Fish is still a damn impressive artist in her own right. This is what you should hope for when a book does a tie-in arc.
- Jessica/Hulk dynamic
- The stakes
- Civil War 2 done better than Civil War 2
- Art team still in the shadow of Javier Rodriguez