2015 sees its second “Spider-Gwen” #1 from Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez, but the series thankfully seems untouched by the effects of “Secret Wars,” aside from Gwen’s new job at Dollar Dog. However, her start is preempted after an attack by the Lizard, prompting a new mystery for her to explore. Latour and Rodriguez pretty much pick up where they had left off in the previous series, maintaining the tone they had already established: lighthearted with some sinister undertones driven by the differences in this reality.
Few things are more lighthearted than the “super” villain known as the Bodega Bandit, who Spider-Woman manages to subdue pretty easily early on. Latour also throws in the usual mundane annoyances that have long plagued heroes carrying the Spider-mantle: oversleeping, malfunctioning webshooters and family members who don’t exactly see eye-to-mask with the costumed hero. In doing so, Latour shows readers that old Parker luck holds true across the multiverse and brings the same kind of fun to Gwen’s story.
Rodriguez has a loose, almost whimsical kind of style that fits well with Spider-Gwen’s world; his figures look limber and fluid, which is perfect for a character who spins webs and swings through the city. The characters (at least, the less threatening ones) have wide-eyed, almost caricature-like features, while conversely the Lizard looks genuinely threatening. Rodriguez effectively captures a wide array of environments, from Gwen’s claustrophobically cluttered apartment to the eerie and foreboding tunnels beneath the city, where the mystery behind the Lizard is deepened. Rodriguez’ layouts are also fluid, adhering to standard panel layouts but giving Latour’s story a brisk pace.
Colorist Rico Renzi employs some unusual color choices that nonetheless work and nicely fill Rodriguez’ art; Gwen’s apartment is filled almost solely with pink and purple items, yet it doesn’t seem all that out of place, while the city skies take on an orange-yellow tone that is used consistently throughout, presumably to convey a morning timeframe. The tight margins Rodriguez leaves between panels allow Renzi’s colors to fill the page, giving the entire issue a rich, colorful feel.
Near the end of the issue, Latour serves up a flashback to Gwen and Peter during her early days as Spider-Woman, which establishes their early relationship and is a nice look at Peter for readers hungry for to learn about his involvement in Spider-Gwen’s formative days. Latour continues to explore not only this new character but the differences between her world and the more familiar Earth-616, all while Rodriguez and Renzi attractively execute it. The all-new, all-different “Spider-Gwen” #1 is thankfully not all that new or different, but instead a continuation of what the creators had already nicely established.