Like most Spider-kids of the 90s, I am a Hobgoblin fan. For me, the man in orange always intrigued me more than the Green Goblin, and although I’ve discovered many other Spider-Man villains that have created memorable stories, the Hobgoblin always holds a special place in my heart. Thus, when I found out that he would be going toe to toe with Spider-Woman, I was all for it. What could be better than fiesty Jessica Drew, the Porcupine, Ben Urich, and the Hobgoblin? Luckily, writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Veronica Fish don’t let us down with Spider-Woman #13.
Before we jump into Goblin territory, Hopeless gives us a peek into Jessica’s everyday life as a mom, superhero, and woman. So often with comics, once one simple story line is wrapped up it is never heard of again. However, with Hopeless this is not the case. Moon’s Hollow and the women who fought for their rights there are not just a part of Jess’ past, but a part of her present. When she helped these women preserve their sanctuary, she did so knowing she was taking on part of the responsibilty for them. It’s refreshing to see a superhero actually follow up with something they helped create. We’re not meant to pick up issue after issue and forget about one storyarch when another begins; Hopeless forces us to pay attention to the story as a whole. This is the story of Jessica Drew, not a specific case.
As she balances all the conflicting parts of her life, Jess also creates some humor for readers. If there was ever a panel I enjoyed more than the one of Jess chomping on food while in the shower, I cant think of it now.I’m pretty sure I did the exact same thing as a ragged college student. The entire scene at her apartment feels like something a real person would do when trying to juggle too many things at once, and it’s scenes like this that have made Jessica Drew more memorable than she has been in years. She’s much more than a superhero, and we now come to her for the same earthly reasons why we’re drawn to Peter Parker.
While it starts off with typical action sequences and humor, #13 lulls you into the false sense that this is any other fun Spider-Woman issue. Instead, it’s one that results in some big gamechanging moves that will impact Spider-Woman more than her quarrel with Captain Marvel ever could. By the end of the issue, I was ready to curl up in a ball and cry. If you flip from the very first page to the last, everything from the darker coloring to the more serious tone underline what a stark contrast there is from the Jessica we begin with to the one we see at the end. As most comic fans know, rarely is anything permanent in the world of Marvel. While I know that, I still feel broken by what Hopeless does within the final pages. This quality more than anything emphasizes what a great writer he is.
Complementing Hopeless’ script is Veronica Fish once again. I still find some of the facial expressions she creates off-putting. There are mouths that seem too askew and eyes that don’t quite appear even; however, with each issue she gets a firmer grasp on this comic and she’s starting to win me over. The best scenes are those where Rachelle Rosenberg highlights her art with stark coloring. When we finally get Hobgoblin towards the end of the issue, his most powerful panel is one finished in red and black as Fish depicts the violence of this encounter. She understands movement as well as the importance of emotion within a panel, and she’s more than capable of conveying both to readers.
This isn’t an issue of Spider-Woman I am going to forget anytime soon. It has everything that I’ve come to love about this series and more. There’s the humor and attention to detail I expect, as well as some serious emotional discussions and real shocks. It’s a roller coaster issue, and I am ready for the rest of the ride right now.