This is the finale to Dennis Hopeless’ Spider-Woman run, 27 issues over two volumes. He has taken Jessica Drew out of the Spider-Verse, out of the Avengers, and back to the streets. He has made her a mentor, a detective, and a mother. She’s beaten mechanical villains, Hulked out cows, Skrulls, her best friend, her boy friend, and the Hobgoblin. This run has been something special, but does Hopeless stick the ending?
Spider-Woman 17: Everything I Need
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Veronica Fish
Cover Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Inker: Andy Fish
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editors: Nick Lowe & Devin Lewis & Allison Stock
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Roger Has Decided Gerry Is Old Enough To Fend For Himself: Jessica Drew decides to introduce the super community to her new boyfriend, Roger Gocking. She hosts a party, which is attended by the likes of: Ben Urich, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Fal-Cap, Hawkeye, Shulk, Hellcat, Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, and more. The superhero community is very critical of Jessica’s decision to get into bed with a supervillain, especially Black Widow. During the party, Gerry Drew develops super powers similar to his mother’s and Roger tries to reign him in. Roger’s antics draw Black Widow and Spider-Man into the fold, who are bested by the super baby. Roger risks his life to save Gerry, while in turn being saved by Spider-Man. The superhero community realize why Roger, Jessica, and Gerry are a strong fit and do not notice when the family disappears from the party to relax together.
Rogo And The Boyo: I cannot believe we are here, at the end of Spider-Woman. Jessica Drew was a character I did not care about, in fact I actively disliked the character for the role she played in Brian Michael Bendis’ dismantling of the the Hawkeye-Mockingbird relationship. But over twenty seven issues, the character has been refined into something incredible. It probably helps a lot that my first child was born around the time Gerry Drew was conceived, but the character of Jessica herself is special. Jessica Drew is one of the surliest characters in the Marvel Universe, but also one of the most loyal. Whether it is saving Roger from himself or setting aside her own desires to help save lives at the end of the Marvel Universe, Jessica Drew has always shined under Dennis Hopeless’ pen. She is the check Carol Danvers uses to keep herself in line, and the breath of life to Ben Urich’s social justice crusade. She mentors Cindy Moon and Spider-Gwen, but her true protege is Roger Gocking. This character means a lot, to people both inside and outside of the Marvel Universe. And this issue is a celebration of that.
The party brings a lot of familiar faces to the title one last time. When a writer inherits a character with a past, there is a difficult line the writer has to walk in regards to the supporting cast. Who do you use from the past, who do you omit, and who do you create? Past supporting characters like Clint Barton, Natasha Romanov, and Peter Parker have dipped in out of the title, but this issue brings them back in a big way. Peter and Natasha especially shine in this issue as the person most supportive and most disapproving of Roger respectively; they also get to tussle with Gerry Drew in his first superhero fight, I guess. The comparisons between Roger and Clint are great, even if Clint knows it is best not to say anything; sadly we do not get Jessica confronting Clint about Bruce’s death but if this series was going to give us that, it would have been during the Civil War 2 arc. I would argue this is one of the best guest appearances of Spider-Man in quite some time.
Hopeless’ own creations continue to steal the show though. The development of Gerry Drew’s superpowers is a great note to end the series on (and we even saw a future version of Gerry in the recent Spider-Gwen/Spider-Man crossover). It adds a lot of physical comedy to the issue, which works well in tandem with the script Hopeless penned; another example of that creative team unity I praise so highly. Veronica Fish delivers some of her best work on Spider-Woman during the Gerry chase sequence; creative paneling, expressive characters, and a great sense of motion. She is joined by her husband, Andy Fish, who inks her work and makes it really pop; I would like to see the two work together more often.Rachelle Rosenberg fills the finale with both bombastic powerful colors and muted realistic colors, creating a very unique world that Jessica and crew will inhibit without us for awhile. While I wish we could have a scene with Roger’s old family, after he deceived them about his death, this issue was also not the time to tell this story; sadly there will not be a time. But this issue cements Roger, Jessica, Gerry, and Ben Urich as a family, which is what this entire run has been about.
Verdict: There is not a book Marvel is publishing right now that will fill the void of Spider-Woman. Spider-Woman is something special and while it is not flawless, it has thrived no matter what came its way; events, creative team changes, and even the end of the Marvel Universe. It is the best thing to come out of the Marvel Now era, which Marvel seems to be slowly shifting away from.
So huge praise to Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Veronica Fish, Rachelle Rosenberg, Travis Lanham, Alvero Lopez, Joelle Jones, Nico Leon, Natacha Bustos, Tigh Walker, Lorenzo Ruggerio, Greg Land, Vero Gandini, Munsta Vincente, Jay Leistan, Frank D’Armata, Morry Hollowell, Idette Winecoor, Yasmine Putri, Anthony Gambino, Scott Forbes, Nick Lowe, Devin Lewis, Allison Stock, Charles Beacham, Kathleen Wisneski, and Axel Alonso. It was a blast and I will miss the title.