Of all the different variations of Spider-Men introduced in the Spider-Verse storyline, Gwen Stacy, also known as Spider-Gwen, has been the breakout character of the series. Whether it was the introduction to an edgier Gwen Stacy, her band The Mary Janes, or the new costume design, fans have requested and Marvel has delivered. Now due to popular demand, Spider-Gwen is back with her own series. Written by Jason Latour and drawn by Robbi Rodriguez, who originally penned her debut with Edge of Spider-Verse #2, are back and this issue immediately takes place after the events of Spider-Verse.
If you missed her debut in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, In an alternate reality (Earth-65), Gwen Stacy is bitten by a radioactive Spider, instead of Peter Parker. Meanwhile, sick of constantly being picked on, Parker injects himself with a formula in order to become “special” like Stacy but backfires when he turns into a Giant Lizard, (Similar to Curt Conors of Earth-616). He is killed during his battle with Spider-Woman, and now she is on the run from the police, including her father Captain George Stacy, as she is the blame for his death. At the end of her debut issue, Stacy discovers Spider-Woman’s true identity and he lets her go. Shortly after, Gwen is recruited by the other Spider-Men for the all out war taken place in Spider-Verse.
Now the events of Spider-Verse have come to a close, and Stacy is now back in her own timeline. This is a refreshing alternate take on the Spider-Man universe we are used to. Ben Grimm, The Thing is Earth-616, is a police officer. Frank Castle, The Punisher in Earth-616, is
The comic opens up with kids tagging a billboard until they are confronted by an Officer by the name of Ben Grimm, otherwise known in Earth-616 as Fantastic Four’s The Thing. As Officer Grimm is apprehending the graffiti artists, The Vulture comes in and snatches him. Meanwhile, Spider-Gwen is almost bored with the idea of only coming across common baddies like the Bodega Bandit who basically looks like a Hamburglar knock-off.
While she is away, her band, The Mary Janes, has gained some popularity however, their manager states that if they really want to exceed expectations from their previous album they will need to ask Gwen to rejoin the band.
We are also introduced to this reality’s version of The Punisher. Except, he is also is an officer. Lieutenant Frank Castle has agreed to lead the hunt for Spider-Woman. I’m interested to see this take on Frank Castle. Is he still the same hard ass in the 616 universe? Does his family in this universe share the same terrible fate?
Gwen decides to the best way to get The Vulture’s attention is by using tagger’s spray paint to call him out. My favorite line from this issue was the “Death from a Butt” that Gwen tagged on a Water Tower.
Gwen’s plan works and draws The Vulture out of hiding. The two duke it out, both physically and verbally. Vulture then grabs Gwen and flies up high then drops her. The issue ends with Gwen falling and realizing that she is falling too high and too fast.
END OF SPOILERS
Spider-Gwen #1 – Overall Review
This version of Gwen isn’t just a painted over version of Parker, or Jessica Drew, or even Ben Reilly. Spider-Gwen is it’s own character and provides a excellent and refreshing take on the Spider series. In this storyline, Parker is dead, and is actually the first Villain Gwen faces as a superhero. Don’t get me wrong, Parker will always be my favorite Spider-Man but I enjoy seeing a few face don the mask on occasion. This issue reminded me of the first time I picked up Ultimate Spider-Man #1, both Parker and Miles Morales versions. This issue not only focuses around the character Gwen Stacy but multiple secondary characters and the world around her as well. The art style isn’t something I am used to, it’s a very punkish, raw, graffiti-inspired style but it totally suits the character. If you were one of the many who were blown away by her introduction into the Spider-Verse, this issue is worth picking up.