Writer: Jason Latour / Artist: Robbi Rodriguez / Marvel Comics
Radioactive Spider-Gwen is back to the main story – no filler, no Christmas standalone, just the finest Earth-65 has to offer with an added bonus of a callback character tied in from Spider-Women Omega, Superior Cindy Moon. You may recall her whupping Gwen Stacy’s ass and taking her powers in what might be the most disrespectful fight in her superhero career. Cindy – the evil Earth-65 version of the “Silk” Cindy Moon – took a punch from a temporarily confident Gwen and then laughed in her face and felt sorry for her complete inability to fight. (Note: If you didn’t see the fight in Spider-Women Omega or need background on what happened to Gwen’s powers, you can find that review here.) That was when it was most clearly revealed that Gwen might not be worth much without her powers, an ongoing insecurity of hers ever since.
Gwen is currently powerless in secret, except for Earth-65’s crime lord, Matt Murdock, who not only knows about her powerless state and the limited power-ups she uses to compensate, but who also wants to keep Gwen in his pocket to manipulate at will. Gwen made that deal with the devil at the end of the previous arc and now Murdock is coming to cash in, with a little help from his part-time lover, Cindy. Yep, that same Cindy who beat Gwen’s ass and repossessed her powers. Spider-Gwen is clearly in dire straits.
The main conflict here is how Gwen will navigate being someone’s pawn. She has a need, of course, for her powers, but she also has a choice to stand up to the person who only intends to use her. To some extent it’s a very defining moment for her as a hero – whether she’ll compromise herself just to stay relevant or whether she can stand up for what’s right at the risk of losing everything. It should be a great inner struggle to watch Gwen work though, and if Radioactive Spider-Gwen #15 is any indication, expect a great arc.
The holiday specials are over, we’re back to the main event, and we have every reason to look forward to one of our favorite web-slingers again. Daredevil is turning into a more domineering villain with Superior Cindy behind him, along with a poetic and powerful ninja who slices Spider-Gwen up in the type of action scene we haven’t seen in a few months. The artistic team put in work and reminded us just how much we’d been missing scenes like these, and Radioactive Spider-Gwen is back to business as usual as one of the strongest comics on the shelf. Welcome back.
Reading Radioactive Spider-Gwen? Catch up on previous reviews here.