Spider-Woman #6

Ben Urich piqued her curiosity, so Jessica Drew is doing her best to use her sleuthing experience and super powers to solve a case in Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez's "Spider-Woman" #6. With a case that involves trying to track down the missing family members of third-rate super villains, Spider-Woman is put directly into conflict with Porcupine, Señor Suerte and Big Wheel.

While it may not be Hopeless' intent, "Spider-Woman" #6 feels like a more optimistic twist of "Superior Foes of Spider-Man" or perhaps a similar tale. In this case, Jessica Drew is the protagonist, so readers are in her corner, but the villains are pathetic enough to exhaust Spider-Woman's patience while eliciting empathy from the readers. Helping those that she'd rather be punching in the face, the conundrums baked into "Spider-Woman" #6 feels like "Rockford Files" meets "Agent Carter" with a light-hearted bounce coming from the inherent goofiness present in C-list bad guys.

With crisp, sharp inking from Alvaro Lopez, Javier Rodriguez's art is both deceptively simple and imaginatively detailed. His figures are all clean and smooth, not overly rendered, but individual and expressive, and the backgrounds are believable and deep. Add in Jess's motorcycle, and Rodriguez cuts no corners in "Spider-Woman" #6, right down to the wrinkles on the glove that punches Jessica Drew's office window and the shredded packing that accompanies her new bowls. Pulling double duty by also coloring this comic, Rodriguez' colors are less conventional. He favors pure cyan and magenta, adding in rich, dark green backgrounds and rounding out the candy colored adventure with purples and a smattering of orange variations. Spider-Woman used to be a book of shadows, with reds and yellows, but now this comic is a bright adventure filled with visual fun. Additionally, the old Spider-Woman costume was overtly sexy (and sexist?) but -- as Rodriguez delivers it -- this new costume and the new attitude that Hopeless has instilled in Drew makes "Spider-Woman" a smart, sassy read in the vein of Bryan Q. Miller's "Batgirl" series.

"Spider-Woman" #6 should technically be the second issue of the series, as the first four issues were heavily woven into the "Spider-Verse" event. That event informs the Jessica Drew central to this series, but, truly, the character zipping around on a motorcycle and punching bad guys is a completely fresh take. With two solid issues building up a high-suspense, entertaining adventure, Hopeless and company are giving Spider-Woman a new perspective and should be drawing in a whole new audience of readers. This second issue is just as welcoming as a first issue or a standalone tale, but the threads of the mystery stretch beyond these twenty pages. If you haven't been checking out "Spider-Woman" due to "Spider-Verse," adjust course and give this a go. It's not too late to join in and it looks like it's only going to get better from here.

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