Spider Gwen… is it good?

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.
reed_richards_earth-1102… Nope, not that Reed Richards…

reed-richards-146030.jpg
UGH!!! No, not him either, thank God!!!

SpiderGwen7_Reed-e1460866557956.png
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.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

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http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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10 thoughts on “Spider Gwen… is it good?

  1. So cool that the concept of Gwen as Spiderwoman!! I’m always looking for kick ass female characters and in reading this review, am so disappointed that EVERYONE HATES HER. GAWD!! Of course they do, in the end women are not allowed to have power so that’s a way to deflate her. The art sounds cool and I’ll check this out for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • StCyril says:

      Just to clarify, it’s not that the audience hates her. Most people I’ve talked to love her and the idea of her taking Peter’s place. She’s hated in-story because people believe that she’s responsible for Peter Parker’s death. Simply put, she’s sought after for murder. More people are putting stock in Jameson’s rantings.

      Like

      • Oh totally got that! You said ‘hated by the people around her.’ I was just miffed by the concept of her character being hated in the storyline AT ALL. That that was even put into the mix. Of course the female character must be punished by the sheer disappearance/death of the male character via being the ONE WHO MURDERED HIM. Whether she did or not. And if she is sinister then go with THAT.

        Like

      • AlanMiller says:

        Is that a common stereotype? That women are murderers? Not sure what you are miffed about.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s an interesting look at Spider-Gwen. In honesty, I agree with the dimension jumping being an issue, that they need to let her have her own stories for a while. I would Love it to be a case of setting her up to jump into the main Marvel Universe long before it happens but I doubt it.
    And I am also not a massive fan of the art although I do find it interesting that they done a unique art style to give the universe a different look.
    However, I do disagree that the the “alternate reality” answers isn’t a good enough explanation for a character like Reed Richards to be a young black man rather than an older white man. That is the point of a multi-verse that there is an infinite number of that person all living different lives from others, some of which are similar and some not. And I think the Stan Lee quote is out of context as I believe he would be referring to the main Marvel universe Reed Richards being changed to a black man or made gay for the sake of having that group represented, kinda like Iceman being putted as gay recently when 50 years of comics have shown no hint at him being gay and instead he would rather create a new gay character. In this instance, it is a new character as it is not Reed Richards from Earth-616 but a completely different Reed Richards so he is a completely different character and free to new ideas and expressions without changing the original representation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • StCyril says:

      Unfortunately I have to respectfully disagree with you… I know that this is the point of the multiverse and I get your thinking… but Marvel asking it’s audience to accept A LOT when they’re trying to push that a character has seen, done, and reacted almost identically to the original protagonist and is nearly the same in every way, but their race (not all, but many).
      Which is pretty much asking us to accept that a different family experienced the ‘prime’ family’s experiences in almost identical means necessary to raise that person to have the same morals and values to make those same decisions despite having heritage from a different part of the world, while the ‘prime’ family is either non-existent or relegated to a minor plot point… and somehow the rest of the world and history is still almost exactly the same…
      That is a lot to buy… that is a LOT to buy… and I’m sorry, but simply throwing their hands up and saying ‘Oh, alternate universe, we can do whatever we want!’
      Just doesn’t cut it for me and really wreaks of bad story telling. I get your points, but it just doesn’t sit well with me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can definitely understand your perspective on it. That it can be bad storytelling to change a characters race and absolutely nothing else about them. And I am definitely not defending Marvel from that perspective, they have done some really bad storytelling over the years and honestly as much as I want to, and do, defend the alternate reality explanation. There is definitely a chance that it was just lazy storytelling from Marvel wrapped into an excuse to have a major Marvel character as black instead of white.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Olaf Lesniak says:

    I honestly rather for them to have these changes in an alternative universe than in their main line of comics. Having that said, Marvel has not done that at all and any stunt like this makes for a very unbearable experience as a reader. Thanks for the comments with Stan Lee. I didn’t know he felt the same about this which makes me very glad to see.

    Like

    • StCyril says:

      You may be disappointed. Marvel has taken great steps to try to push that their ‘alternate universes’ are now their prime universe while the original prime universe will be luck to still exist.

      Like

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