Spider-Woman #16 Review (Spoilers)


Since my last review, it has been revealed that issue seventeen will be the last of this current volume of Jessica Drew’s adventures. Last month alone, Marvel put out over 100 comics and they have now created a sea of mediocre titles so thick that the good ones get lost in it; case in point, Spider-Woman. People have given this book critical acclaim, but Marvel created a market it just can not compete in; this is not even taking into account other comic book publishers. So, am I as disappointed with this issue as I am with Marvel? Click to find out.

Spider-Woman 16: Ring The Bell

Writer: Dennis Hopeless

Artist: Veronica Fish

Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

C.Artist: Javier Rodriguez 

Letterer: Travis Lanham

Editors: Nick Lowe & Devin Lewis & Allison Stock

Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso 

So This Laughing Thing, Is It A Practiced Affectation: We open with Roger Gocking, whose whole world is upside down after Jessica Drew’s kiss. It is also literally upside down because he dangles like a damsel in distress under Hobgoblin’s glider. He is nearly burned alive, but a badly injured Jessica saves his life. While Jessica is fighting Hobgoblin’s goons, Roger realizes he is being an awful partner and they work together to take down Hobgoblin. Hobgoblin and his goons recover, ready to take the fight to the weakened heroes. Carol Danvers arrives and takes out the villains with ease, allowing Jessica and Roger to return to making out. 

Or Just A Nervous Tick: Despite not a ton happening this issue (it is largely just a fight between good and bad guys) there is a lot to unpack. One of Hopeless’ greatest strengths is how he balances his cast of characters and he excels at it once again. More than any issue before this one, Roger is the central character. We ever get the story from his perspective, well written caption boxes and all. Hopeless does a great job of reminding the readers why Jessica Drew is great through Roger’s eyes. He is so caught up in what makes Jessica great that he forgets his own strengths, which is a nice relatable beat for Roger since I have both not realized my own strengths and have been over infatuated with another person’s. It is also nice to have him come into his own, even if his contribution to Hobgoblin’s take down is minimal. Jessica Drew is given Peter Parker levels of determination here; she even gets her own take on Peter’s ASM #33 moment. This moment rivals Jessica’s fight at the end of this volume’s fourth issue (against a group of Skrulls after just giving birth) for reasons why Jessica Drew is one of the most resilient fighters in the Marvel Universe. 

This is Veronica Fish’s best issue on the series and Hopeless really lets her control the story, settling for some great quips over top of her stellar action scenes. A lot of the fight involves tiny figures on goblin gliders fighting one another, but Hobgoblin’s orange cloak, Jessica’s hair, and Roger’s green cloak distinguish the three from one another. These features also appear windblown, which makes sense when the battle takes place at high speeds in the open air. Bruin’s take down and the onomatopoeia are still weak, but my favorite panel is Fish’s closeup of Hobgoblin in all of his maniacal demonic glory. I complained about the lack of creepy in the previous issue, but they make up for that here. I also absolutely love her facial expressions. 

I also have to praise Rachelle Rosenberg, who does an excellent job bringing the world to life. Nearly all the costumes are a little darker, more muted than usual, thanks to the night sky (which is a beautiful blend of black, blue, and green.) The exception to this rule is Hobgoblin’s costume, which is illuminated by the fires and pumpkin bombs going off all around him. Although there is a lot of orange and red on the panel, Rosenberg makes sure that energy blasts, lasers, and explosions stand out, which was another of my complaints from last issue. 

This book is a blast to read and a lot of that comes from the different types of humor. Hobgoblin is trying his hardest to be the funny bad guy and yet his humor is the weakest of the bunch; he makes one joke that is almost a rhyme but fails on that front so he switches to aggression. On the flip side is Jessica, who is so determined she is just kind of spouting off some quips without putting much thought into it, and yet she remains funnier than Hobgoblin. And then there is Roger, who is kind of clueless for most of the issue and that makes him the funniest character of the bunch. Even Carol is given some humor. She comes in at the end, boasting of her superior skill set and then knocks out Bruin with a single kick, who Jessica has been unable to take out after three different fights this arc. Carol serves as a great punchline to a very funny fight. 

Verdict: A strong conclusion to what is arguably the weakest arc of this volume of Spider-Woman. Complaints from previous issues were addressed here and Veronica Fish delivers one helluva a final showdown, beautifully brought to life by Rachelle Rosenberg. Dennis Hopeless made me fall in love with these characters awhile ago and he takes a step back, to let his artistic team run the show, and the issue is all the better for it. I am not ready for the end next issue. 

Pros: 

  • Fantastic final foray
  • Everything wraps up nicely 
  • Great use of cast

Cons: 

  • Weak Onomatopoeia 

A

Arc Grade: A-

(2) Comments

  1. Draco

    This could have been better as the fight between the Hobgoblin and Spider-Woman was anti-climatic and it was further ruined by him apparently being killed by Carol Danvers. The one silver lining is that this was obviously not Kingsley himself but another decoy that he brainwashed to stand in for him while the real Kingsley is elsewhere at the moment. Due to how many times Kingsley has pulled the decoy trick, wouldn't Jessica and Carol think to check the body to make sure it was actually him and not some patsy. As I said, this story arc felt very anti-climatic.

  2. Ian

    I've been re-reading all of Hopeless's run on this title, and Spider-Woman has become my or one-of-my favorite superheroes. I would never have said that before this run. It seems like Marvel is taking a hammer to the problem of low sales where a chisel would work a lot better. Many of the titles with low sales are worthy of scrapping, but this one should stay. I hope the next time we see Spider-Woman, the writers don't misrepresent what Hopeless has done here.

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