Shizzle is going down. Jessica Drew is back. This is Spider-Woman issue one. At the beginning of the issue, there’s a very un-detailed summary of the events that led up to the comic. That’s right, stuff has happened before this first issue, in a series of event comics. Welcome, to my first problem.
I picked up this issue for several reasons 1) it’s a first issue for a character that I haven’t read anything about before, other than brief appearances in other Marvel comics 2) I hoped that, as a first issue the comic would be suitable for someone who had not read much of anything to do with the character before hand. Unfortunately, while it did indeed prove to be an issue about a character I hadn’t really read about before, it was completely unwelcoming to new readers.
It’s only since reading the issue that I found out that it was connected to a wider story arc, called the “Spider-Verse” (spoilers at link). When I read the issue, I made the effort to read the summary at the beginning, but I was plopped down, in the subsequent pages, in the middle of a story that was clearly more in-depth and continuity focused than the declaration of the comic being “issue one” communicated. It was as if the character was being used as a dumping ground for a Spider-Man story arc rather than being afforded her own chance to breathe.
This makes it a complete opposite to how things have happened with the likes of Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel over the past couple of years. Both characters can be read without referencing any other series before you read them. The lack of vision as to what making this a first issue comic meant, in terms of the expectations of new readers, leads to the writing feeling lazy, because much of the story is relying on you reading a tonne of stuff before hand.
On its own
Spider-Woman issue one, regardless of the back story/continuity obsession, is a poorly paced comic. The aspect of dimension jumping that is one of the comic’s plot devices means that none of the characters get characterised much at all. Stuff happens and they react. Jessica is portrayed as quite the paranoid Spider-hero, in complete contrast to the forced teenage character presence that comes in the form of Silk, who has been a huge focus of the whole Spider-Verse scenario. Having not read any of the previous comics that involved Silk, she comes across as a totem teenager, forced into the story to give teenagers someone to identify with, without giving her much in the way of actual character and presence.
Silk seems like some kind of nuisance that Spider-Woman has been lumbered with, and this whole having loads of Spider-heroes protecting one of their own, against powerful forces, is just way too similar to previous Marvel storylines. Storylines like the one involving Hope and the X-Men, “Second Coming”. After all, a load of it’s about the annihilation of one particular group of super-powered characters.
If you’ve been keeping up with Spider-Verse and its various crossover issues into other Spider comics, then you’ll probably go and read this issue regardless. However, there is no point in readers reading this who want to discover the character of Spider-Woman for the first time. I am puzzled as to why Marvel started Spider-Woman’s new run like this, as it’s just going to put-off new readers who would have been enticed in by it being a first issue. I am unable to recommend reading this issue.
Spider-Woman issue one is out now. Our reviewer bought their own copy.