writer: Jason Latour / artist: Robbi Rodriguez / Marvel Comics
“Wuh thu fuh!” Clever wordplay and a series of four-letter words written in special characters show Jason Latour trying his hardest to keep Spider-Gwen rated PG. And it works too, keeping dialogue realistic for adults while adding a touch of humor with each witty non-curse. I don’t have children so pushing the limits doesn’t bother me – actually, they probably wouldn’t bother me even if I did – but I have to wonder, how do parents feel about a comic with the caption “stupid #@#$&%# kids”?
Issue #4 delves deeper into Gwen shouldering the blame for Peter Parker’s death in her alternate reality. Still adjusting to her life as a superhero, Gwen struggles with self-doubt and being an all-around outcast, all the while wielding enough self-awareness to allow readers to see her character’s growth in her constant inner-dialogues. Like previous issues of Spider-Gwen, the story here takes place as much in her head as the actual happenings around her, and that’s why this book continues to be a fun read. You like being in Gwen’s head.
Uncle Ben plays his role as the wise and cordial adult figure – the sage we all wish we had in our lives – and it’s sort of eerie to see him in absence of Peter. Without Peter for him to guide, Uncle Ben has loads of truisms he’s probably just waiting to unload on any young person who’ll listen, because you know Aunt May stopped listening to him the same year she stopped drinking his bad coffee.
Spider-Gwen faces the common themes you would expect, but they also slipped gentrification into this issue with some brief subtlety. It’s not explored as a major plot point, but the nod to the subject from the perspective of a couple young street taggers makes the comic feel more modern and less recycled cliché.
Robbie Rodriguez and Rico Renzi continue with great art, particularly with action scenes of Spider-Gwen’s bright white costume or The Mary Janes jamming in orange. The neon greens, yellows, and pinks seem here to stay.
The weird thing about this comic to me is that it still doesn’t have a clear plot, and I’ve yet to answer the question “what’s this story about?” Even stranger is that I don’t even care. Gwen is enough to carry it for now until the plot catches up, and when it does this will be a must-read series.
Oh, and I love Glory. I knew I would.
You can read reviews of previous Spider-Gwen issues here.
Score: 8 out of 10