Written by Joseph Kennedy
‘What if?’ storylines can be fun and while many fall flat there are those that shine through conceptually and where the end result lives up to the potential of the idea. With the Spider-Man crossover Spider-Verse we were introduced to such a ‘what if?’, that is what if it was Gwen Stacy who was bit by the radioactive spider that transformed Peter Parker into the our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. I won’t spend time explaining this world if you are new to the series, it’s recommended that you go back and read the original Spider-Verse mini series (not the current Secret Wars series) to better introduce yourself to this world and it’s Gwen Stacy, oh and see what happens to her world’s Peter Parker, it’s all pretty fun.
What I’ve enjoyed about the series is the sense it’s more in line with the normal 616 Marvel Universe then say something akin to the Ultimates, origins and powers fall in line with what you’re used to in the main universe but instead is the basic idea of a ‘what if?’ series, where character’s histories aren’t completely rebooted or re imagined but merely poked at with a stick causing a different outcome than the one we got in the main universe. One of the characters that is obviously a victim of such poking was that of Matt Murdock, where not only isn’t he the masked vigilante Daredevil but is actually a high ranking member of his usual archnemesis Kingpin’s inner circle. Up to this point Murdock has been one of the book’s primary antagonists and it’s been a blast seeing such a recognized skilled character both physically and mentally on the wrong side of the law.
As for issue #5 we get a good taste of this universe’s Felicia Hardy aka the Black Cat. Not surprising with characters like Gwen and MJ having musical lifestyles as members of an amateur band trying to make it big, Felicia is a major pop star, with an obvious Lady Gaga vibe going on, it’s out there but it works with the overall style of the books. From here the issue delves in to her past and her familial connections with organized crime and a history with Matt Murdock. The issue I felt was written in mind to continue the build up of Murdock being the most immediate threat to Gwen’s identity and life, and of course those of her family and friends, hell the guy commands the power of The Hand’s army of ninjas.
Author Jason Latour seems to be having a lot of fun with these characters and the confrontation between Gwen and Matt keeps things interesting and hopefully leads to some great payouts. Robbi Rodriguez art continues to be as enjoyable as Latour’s writing, his style just nails the punkish lifestyle of Gwen and with the help of colors from Rico Renzi everything pops with an 80’s vibe. It’s going to be tough down the road seeing others take over this series but Rodriguez and Latour have certainly created a great benchmark to work from.
I’m curious what Marvel’s plans are for the continuation of this book honestly, Secret Wars certainly seems to be changing things up big time, I just hope they don’t rush Latour to force her into the the new mainline Marvel universe like they are with Miles Morales. I have to get around to reading the current Spider-Verse series by Mike Costa to see where they’re aiming.
You can read Spider-Gwen #5 via the Comixology app on for iPhone and iPad