Since the Spider-Woman #5 issue which released after “Spider-Verse,” Jessica Drew has tried to lead a quieter life. Between giving birth in a black hole, getting stuck on Earth-65, and having to teach Porcupine how to hold his own in a fight, simple hasn’t been easy. Now, dragged into the second Civil War by Carol Danvers, Jess once again finds herself wading through the landmine of superhero standoffs.
Still, despite the animosity between Iron Man and Captain Marvel, Spider-Woman’s chapter in this event is categorized by the signature charm and humor that has defined this book for over a year now. Jessica Drew cannot be who we’ve come to love without her sass, bumbling entourage, and knack for getting into sticky situations, so that’s exactly what the gentlemen behind this comic always try to deliver. Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez once again come together to craft a dependable read that gets to the heart of who Spider-Woman is. However, this particular issue lacks the excitement of the truly masterful comics this series is known for and feels more like filler before the good stuff goes down in Spider-Woman #11.
Jumping off where Spider-Woman #9 left off, Jessica is testing Ulysses’ predictions alongside the naturally cerebral Ben Urich. In order for Jess to grasp exactly what Ulysses’ powers encompass, Hopeless depicts a number of predictions that lead Jess everywhere from alleys in New York to the moon. He utilizes this type of montage quite a bit in various issues, but it never ceases to result in laughs. Spider-Woman, Porcupine, and Ben have a unique way of always finding themselves against the most ridiculous villains, and this is no exception. We get to see an rousing new lineup of D-listers and the all-star groups’ reaction to them all. It’s a quick way to show the reader just what Jessica has signed up for as well as underscoring her unique take on the situation.
Although Hopeless makes sure to bring the humor in this issue, he also highlights the more serious side of this event. Sure, a TETRIS situation with a woman who could be your grandmother is probably one of the more exciting things that Ulysses predicts; yet, on the flip side there are people dying and a morality question at the core of “Civil War II,” and the Spider-Woman title has to tackle that as well. Jessica is forced to leave her ambivalent feelings about Ulysses behind once this event hits much closer to home, and we immediately see her demeanor become fiery. There is a lot of potential emotional fallout at the end of this issue, hinting that this event will impact Jess’ life in ways that will ripple out past its conclusion. This is no light event like “Spider-Women.” Jessica has had her fun, and now it’s all taking a turn for the worst, and Hopeless wants you to know that.
While I am Javier Rodriguez’s biggest cheerleader, the art lost me at points. With Veronica Fish providing the finishes, it isn’t the most stellar work I’ve seen in the pages of Spider-Woman. There are many panels where Jess’ hands look too small or her head seems much bigger than the rest of her body. It’s not just her visuals that are off either; the close-up of Captain Marvel’s face toward the end of the book also throws me. The placement of her hand and the size of her nose make me feel like I need to squint in order to capture the artist’s real intent. The perspective is occasionally off and isn’t up to Rodriguez’s usual standard. However, not all is a failure. As always, the large spreads are engaging and add a vibrant quality to the comic. For a series that shines due to its absurd villains, street level crime, and private investigation, the action-filled panels bring a whole other superhero dimension to the story.
Though I enjoyed this issue, its purpose is to lay the foundation for Jess’ bigger role in “Civil War II,” not provide a ton of answers to anxious readers. There are many threads left open, such as how this event will impact Carol and Jessica’s close friendship and what Jess will ultimately decide about Ulysses. At this point, it’s a nonessential read unless you’re obsessively following anything involving Spider-Woman or “Civil War II.” I stand by Dennis Hopeless’ and Javier Rodriguez’s consistently spectacular product; I just didn’t finish this issue and feel the need to run into the streets and tell everyone to go buy a copy.