Marvel’s Spider-Gwen presents us with the question: what if it had been Gwen Stacy rather than Peter Parker who had been bitten by that fateful radioactive arachnid?
I was pretty excited by this premise, and had really looked forward to checking it out, but while I liked it, I’m afraid that I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped to.
I really enjoyed the art, and the color scheme was great, with bright colors that really stand out and command attention.
But while visually, I was digging it, I wasn’t as thrilled with the overall story which just sort of seemed disjointed and cobbled together at points. When we meet this version of Gwen she’s already been bitten, learned to use her abilities, suffered a great loss that inspires her to get her superhero on, and has her costume. And she’s even already public enemy #1 in the eyes of the law. Honestly, I would have rather actually gotten to see that all go on in volume 0. I think it would have been better for kicking off her story and letting us better get to know this version of Gwen. I guess I was hoping for her origin story and just wound up feeling like I was tossed into yet another day in the life of Gwen fighting crime and struggling with drama within her band. Yup, there’s also a big side story involving Gwen being in a band called “The Mary Janes” with who else but Mary Jane Watson as the lead singer. And Mary Jane is such an unlikeable narcissist in this alt universe it isn’t even funny. I suppose this leaves her a lot of room for character growth, but I just couldn’t stand her. I know we’re supposed to root for the band to get over their drama, but I just wanted to see the other girls rise up in a hipster girl band mutiny against Mary Jane and her inflated ego. Heck, I think I disliked MJ more than I did the main bad guy of this volume, the Vulture.
We encounter several Marvel characters in volume 0 and I know things are supposed to be all topsy turvy in this alt universe, but some of them just felt so very off that it almost made them feel less like a twist and more like a ruthless decapitation and disembowelment.
Gwen at least is a likeable enough character. She has flaws that she is trying to work through and has a good sense of humor, but I think I would have liked to have gotten to know her even more by the end of this first volume considering she is the protagonist. I love her costume design though and she has a really nice heart-to-heart with May Parker that I thought was handled very well.
I haven’t made up my mind yet about this series as a whole, and fortunately I already have volume 1 on hand to help me explore the series further before making a final decision on it. Maybe it just got a rough start on shaky little Bambi legs and will take off bounding through the other volumes. I hope so. Overall, I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars, I think.