On The Panel – Edge of Spider-Verse
Issue 2 Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman
Rarely does a comic book live up to the extensive hype it receives. On the internet and social media Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman has been eagerly anticipated by a lot of people so the gauntlet was well and truly laid down long before release here. Given that this comic is only a prologue to a larger story it’s almost disposable so if it wasn’t very good then it wouldn’t really matter too much as well.
I’m glad that writer Jason Latour didn’t use this as an excuse to take it easy with this and that a lot of effort was taken to craft a story that is well worth reading. This comic is great at making a character in her first appearance seem like one that has a rich and colourful back story. The opening pages of the comic are a bit of a catch up on the previous issues of the comic that never happened and shows us how Gwen got her powers as well as her heroic motivation -in this case honouring the memory of Peter Parker who died after becoming the Lizard- which tells us a lot about Gwen in a really short period of time. We learn that she feels the same burden of responsibility that Peter Parker does in the main series comic as well as learning that she has a strong sense of morality to inform her choices as a hero. In her spare time she’s the drummer in a band called The Mary Janes -a band that is fronted by Mary Jane- and is very much the outsider of the group being less outgoing than the other members.
Knowing the original Gwen Stacy so well through reading comics for years this is an interesting way to take this character, I like that she’s fairly shy and unsure of herself as well as shouldering this deep burden driven by her desire to make up for the mistake she feels that she made. There’s a sense of melancholy present in the pages which makes it all seem somewhat familiar in a good way. Spider-Man can become melancholy for extended periods of time when his life isn’t going so great so it’s interesting to see these character similarities, apparently Spider characters just can’t have nice things.
The depth implied is also a partial downfall of the issue in that there’s just not enough time to explore everything that it tries to bring across. In the narrative there’s plenty of material that could fill entire several issue arcs but we only have it glossed over here, it’s more a limitation of the medium rather than the story but it does make Gwen’s characterisation feel a little rushed in places. I sincerely hope that Gwen gets her own comic series because I am interested in seeing more of this character beyond the Spider-Verse event. Still it’s amazing that in such a short time Gwen feels well developed and interesting with some defined characteristics and clear motivations.
A fantastically crafted introduction to an interesting character. This version of Gwen Stacy feels well developed with clear motivations from pretty much the first panel. Her hero and civilian life are fascinating and deserve to be explored more readily in her own comic book once Spider-Verse is over. At times there’s too much going on in the comic which makes aspects of it feel rushed but overall Jason Latour does a fantastic job of creating this character in such a short comic.