Spider-Woman #5 review

It's her fifth issue, but really, this may as well be Spider-Woman #1, with Jessica Drew having left behind the Spider-Verse shenanigans of earlier issues to embrace a new direction in a new costume. 

She's quit the Avengers and severed her SHIELD links in the hope of helping ordinary folk while living a pleasantly mundane life. Given that she's been surrounded by superheroic madness since childhood, I see the attraction. Jess' first good deed goes wrong when it turns out she's interrupted an NYPD exercise in dealing with super-folk, earning her a night in the slammer. Daily Bugle reporter and friend of Daredevil Ben Urich gets her out, in the hope she'll help him with a missing persons case. Along the way he points out that's she's been doing a terrible job of being a street level hero, doing as much damage as she does good. 
Jess isn't terribly interested in helping find the missing wives and girlfriends of minor supervillains, until an encounter with one such changes her mind. 

There's lots to like in this issue, not least the Captain Marvel-style new look. OK, I prefer Jess' longtime costume, but this will engage the Batgirl crowd, and it does look good. I'm less keen on her riding around on a spider-cycle - this is a woman who can glide, does 'street level' mean she has to be quite so grounded?

And I don't buy that Jessica's a bit rubbish as a superheroine - she has a lifetime's experience in using her powers and was a solo hero for years before becoming a bit-part Avenger. I realise Marvel wants books to have the Hawkeye vibe, but that doesn't mean every star has to become a sad sack overnight. 

I do like Jess's interactions with Ben Urich, it'll be good to see their friendship grow, and I'm delighted she's thrown off the SHIELD yoke; the current Marvel trope of heroes suddenly needing the annoying Maria Hill to tell them who to fight irks the heck out of me. SHIELD already has its super-agents, leave the other superheroes alone to find their own foes. 

I love the prison scene, with Jess's interactions with the other 'guests' of the NYPD being surprising and delightful, and there a great offhand gag nodding towards the recent Milo Manara cover controversy. 

Dennis Hopeless's script is breezy, and I look forward to seeing what he does with Jess. He could start by having her drop the #$%^ sweariness - it's not necessary, more the style of Marvel's other Jessica. 
Combine Javier Rodriguez' pencils and colours with Álvaro Lopez' inks and the result is stunning - imaginative layouts, clean lines, killer figurework, convincing streetscapes, sympathetic tones - I hope this team sticks around. They already have a synergy with Hopeless that bodes well. Avengers Arena and Undercover showed Hopeless' knack for making characters who feel human, and Jess and Ben are
 certain to benefit hugely. And if he sneaks in some of the macabre tone that was the USP of Jess's original Seventies series, so much the better. 


  1. It's not news that Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez know their way around 22 pages of comic, but for my money, it takes more than a well-produced book and a new costume to make Jessica Drew less boring as a character. She's had plenty of false starts over the years - I think I'm even selling a couple on eBay as I type - so I'd have preferred a new character over someone who comes with form for delivering unsuccessful books.

    That's my bad, though. Hardly the creators' fault that a reader brings baggage to this.

    1. I know what you mean, Jessica is a tad generic Marvel here. I really do hope they look back to her original run and recapture the more complex Jessica.

  2. I enjoyed the Land issues immensely, especially since his style was made for her classic costume. I get them ditching it though to sell a more grounded take on the character. I think Infantino was the last one not to overly sexualize it. Pretty sure I hate the new one immensely but since the art and story are good, I'll just deal with it. The vibe kinda reminds of the Infantino run, to be honest, and I'd love to see them homage that classic scene where the book opened up with Jessica swaddled in a bathrobe with a towel on her wet hair.

    Oh and why hasn't anyone noticed that Ms Drew has stopped dying her hair after decades? Have the readers obsessed with disliking minor changes not noticed yet?

  3. Oh good grief, I can immediately bring that towel sequence to mind. I loved the Infantino art - was it Steve Leiolaha or Al Gordon inking? Anyway, superb stuff. I can't even remember why she was dying her hair in the first place, wasn't the long hair originally a wig? And the hair needs to come back, she has the longest Marvel hair next to Madame Medusa and it did the cape thing of showing dynamic movement nicely


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