In September 2014, when readers first met Spider-Gwen in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, I expressed a desire that the Spider-Verse crossover event would not be the last folks would get to enjoy the adventures of the alternate Marvel universe (Earth-65) with a living Gwen Stacy. In fact, I speculated "judging by the creative team’s eagerness to do this one-shot, I imagine they could easily be persuaded to do far more than one issue." Just how much more they were ready to do became delightfully obvious this week with the launch of the new Spider-Gwen ongoing.
Week in and week out with Best of 7, much of what I celebrate frequently boils down to appreciating when the collaborative dynamics of a story succeed. Writer Jason Latour, artist Robbi Rodriquez and color artist Rico Renzi creatively are on the same page, figuratively and literally. The opening installment in this new series reminds me of my younger years reading a Chris Claremont and John Byrne X-Men narrative. When creators enjoy working together, the fun they have shows in every page. Hell, even editor Nick Lowe makes a whimsical cameo in the premiere issue.
Rodriquez cannot contain his excitement at tackling a Latour script. The artist loves sound effects and making sounds part of the drama. It is strange to say, but audio elements also seem like members of the Spider-Gwen cast. The only other storyteller who uses sound effectively is the legendary Walt Simonson (most notably on his classic Thor run, but also to great effect on his under-appreciated Fantastic Four run). Of course, a great deal of the potency in Rodriquez's kinetic art is sold by Renzi's masterful coloring.
This first issue is chockful of so many subtextual (or not so subtextual) comic references that I hope Jess Nevins or someone inspired by him goes about issuing annotations online for the issue. Without spoiling too much, for your $3.99 purchase you get a 1960s Spider-Man cartoon theme homage, a major villain is revealed to be a Ditko fan and you find out what the Earth-65 Frank Castle is up to (hint, he is not a personal trainer, but he also is not where you would expect him to be).
As a standalone issue, this story has it all. Latour is able to apply the James and Barbara Gordon dynamics in the Marvel Earth-65universe. For readers like myself who came into comics in the late 1970s, Gwen Stacy and her cop dad, George, were tragic dead figures. It is nice to see a father-daughter crime fighting team that hopefully will be around for a long while. Latour's gift for writing a witty hero is another asset for this ongoing. Spider-People with snark is how I prefer my arachnid heroes be portrayed. Looking forward to what the team brings to the next installment.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]