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Spider-Women: Omega #1 – REVIEW

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It’s undeniable that Marvel has chosen to put more of a spotlight on female superheroes in recent years, and while there are still improvements that need to happen, there’s been an upward trajectory for women in comics. Characters like Gwen Stacy, who are largely known for their relationships with a male lead, are being brought to the forefront and given distinctive personalities and styles. Yet there hasn’t been an event like “Spider-Women” before.

Spider-Women_Omega_Preview_1The minute I found out about a Spider-themed event that didn’t revolve around Peter Parker, but rather the underappreciated Spider-females, I was intrigued. This small-scale event has served up some engaging action and a lot of focus on how superheroes juggle their public and private lives. It hasn’t promised to change everything as we know it, and that’s its strength. Spider-Women: Omega ties this event up in a neat bow and recovers from the shaky parts of previous issues, resulting in one satisfying, impactful story overall.

While my overall opinion of Omega is that it is amazing, the problems that I do have appear right at the beginning. Jumping from Gwen impulsively grabbing her powers back in Earth-616 to a scene in media res in Earth-65 isn’t the smoothest of transitions. Many of the threads left off in the previous issues of Silk and Spider-Woman are entirely dropped by the time we reach Omega. Most distractingly, the cliffhanger of Silk once again teaming up with Black Cat is entirely forgotten as Cindy joins the girls for one final battle against S.I.L.K. It baffles me that Cindy could be ditched by Gwen, decide to faithfully follow Felicia, and somehow end up back in Earth-65 bugging Reed Richards for a Super-Adaptoid suit.

Despite the awkward beginning, Dennis Hopeless knows how to write a funny, dynamic story. As always, he jives with both Jess and Jesse Drew, but he also crafts Silk in a humorous, lighthearted way that I find charming. She’s not the mopey girl desperate to find any connection to her parents, and this growth is refreshing. If you’ve been listening to my thoughts about this event on Ultimate Spin, you know that my newfound admiration of Silk might be the sign of the apocalypse. Hitherto, I was entirely anti-Silk. Sure, I’ve enjoyed “Spider-Women,” although most of that has been despite Cindy not because of her. However, seeing her in a big green suit mimicking heroes like Captain America wins me over. If nothing else, this issue is worth a read for scenes like this, and if you don’t believe me, just read the sendoff that our cool newcomer Jesse gets.

Spider-Women_Omega_Preview_2The essential humor is found on nearly every page, though that doesn’t mean Hopeless allows the characters to fall off to the wayside. When we started, Gwen had a definite superiority complex and Cindy an inherent need to do things on their own. By the time we reach Omega, it’s clear that “Spider-Women” isn’t just intended to be a freefalling event with little purpose, but one that will have ripple effects as each of these titles goes on. Gwen is challenged to really think about what she’s doing and her purpose as a hero, while Cindy is forced to accept that it’s time to move on. I’ve seen Gwen grow in previous issues of Spider-Gwen and Radioactive Spider-Gwen, but not in this manner that challenges her confidence in her powers. Hopeless, as well as the other writers who’ve contributed to the event, tests his heroes, and that makes the comedy and the final payoffs all the better.

As Hopeless knocks it out of the park with his script, he continues to be aided by memorable artists. The panel that initially won me over was the silhouetted, expressive moment of battle between Jessica and Earth-65 Cindy. It’s uncluttered and still conveys a great deal, something that not everyone can pull off. Nico Leon has a different take on comic art than the saturated physical art of Javier Rodriguez and the spot-on facial expressions from Joelle Jones, and his outside of the box style is the right fit for Omega. Throughout these pages, he does his best work with Earth-65 Cindy. He inherently clicks with her and fashions everything from her expressions to her fighting style in a way that communicates her personality to the reader. The fact that Hopeless and Leon interpret two Cindy Moons in ways that I find captivating is a testament to their talent. Admittedly, there are a few awkward faces, especially the terrifying one that Jessica’s baby sports under Leon’s hand. Nevertheless compared to Spider-Women: Alpha, there is little to critique.

With the end of “Spider-Women,” I would classify this story as less of an event and more of a journey, as cheesy as that may sound. Still, it has been fun. Jessica is the perfect guide for her two novice friends, even as she embarks on this confusing journey as a mother herself. More importantly, I think we’ll see the ripple effects of this story later on as Gwen grapples with her choice to be a Spider-Woman and Cindy grows up from being the girl stuck in the bunker. This crossover has allowed each writer and artist to contribute to a story while having freedom to craft an event that doesn’t have to result in some endgame intended to promote a movie. This freedom lead to Omega, one of the smoothest finales to any Spider-event, and an essential read for anyone interested in seeing an empowering, diverse group of women learn to grow together while getting stuff done.

Listen to our discussion of this issue on the Ultimate Spin podcast.

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