Let me just say that I had high hopes for this series. An alternate reality where Gwen gets bitten instead of Peter Parker. Peter dies and Gwen becomes spider… woman. The premise is great, the costume if awesome and the character is pretty good too. The end result is a series that literally flies off the shelves and rarer variants showing up on Ebay for 10x the face value.
So with all that said, what do I think of the book itself? Well let’s start off with quality…
First of all, maybe I’ve gotten spoiled by indie comics that put their all into their work, using the best of everything that they can get, but Marvel has gotten a little cheap lately. The paper and ink they use is admittedly not the greatest stuff in the world. So whenever handling one of their newer comics, try not to keep you fingers in the same place for too long… the ink will come off. Again, this isn’t a rail against Spider Gwen, just mass-produced comics in general.
As for Spider Gwen… well her costume is nice and the story premise is interesting. She’s gotten bit by a radio-active spider and now has all the powers Peter Parker had in the prime universe. However, she later gets blamed for Parker’s death and, unlike Spider Man, is hated by the people around her. Like Parker, she has a hard time balancing her real life with her alter ego, but unlike Peter, she has to contend with her father being a cop and the fact that she blames herself for Parker’s death. All of this makes for an interesting story.
However, there are a number of things that I really do not like about this series at all. For starters this comic has fallen victim to the same Social Justice nonsense that I’ve taken issue with Marvel comics in the past. As I said before, I have no issue with older characters passing on the torch to younger, newer characters of different backgrounds and walks of life. That’s fine… but Gwen can be seen on any number of occasions conversing with Reed Richards.
… Nope, not that Reed Richards…
UGH!!! No, not him either, thank God!!!
Yup, THAT’S our Reed Richards. How do we know he’s Reed Richards? Well because they say he is and he has Reed’s signature Salt and Pepper hair… despite a young kid in school… what the hell?
Okay, this is what I’m talking about. Passing of the torch is one thing. Captain America did this right, Thor did this right… this… ugh. This is putting diversity and social justice ahead of good story-telling. I’m sorry, but the whole alternate reality excuse can only extend the suspension of disbelief so far. Having another character stand in for Reed would be one thing. Taking a character and changing his physical appearance, but pretty much keeping his personality the same, with little to no explanation, and then hiding behind the alternate universe excuse is PISS POOR story-telling… and among the many reasons why I’m slowing starting to pull away from Marvel.
Heck even Stan Lee, the big creator behind most of our beloved characters spoke out against this in an interview with Newsarama:
“I wouldn’t mind, if Peter Parker had originally been black, a Latino, an Indian or anything else, that he stay that way,” he said. “But we originally made him white. I don’t see any reason to change that… It has nothing to do with being anti-gay, or anti-black, or anti-Latino, or anything like that. I say create new characters the way you want to. I don’t see any reason to change the sexual proclivities of a character once they’ve already been established.”
And he’s 100% right. I’m certain he doesn’t have a problem with Spider Gwen, given how it’s explained that she takes on his powers… however I think he would have an issue with this new Reed Richards. Marvel used to handle social issues and diversity very well. They tackled issues like the Holocaust with the X-Men, racial diversity, etc by using mutants instead of race for their narrative, and it worked well. In addition, unlike the people who hated mutants, the teams spanned several different races, had an acceptable number of both genders, and had people from multiple religious backgrounds.
Anyway, I’ve already delved into this enough in other topics, back on subject.
I find the interior artwork to be unimpressive, and it doesn’t help that often the comic is split into sections with different styles used. Also, I’m not huge into the comic taking a whole page or two to pretty much reprint the same thing over and over to remind every one of what happened in the first issue or two. That is a waste. Buy the other issues and read them first if you don’t know what’s going on.
Finally, this story is a tie-in to a much larger web of stories dealing with a ‘Spiderverse’ and multiple different alternate realities. At times, it doesn’t seem like the books know if they want to be their own story, of part of a bigger story. The result is a slew of cameos from other realities and the inclusion of temporary storylines that takes focus away from the primary story and leave the reader… well me anyway, scratching my head.
So, in summation… is it good? Well… ah… no not really. It has potential and the issues where we’re dealing with Gwen’s personal dilemmas are interesting enough, but it get’s buried in the absurd social justice and alternate reality fiascos that are plaguing Marvel comics right now. Am I going to stop buying issues? No, like I said, the story has potential, and I’m still hoping that Marvel will clean up its universe. Right now, everything about Marvel is pretty much tethered together with a very fragile bond that is the ‘alternate reality’ story base. If they don’t do something soon to fix this, eventually the whole thing will come crashing down and Marvel will have little choice but to pull a DC and hit the reset button.
I can honestly get past the Reed Richards issue if Marvel doesn’t keep straining my suspension of disbelief, but tethering Gwen’s universe to the others needs to stop, and hopefully will soon.
Anyway, that’s my two cents. I know it’s all over the place… but so is this book. Give it a chance if you’d like to see where Marvel could go with the once-beloved Gwen Stacy character. If you’re looking for good comicbook art, the alternate covers alone are worth picking up, so I’d recommend it for that at least.
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