Writer: Jason Latour / Artist: Robbi Rodriguez / Marvel Comics
Gwen Stacy’s merge with the symbiote waits a bit longer than readers want at this point, as Spider-Gwen #24 takes the scenic route in this issue instead of jumping straight into the long-awaited Gwenom. After Spider-Gwen #23 took a break from the action to omit Gwen altogether to focus on the Mary Janes, you wouldn’t be alone if you expected the payoff to be immediate as we return to the main story. After all, Spider-Gwen #22 ended with the symbiote bearing down on Spider-Gwen before we essentially broke for commercial. Issue #24 picks up from there, but we take a slight detour: the symbiote merges with Wolverine, and in the briefest of team-ups Kitty Pride and Spider-Gwen team up to save him.
The team-up is too short to have impact or meaning, as the side plot is so quickly resolved it can barely be considered a side plot at all. Rather it reads more like a stall, delaying the inevitable with no recognizable purpose other than saving the Gwenom reveal for the end. When the real drama does happen though, the tension is where it belongs, and where you wish it had been sooner.
The challenge for here on will be utilizing Gwenom to push our story plot further instead of another side quest that distracts from a long-game plot that has had too many distractions already. The feeling we once felt from Matt Murdock – remember when he first appeared in that mask, and met with Cindy Moon? – that feeling has dissipated as this story has been sidetracked time and again, so there are two ways this can go: Gwenom moves the plot significantly forward in a direct clash to overcome Matt Murdock and rid her and her father from his influence, or Gwenom is used glibly for superficial insight into Gwen’s “dark side” and some light comedy. The area in between is narrow.
This series is of course worth sticking around to find out. It would be worth the time alone to see the creative art directions Rodriguez and Renzi can take with this new spin on Venom. Quippy dialogue, fun art, and a new side of Gwen Stacy make for a high ceiling. How high it can reach, we’ll know soon enough.
Reading Spider-Gwen? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.