Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez continue their run in Spider-Gwen #2. This issue has more action, and much more character development than the first issue. It also further proves why Spider-Gwen was the stand out Spider hero of the Spider-Verse saga.
The last issue ends with Vulture dropping Gwen from the sky, and that is where this issue begins. Gwen manages to survive the fall by producing webbing under her arms, similar to the ones debuted by Spider-Man in 1962, to glide her way down. She ends up taking a nasty hit head first into a garbage scow.
This time around, we are surprised by an appearance from Spider-Ham. This isn’t the same Spider-Ham during the Spider-Verse saga. Instead this is a Spider-Ham that Gwen has begun hallucinating since she took that bump to the head. Ham follows Gwen throughout the issue, acting as her spirit guide, even referring to himself as Jiminy Cricket. I found the explanation as to by Gwen imagined Ham and not any other of the other Spider-Men essential to defining her character as she is still dealing with the guilt of Parker’s death from her universe
Gwen panics when she realizes her phone is missing and has important information and secrets that could potentially blow her identity. Luckily, her father, Captain Stacy is able to recover her phone and backpack before causing any suspicion. Jean DeWolff and Frank Castle arrive on scene and accuse the Kingpin of having ties to Spider-Woman. They then mention since it was Stacy who brought the Kingpin to justice, he is the only one fit to extract any information from him.
We have a better explanation of what kind of role Matt Murdock plays. It turns out in this universe Matt Murdock, also known as Daredevil in Earth-616, is on the Kingpin’s payroll. I enjoy seeing some of these Marvel characters in rolls we are not accustomed to. Especially one as straight and narrow as Murdock, working under what would be his biggest nemesis in Earth-616.
Gwen wakes up and is on a couch in front of Em Jay and Glory. They bring her up to speed and mention that their friend Randy found Gwen at a bar passed out. Shortly after, “Em Jay” doesn’t hesitate to guilt trip Gwen for leaving the band at their most crucial point. Gwen has other things she rather be doing right now, like capturing the Vulture. Ham reminds her that there is much more to being a hero than putting a mask on and swinging fists. It is about dealing with issues in the real world as well; Head on.
Meanwhile, Castle is interrogating Kingpin as he tries to extract any information that he can about this new Spider-Woman character. Murdock does not show up in person, but he is on speaker during the interrogation and is quick to come to the Kingpins aid. He reminds Castle that if he were to continue to harass his client with no proof, it would be an “Act of war”. This was my favorite panel because we got to see just how ruthless Murdock can be. Also, one can only hope that this is the beginning of a much bigger feud between Castle and Murdock.
Murdock hangs up the phone and we discover that he has just finished punishing The Vulture for “killing” Spider-Woman. Murdock states that it was in fact, Kingpins job to end Spider-Woman’s life and not his. In a panic, Vulture reiterates his initial claim and states that he did not actually see her hit the ground, insinuating that she could still be alive. Murdock then tells Vulture to find her.
Something that the imaginary Spider-Ham said must have resonated with Gwen as we end the issue with Gwen finally approaching her dad. The man who she had been avoiding since he first discovered her identity.
This psychedelic art style has really grown on me from the last issue. Actually this time around it may be my favorite part of the issue. The expressions of the characters, specifically Spider-Ham and Captain Stacy are brilliant. I enjoyed the interaction between Gwen and Ham, I hope to see more of that. Also, I’m sure it will be further revealed at a later date but I thought it was a nice touch to subtly have Castle’s police badge resemble the same logo as his signature Punisher logo. I can’t help but speculate if we may see the transformation of Castle in this series. This was a solid follow up to her first issue. There was a lot of character development not only for Gwen but the characters that surround her. Now please just give me an epic showdown between Murdock and Gwen.