There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the debut issue of Spider-Woman. Good buzz or bad buzz… it’s still buzz, right?
Whether we’re talking about the cheeky, controversial variant cover by Milo Manara or the fact that the artist who will be drawing this prolific female character is rather infamous for tracing porn, Marvel’s new Spider-Woman already has stigma attached. Personally, I’m just going to ignore all of the hoopla and just focus on what is important now that the comic is out: Is it good?
Spider-Woman #1 (Marvel Comics)
Spinning directly out of Spider-Verse; we see our gang of Spider-Woman, Spider-Man Noir and Silk as they travel through some alternative universe. You see, Silk is like a flame and is attracting all of these baddies known as the Inheritors (our moths in this analogy), that are feeding off the life force of all Spider-Men and Spider-Women across the Multiverse. Spider-Woman and Noir Spidey are keeping away from the regular universe so that she doesn’t attract any of the baddies there. Of course, whether that will work or not remains to be seen.
People no longer say that? Like you’re one to speak Miss Bee’s Knees.
Oh dear, this was a rather unfortunate. For a first issue of a brand new series I found Spider-Woman #1 to be a bit… lackluster. As mentioned, the book directly ties into the events of Spider-Verse and that’s one problem already: a book that is created during an ongoing event that ties into the event? That can cause problems, kind of like Captain America and the Mighty Avengers. This book offers no introduction or backstory to any of the characters, gives you just barely enough personality for each character so they aren’t wooden planks, and throws new readers into the deep end of the Spider-Verse without so much as a courtesy water-wing.
Outside of the opening recap page, Spider-Woman #1 barely makes an attempt to explain the context for anything going. It’s like you are expected to automatically know what is happening in this comic/know all of these characters before reading it. Why does Silk attract the Inheritors? Why is Spider-Woman specifically protecting her? How can these characters teleport between dimensions? Who exactly are in the Inheritors? None of that is explained. If this was just one of those mini-series or one shots that were created to specifically tie into the event that would be fine, but it’s not. As such, fans of the character not reading or paying attention to the event or newcomers will be turned off.
Despite the fact that nothing’s explained the characters are not particularly expanded on or given too much personality in general. The Inheritors are just these generic, boring villains that want to eat our heroes’ life force and nothing else. Spider-Noir is just the generic good guy and that’s it. Silk is similar, but much more naive and inexperienced than the others. Then there is our headliner, Spider-Woman herself; she is the leader and a bit of a hardass/jerk to Silk. She might have a little justification, but she doesn’t make a good impression here — she’s constantly frustrated, mean and doesn’t come across as likeable in the least.
Sorry but Silk is right. You are a stick-in-the-mud.
Dennis Hopeless’ writing isn’t without its problems either. His plotting and storytelling feels unfocused and unclear, like the story has no direction and is wandering. Things just happen in the story because… they happen and that’s it. The pacing and the story flow are fine, but there’s nothing too memorable. The dialogue and narration constantly shift between either forgettable, jerkish or downright unnatural (Spider-Woman being guilty of all three herself). The conversations just don’t feel believable and they don’t get or keep you invested in anyone here. The ending is okay and might work if you are invested in the characters, but since the comic does a poor job of doing so, you may not end up caring at all.
Then we come to the artwork by Greg Land, one of the bigger controversies of the book. His work here okay, but hampered by some problems. His characters look decent, with the costumes and overall appearances portrayed fairly well; however, the faces and expressions on the characters leave a bit to be desired. The action looks decent and energetic in areas, but the body postures and way characters bend look very off and unnatural. The layouts are alright and some of the scenery is nice, but there’s not much else.
Is It Good?
Spider-Woman #1 is a letdown overall. As a first issue, it fails at introducing a new audience to Spider-Woman thanks to a poor introduction and the dumping of the characters into the middle of an event story with no thought. Old fans will probably not be into her portrayal or the other characters here. The writing leaves a lot to be desired, while the artwork is okay at best. Unless you are already reading Spider-Verse, this book is just a big misfire from Marvel and best left alone until it improves.