Spider-Gwen (Vol. 2) #20 Review


“Anyway…legend has it he was a samurai. THE samurai. Once.”

Wolverine, Shadowcat and The Hand are all trying to capture Harry Osborn. Can Gwen save him and herself?

WRITER: Jason Latour

ARTIST: Robbi Rodriguez

COLOR ARTIST: Rico Renzi

LETTERER: VC’s Clayton Cowles

COVER ARTIST: Robbi Rodriguez

ASSISTANT EDITOR: Allison Stock

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Devin Lewis

EDITOR: Nick Lowe

STORY: In Madripoor, Harry and Gwen are on the run from “Mr. Murderhands”, aka Wolverine. Another hunter joins the chase, Shadowcat, who is an awful lot like an X-23 version of Kitty. Murdock visits D.A. Franklin Nelson about the George Stacy case. After their meeting, Dr. Brock expresses her concerns to Murdock about Spider-Gwen. The Hand come to evacuate Harry and Gwen, but Spider-Woman decides to take a stand against them.

THOUGHTS: Had it not been for the giant claws slicing through the cover, I easily could’ve mistaken this for a continuation of the “Sitting in a Tree” storyline. Well, that and no Miles. After the striking design of last cover, this one feels more paint by the numbers.

The issue opens with a sense of franticness that Rodriguez conveys expertly. Speed lines are flying and Harry’s face is suitably panicked. What really distinguished this scene for me was when Wolverine catches up and every slice of his claws reveals a new credit, culminating with the title. Blending it with the action was a fun way to incorporate the information that often gets put in a solitary box.

That’s not the only highlight for the art. Similar to what he did in Spider-Gwen Vol. 1 #5 with the Black Cat, Rodriguez once again tells a character’s backstory in a sprawling two page spread. It’s quick, informative, and beautiful to look at. Also worth noting, the last page splash is very dramatic as Harry and Spider-Woman are surrounded by their would-be saviors, leaving you excited for the next issue.

What would Rodriguez’s art be without the coloring of Renzi? Madripoor is set ablaze with neon blues, yellows, pinks, and purples. I love how the origin of Wolverine is colored in oranges and browns, alluding to his 80’s uniform colors. I also enjoyed the darker palette when Gwen and Harry sneak into the alley, with the glowing street colors whispering in the background, just around the corner and the emphasis on the gamers’ dice.

I was a bit disappointed that their take on Wolverine didn’t seem to be all that different from the standard version. Sure, the samurai element takes more of the forefront as an actual origin, but his present day self doesn’t seem to be that much of a departure. One could make the argument that Murdock is close to his 616 counterpart, too, but instead of being Daredevil, he’s assumed the role of his nemesis, the Kingpin. You can’t take this Matt “Murderdock” and plug him in to the main Marvel U in place of Daredevil, but I feel you could with this Wolverine.  Regardless, I like Rodriguez’s visual take with the cowboy hat and samurai shirt.

I was actually more interested in Shadowcat. When she first attacked Harry, claws snikting in the air, I assumed she was X-23 until she phases through a creeped out Gwen and announced herself as “the untouchable Shadowcat”. Wolverine calling her “Kitty” cinches the deal though. What made her so bitter and jaded, so deadly? I appreciated Gwen’s reference to her adventure in All New Wolverine Annual #1 and would love to see her uncover more about this Kitty and how she compares and contrasts with the Laura she met.

Just as I was thinking having Murdock singing “Face it Tiger” was like the cat eating the canary, Elsa Brock goes out and says it.  I’m enjoying seeing Murdock at his Machiavellian best and I’m looking forward to seeing where he goes with all this. No matter the universe, I like seeing Matt and Foggy together, too. 

Latour closes the issue out strong, focusing on the dice and Gwen’s line, “…one last roll.” It’s very dramatic and a callback to the friendship that bonds them together. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but at the same time, my socks weren’t knocked off, either. The art and coloring are their standard magnificence,  but the story felt very short to me and their version of Wolverine doesn’t feel as unique as some of their other takes yet. It’s not bad, but with the hype I was expecting…more, I guess. However, the story is still in it’s beginning stages, leaving them plenty of room to make more of an impression.

MY GRADE: B

JAVI’S HUH?: Was that a “Nikki” Fury in Logan’s origin? I thumbed through some earlier issues that had Cap and couldn’t find mention of a Fury. Also, where’s the profile page this issue? 

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