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Spider-Woman #15 – REVIEW

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On the heels of the terrible news that we only have a few issues of Spider-Woman left comes an issue worthy of a blockbuster movie. The energy, battles, and dash of romance all result in the perfect trifecta of superhero storylines. However, I doubt we’ll see Spider-Woman on any big screens soon, so we’ll all just have to get our Jessica Drew fixes through the remaining comics set to be released.

In Spider-Woman #14, the team behind this book spent a significant amount of time on slowly unraveling the mystery behind Porcupine’s death and the Hobgoblin. Instead of wasting too much time with the slow burn, #15 picks up right in the thick of it while unveiling the truth about Roger, his fate, and his ties to my favorite goblin villain. With a competent balance between emotion and action, Spider-Woman #15 is another testament to the team behind this comic and gives me confidence that when this series ends, the conclusion will be equally enticing.

If Dennis Hopeless hasn’t yet won you over, I don’t know why. He’s always understood the sarcastic quipping Jessica Drew, but as he’s spent some time with her and her story, he’s also uncovered the depths of this character. Her rage at the Hobgoblins scheme to rent out old costumes to up-and-coming D-list villains, her determination to stop the costumed Porcupine who attacked her last issue, and her genuine emotions when discovering the whole story behind Roger illustrate the range that Hopeless has.

Jessica Drew is a new mom who wants to do it all, but instead of crafting her as some hot superhero who everyone can drool over, Hopeless highlights her mistakes and her inability to always handle a baby, being a hero, and needing alone time. When she leaves her baby with Carol, it’s not because she wants to, but because she physically cannot do it all. Instead of just forgetting about the baby like many comic writers have done in the past, Hopeless takes the time to demonstrate the strain this life has on Jessica and to show the outcome.

Furthermore, when Ben Urich tells Jess about Hobgoblin’s scheme, she jumps on her bike and darts in his direction without a second thought and it literally blows up in her face. She does the same when encountering the truth about Roger, planning on sifting through all of her feelings later. She’s not perfect. There is the thoughtful Jess who spends time at the beach with her baby and Roger, but there is also the superhero Jess who will defend the one’s she cares about. That’s about as realistic as an exciting superhero comic can afford to get.

Veronica Fish supports this all with superb artwork. In this action-packed issue, Fish pays attention to detail in order to convey the feel of a fast motorcycle on a highway. The movement of the bike is highlighted while the angle of Spider-Woman’s body establishes her haste. Instead of just watching Jess on her bike, the art brings us into the setting and provides the issue with a more realistic feel. In addition to understanding the action this book demands, she also utilizes her talents to underscore the emotional side of this issue.

When Jessica lies across the road with her body outstretched toward the final panels, the longing and shock with which she is grappling is recognized. The expression in her eyes and her movement is all we need to understand her. A good comic artist can take the message of the story and create that without the author needing to add any language, and Veronica Fish has proven herself more than capable of doing this. She and Hopeless are a strong duo that seamlessly forms Jess as a relevant superhero with each issue.

Alongside Fish’s heightened sense of motion and affecting depictions of facial expressions, Rochelle Rosenberg’s coloring adds the street level feel that Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez strived for immediately after “Spider-Verse”. The splashes of color like Jessica’s motorcycle jacket and Hobgoblin’s obnoxiously orange ensemble pop against her darker backgrounds. Her coloring draws the eye in and has you lingering on the page to get the full impact of her work. It establishes a nice harmony between script and art, which is just one more thing I will miss about this comic.

So, Spider-Woman may be coming to an end in the upcoming months, but at least we know that the whole team is ending it all on a strong note. Jessica Drew is no longer the woman whose agency and place in Marvel universe I questioned through Spidiversity, but rather a fleshed out character who I know better than ever before. I look forward to seeing how this chapter of her story ends, and I hope all of you have been along for this awesome ride as well.

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