SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Spider-Woman” #13, which is on sale now.
Dennis Hopeless’ run on “Spider-Woman” has seen Jessica Drew surrounded by a new found family. By Spider-Woman’s side are her infant son Gerry, her partner-in-crimefighting and babysitter Porcupine, and her friend Ben Urich. This quartet has formed the heart of the run since it’s soft relaunch a year and a half ago, and today’s “Spider-Woman” #13 sees that family dynamic blown up — literally.
To step back a second, Spider-Woman first met Porcupine in 2015’s “Spider-Woman” #5. Jess stopped the D-level supervillain from robbing a bank, only to find out that Roger was forced to rob the bank by a mystery villain that had kidnapped his daughter. Jess helped Porcupine get to the bottom of his daughter’s kidnapping and, with the case solved, Ben Urich brought him into the team in July 2015’s “Spider-Woman” #9.
Since becoming Spider-Woman’s babysitter, Roger Gocking has turned his life away from petty crimes and slowly become more and more of a real superhero. Last month’s “Spider-Woman” #12 saw Porcupine use his skills against Sandman during a trip to the beach, giving Roger his first victory over a supervillain. With his young daughter Kalie beyond impressed by her superhero dad, “Spider-Woman” #13 — written by Hopeless with art by Veronica Fish — sees Roger make a move to leave his criminal past behind. Roger goes to a seedy bar frequentd by supervillains and asks to see… the boss.
We don’t see Roger’s convo with his boss play out; next we see him, he’s excitedly taking over one of Jessica’s late night patrol shifts. “Pretty cool Jess is finally lenaing on me a little more,” he says while standing proudly on a rooftop. “Letting a night shift go for once.” Roger excitedly proclaims that “ol’ Porcupine is on the case,” but his friend Ben Urich wants to talk to him. See, Ben’s a reporter and he’s seen all the signs; he knows Porcupine’s kind of in love with Spider-Woman.
Unfortunately for the both of them, their heart-to-heart is cut short when a gang of supervillains descends upon them. It turns out, no criminal cuts ties with “the boss” that easily.
And then we meet… the boss.
Now, a number of different criminals have taken on the Hobgoblin identity over the years and it’s not yet known which criminal is under this mask. However, it’s probably safe to assume that it’s the first Hobgoblin Roderick Kingsley, as he’s also the one that was active most recently in the late 2014 event “Avengers vs. X-Men: AXIS.”
With Roger beaten up and his Porcupine suit damaged, Hobgoblin easily ties him up and, well, it’s not good…
The issue concludes with Ben, having slipped away from the destruction unnoticed, arriving at Jessica’s apartment where she was enjoying a night in with her son. He’s visibly shaken and unable to get the words out, leaving Spider-Woman to ask the heartbreaking question, “Where’s Roger?” As far as readers know, Roger’s dead.
The story continues in “Spider-Woman” #14, which arrives on December 28.
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