Released: November 17th 2015
Received: Marvel Unlimited
Issues: Edge of the Spider-Verse #2, Spider-Gwen (2015) 1-5
A while ago I goofed up and read the first volume before this one (I always forget to check and see if there’s a separate mini-series first – I’ve got to work on that), but since I’m trying to get caught up in Spider-Gwen (and Spider-Man – Miles Morales version), I figured now was probably the best time to go back and give volume zero a chance. I should probably make some time to read Edge of the Spider-Verse as well…but I’m already reading things out of order, so it is what it is.
Spider-Gwen, AKA Gwen Stacey, doesn’t live in the ‘main’ universe for Marvel (Earth 616), but instead resides on Earth 65. Everything in her universe is slightly different, which can bounce back and forth between being really unique and interesting, or really tired or silly. Still, on the whole the universe and character are pretty refreshing, and both have a lot of potential.
Like I said above, there are many differences in Gwen’s world. The most obvious one being that Gwen Stacey, not Peter Parker, is the spider vigilante. Obviously she goes by Spider-Woman instead of Peter’s chosen moniker, and that’s not the only difference. Peter isn’t even alive in this universe, a fact that causes constant pain for Gwen (just like the reverse is true in 616).
Gwen is dealing with a lot of guilt and doubt. Both of these are somewhat obvious and understandable, but I also believe they make her that much more human because of it. She’s feeling so terribly guilty about what happened to Peter, and it’s clear that she’s trying to make amends for what happened. Even poor Aunt May can tell that much. She’s also concerned that she’s not a good enough superhero, and will be the only Spider-vigilante to fail. But you have to remember just how much of a struggle Peter had as well – especially with the Daily Bugle. So I think Gwen is about on par with all of them, and is just being harsh on herself (which sounds like another spider character we know…).
There are a lot of Marvel cameos for this series, but I’d like to remind you that most of them are 616 versions of the characters we know, and thus are very different. Mary Jane, Matt Murdock, Frank Castle, Vulture, Spider-Ham, and Kingpin all grace us with their presence, but none of them are the people we’re used to seeing. I’ll admit Spider-Ham isn’t my favorite of the Marvel characters (too intentionally silly for my liking), so I was a bit annoyed with how drawn out his appearance was. I was less than impressed with the Vulture as well. He’s still a villain in this world (apparently some things don’t change) but he’s more…desperate and pathetic? Which is something I didn’t think was possible. So having him be a force capable of endangering Gwen (and her dad) was less than thrilling.
I will say that I absolutely loved the conversation between Gwen and Aunt May (who happens to be her father’s neighbor – cute right?). I absolutely believe that May would be that perceptive, and in fact I’d believe it if you told me May was starting to suspect that Gwen was Spider-Woman. The conversation itself was a little heartbreaking though, especially in the earlier parts. You can really see how much pain May is in from losing Peter. I’ve seen Peter without May…but never the reverse. That was tough.
This was an interesting start to a new series. I didn’t love this volume, though I think Gwen’s character has a lot of potential. They just need to stop focusing on trivial plots and villains. Once they move past there will be a lot more room for her character to grow.