We’ve got another single comic review!
This week, it’s Spider-Woman #5 from Marvel. Dennis Hopeless is the writer, Javier Rodriguez on pencils and colors, Alvaro Lopez on inks, Travis Lanham doing the letters, with Devin Lewis and Charles Beacham as the editors.
How do I grade comics? On the Prince method! (I love the Purple One.) Adore means I loved it and you should buy the book, Beautiful Strange means take it or leave it, and When Doves Cry means to leave the book alone.
So, this is the first issue after Spider-verse, and the status quo is simple: Jessica Drew has decided to go solo, handing in her resignation to both SHIELD and the Avengers. The entire story is about her going solo, how she’s rusty about doing it solo, and then the mystery of the families of supervillains disappearing, brought to her by longtime Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich.
The first time I’d read a Hopeless book was on X-Force. I wasn’t too impressed. This seemed like a good jumping on point, though, and so I decided to give it a try.
For the most part, I’m happy that I did.
Hopeless writes a funny Spider-Woman. Not Spider-Man funny, but definitely a sense of humor with a more mature, more feminine point of view. (Unlike Spider-Gwen, which I reviewed previously.)
My only problem with the story is just how “rusty” Jessica is portrayed to be. Causing mass destruction and inadvertently hurting people. While it’s played for laughs, it just isn’t something that I could really see Jessica doing. She’s been doing this for a long time. She’s trained. She knows what she’s doing. This just doesn’t seem like the actions of a trained hero. Humorous, though.
From a writing standpoint, and that small foible aside, this is a well-written issue. As I said, it’s a jumping on point. You get a very brief introduction of her history, why she’s in a new costume, and a little bit more. Nothing about her powers, but a brief quip about her association with Spider-Man. It’s slick, it’s fast paced, and it keeps you interested. You even get mentions of characters you don’t normally see, like Big Wheel and the Porcupine.
The art is very good, I must say. There was never a time when I was lost, when I didn’t know what I was looking at, or when I thought that something could have been done better. I may not be overly happy with the new “costume” (a pair of shades that are vaguely spidery and a biker jacket with the spider emblem on it), but I can deal with it, because the art more than holds up its end, both in the pencils and the inks.
The coloring is also superb. Unlike Spider-Gwen, there is a richer palette here, even though we’re dealing in what seems like the same timeframe (evening) most of the time. Everything is well defined with the colors, and your eyes are led the way they are meant to be.
The best part of the lettering is the best part of all lettering: it blends into the background, allowing you to read the book. The balloons do what they are supposed to, as do the captions. Overall, extremely solid.
This means that the editors on this book did their job. I enjoyed this a lot more than I did Hopeless’ X-Force, and I attribute that to the editors making him tell a better story. It’s also possible that he connects with Jessica better than he did the cast of X-Force, but I’m betting it was the editorial direction.
The verdict: Adore.