Review: Spider-Woman #5

As Spider-Verse concludes, Jessica Drew starts over

I don’t know if i’ll ever understand why Spider-Woman #5 wasn’t the first issue of this series. As far as debuts go, I found the actual first issue to be a mess. The complete reliance on Spider-Verse along with the art by Greg Land was more than enough for me to stop reading after only two issues with little intention of returning. That said, after reading the latest issue, I’m certainly glad I came back.

Spider-Woman, art by Javier Rodriguez

When we first meet Jessica Drew, she quickly sets new goals for herself and re-establishes what her life as a superhero will look like going forward. She’s quickly thrown into the action as she meets with reporter Ben Urich who asks her to consider investigating strange disappearances related to the families of supervillains. Jess eventually, reluctantly, agrees to take this case on. It’s an interesting angle that Spider-Woman writer Dennis Hopeless sets in motion and is something that should keep readers invested.

The original start to the series was clearly a move made by someone higher up at Marvel as Hopeless almost, in my opinion, remained fairly silent throughout the promotional period of it. Short of a couple of interviews here and there, you’d almost think he didn’t write it, or wasn’t totally confident with what he’d put down on paper. I mean, Jess herself even makes mention of the infamous cover for the first issue by artist Milo Manara, which i’d have to assume is sort of his way of smashing through whatever walls his editors were placing in front of him.

On this other hand, this “relaunch” seems like we’re actually seeing Hopeless flexing his creative muscles. He establishes very quickly the tone of the book and the shift in direction. Jessica’s new mission is simple: no multiverse crossovers, no Earth-threatening baddies. As she explains in the first few pages of the book, she’s taking a grassroots approach to her duties as a superhero which includes a brand new look and what feels like a refreshing new attitude overall, even compared to the person we saw in the first arc of the series. Short of a couple awkward lines in the early part of this book, it works. Throughout this issue, she’s smart, independent, and confidently cool.

Gone are the heavily photo-referenced pages by Greg Land. Instead, we have a bright, vibrant, and energetic look brought to life by artist Javier Rodriguez, and inker Alvaro Lopez. Panels feel very fluid and have a sense of motion to them that was definitely lacking in the first few issues. The intense use of colour, akin to something you’d see from Marcos Martin, works so well for not only Jessica Drew’s new style but for the whole tone the creative team is trying to push. It’s a very welcome change that really helps drive the point home that this isn’t the same comic people were reading last month.

Spider-Woman, art by Javier Rodriguez

Spider-Woman #5 could easily be considered the debut issue of the series. Short of a couple small references to her origin, Spider-Verse and her involvement in Secret Invasion, there’s almost nothing linking this issues with any of the previous Spider-Woman material, which is probably for the best.

If you’ve been skipping out on Spider-Woman, i’d certainly consider giving it another look. It’s a great jumping on point for new readers. There’s not only a lot of fun things happening in this issue but, from the looks of things, this entire upcoming story arc.

Spider-Woman #5 is available in stores and digitally now.