Edge of Spider-Verse #2 (Comics Review)

Last week saw the beginning of the big Spider-Man oriented crossover event Spider-Verse as we began to get the prequel stories in the form of the Edge of Spider-Verse mini-series. The first issue focused on Spider-Man Noir and it was a pretty good issue all things told. It introduced me to Spider-Man in a way I hadn’t thought possible and I came out of the experience wanting to read more about Spider-Man Noir and all his adventures. In that way alone the issue worked in a big way for me. But then came the great cliffhanger and I was sold big time.

This week’s edition sees a Gwen Stacy from another world take up the mantle of a Spider-hero as Spider-Woman, in a world where it was her who was bitten by a radioactive spider and not Peter Parker! This one-shot issue is a part of the beginning of her tale and I have to say that there were parts of it that I really liked. Jason Latour’s writing feels very engaging here, but there were some parts that I didn’t like, particularly not the twist with a certain superhero that I really love. And as for the art, the art was really good, all things told, though I’m not quite so sold on Gwen’s costume.

As with last week’s Edge of Spider-Verse #1, what this issue does really well is make you want to read more of Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman. I mean, I really wouldn’t mind an Elseworlds-style tale where this is indeed a reality. Plus, she would be the “first” Spider-hero in such a setting, the one who started it all, just as what happened with Peter Parker on Marvel-616. If Marvel does end up putting out a Gwen Stacy ongoing after this big event, then they are sure to cause quite a storm in comics, cementing their position against DC when it comes to female-led titles.

This issue is part-origin story and part family confrontation. Gwen is a vigilante and also someone who is believed to have caused the death of Peter Parker of this world. In truth, he tried to follow in her steps but became this world’s version of the Lizard, hence why Gwen had to take him out, permanently. There are lots of familiar turns to the story here, but also a few new ones. Things are complicated by the fact that her father is the top cop in the city and she has to keep her identity as Spider-Woman secret from him, much as Peter Parker has had to do all these years with Aunt May. Oh and I liked that she is in a music band with Mary Jane. That was a neat twist.

There are definitely some things that Jason Latour has done really well here. He has presented a fully-formed hero here and has made her the star of the story rather than looking at her through the lens of someone else’ perception. That had been my fear going into this comic, and thankfully those fears were unfounded. His script moves along at a good pace and never gets bogged down by the minutiae. If there’s any kind of a false note to the story it is that Gwen’s struggle with her superheroics never quite comes across as intense as it is meant to be. And that is largely because there is so much here that needs to be done, or that Latour is trying to do.

But still, I loved his characterization of Gwen as a Spider-hero and everything else that came with that. Much as with Doc Ock becoming Spider-Man and calling himself Superior Spider-Man for a thirty-plus issue run, Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman is a breath of fresh air that is very exciting.

Robbi Rodriguez is the internal and cover artist here with Rico Renzi on colours and VC’s Clayton Cowles on letters. The art in the issue is a bit too stylized for my tastes and characters aren’t always consistent, especially Gwen who looks quite different in different panels and faces are often obscured or portrayed from a far-off camera angle. But at the same time, it is also clear that the art is meant to be very energetic. Whether the neon colours that Rico has opted for or the way that Robbi integrates music into Gwen’s life, there is a strong driving force in this issue that keeps you turning the pages. Pretty good fun that.

The story connects with Spider-Verse right at the end of the issue, reminding that there is a larger story at work here, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all fits together.

Rating: 8.5/10

More Edge of Spider-Verse: #1.

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Posted on September 19, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

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