Hey folks, how is it going? We are starting to move past Civil War 2 and towards a very Goblin filled future for Jessica Drew; it seems to be a Spider-Rite of Passage. But first one of Jessica’s supporting cast gets the chance to shine against a classic Spider-Man rogue. Chime in with your favorite Spider-Man rogues in the comments.
Spider-Woman 12: Dad Bodes
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Tigh Walker
C.Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editors: Nick Lowe & Devin Lewis & Allison Stock
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
I Was Just Chilling On The Beach, Man: Our story opens with Jessica Drew deciding it would be good to have a day off with her son, Gerry to relax from the events of Civil War 2. Jessica and Gerry travel to Staten Island to meet up with Roger Gocking and his daughter Kalie. The quartet head down to the beach, but the Sandman shows up to ruin the day. Jessica makes Roger suit up to face Sandman, confident in her protege’s ability to take down Sandman while she watches the kids. Sandman proceeds to lay a beat down on Roger, who struggles to remember everything Jessica taught him about Spider-Man’s rogue gallery. He finally recalls Sandman’s weakness and uses a fallen power line to zap his sand molecules into glass. Kalie embraces her superhero father and the quartet leave the Glassman for the authorities to deal with.
Electricity Turns His Sandy @** To Glass: Dennis Hopeless is someone who understands how to tell a story and exactly how long he needs to tell it. I have only once found his Spider-Woman arcs to be too short, and never too long. Hopeless does not do them often, but he is great at the done-in-one format. It is in these issues that he focuses on the core relationships in Spider-Woman; Vol 6 #8 focused on Ben Urich, Vol 6 #5 focused on Gerry, and this issue focuses on Roger Gocking. Or more accurately, Jessica’s relationships with them, as the story is focalized through her. This issue is Roger Gocking’s though, giving him a chance to shine.
Roger’s journey as a superhero is the best slow-burn plot thread in the series and Sandman is an excellent opponent for him for a couple reasons. Both are villains who have dabbled in superheroics and both have children, which allows Roger to try and talk him down. Unfortunately, that is about where their similarities end and Sandman proceeds to lay a beat down on Roger. Sandman is easily the biggest name Roger has fought yet, so it is great that he is a challenge. The moment in which Roger figures out how to beat Sandman is my second favorite moment in the comic. My favorite is the moment where Kalie exclaims to her dad, after the fight, that he is a superhero. Kalie is a figure who is largely physically absent in the book, but always felt in Roger’s journey to be someone better and this emotional pay off to his journey is perfectly executed by the creative team.
Focalizing the book through Jessica allows Hopeless to never lose sight of his protagonist. Hopeless emphasizes just how different Jessica Drew is from the normal superhero this issue. Could you imagine Peter Parker or Steve Rogers standing by while a former super-villain fought another super-villain with a higher power set? Jessica Drew cares far more about herself than Peter Parker does, but she also trusts people easily. A trait which is heroic in its own way, the ability to have faith in people.
Momma Drew is a great character and the way Hopeless writes her feels real to me. My girlfriend is a recent mother and runs a daycare, and when Jessica talks about feeling like she is always either neglecting her superhero life or her child it rings true to how my girlfriend feels about her work too. There is a scene later on when Jessica’s hand begins to venomify and Gerry goes to reach for it causing Jessica to freak out for a moment at the danger she put her child in; man, that stuff happens all the time. All the jokes in this issue hit fast, hit hard, and ring true.
Speaking of hitting hard, where the hell did Tigh Walker come from? Her artwork is amazing, if a little unrefined. She likes to play fast and loose with body construction, so can you think of a better villain than Sandman for her to play with? Her fight scenes are great and her blows really have impact; there is a panel where Sandman sends Roger skipping like a rock over a body of water. We even get to see a hero’s mask knocked off in battle, which is a little thing I love to see in fights. Rosenberg’s colors really bring the fight scenery to life this issue; on a cold Canadian October morning, I found myself sweating as if I was in a sunny vista. Walker draws the occasional odd face, but she also gives us a beautiful Godzilla-esqe Sandman at one point, so I can not dock her too much for it.
Verdict: This is a great done-in-one issue that highlights the relationship between Jessica and Roger in large emotional ways and small subtle ones; Jessica calls people Man at one point, a sign of Roger rubbing off on her. This issue is an absolute joy to read and a lot of that comes from the hidden gem of Tigh Walker. The emotion in her characters and creativity in her fights make her one to watch in the future. Everything in this issue works and it works really well. I hope we see her return to the book soon, but I find myself looking forward to the upcoming Hobgoblin arc with Veronica Fish.
- Emotional payoff to Roger’s journey
- Bright colorful vista
- Creative fight scenes
- Momma Drew
- The occasional weird face