Spi­der- Gwen

Does what­ever a Spi­der- Man can

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated comics -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

Pub­lisher: Marvel Comics Writer: Ja­son La­tour Artist: Robbi Ro­driguez

We’re experiencing a pretty pro­gres­sive pe­riod in the comics in­dus­try. There are more solo fe­male books in pro­duc­tion than ever be­fore. Sig­nif­i­cantly for a busi­ness that has tra­di­tion­ally led teenage boys by the hor­mones, char­ac­ter de­signs for this new wave of women war­riors don’t break the rules of bi­ol­ogy just so they can spill out of im­prac­ti­cal out­fits.

And char­ac­ter de­sign is an im­por­tant el­e­ment of Spi­der- Gwen’s jour­ney to her own solo book, which, even in the con­text of a busi­ness that’s sud­denly re­alised women’s money is as good as men’s, is fairly rev­o­lu­tion­ary.

There’s no get­ting away from it, Spi­der- Gwen has an in­cred­i­ble cos­tume. Ini­tially in­tended as merely a sup­port­ing char­ac­ter in Marvel’s cast- of- thou­sands Spi­der- Man event Edge Of Spi­der- Verse, Gwen Stacy’s punk rock back­story and beau­ti­fully de­signed threads struck a power- chord with fans, who im­me­di­ately started cre­at­ing fan art and cos­play out­fits to ex­pand their new icon’s pres­ence, bring­ing her out of her par­al­lel uni­verse and into our real world. Spi­der- Gwen’s im­age spread across the in­ter­net like the ra­dioac­tive poi­son of a su­per- spi­der through its host’s body, and Marvel took note. They've re­tained the cre­ative team for Gwen's solo ad­ven­tures, and Robbi Ro­driguez's gutsy art is a def­i­nite high­light of this se­ries.

But it’d be a mis­take to credit Gwen’s pop­u­lar­ity solely to her looks. In Spi­der- Verse, a com­plex cross­over story fol­low­ing a vil­lain’s at­tempt to mur­der ev­ery par­al­lel ver­sion of Spi­der- Man, told via a mix­ture of main- book tie- ins and solo- book minis­eries, Ja­son La­tour made Gwen’s per­son­al­ity shine brighter than a Spi­der- Sig­nal. That trend con­tin­ues in Spi­der- Gwen's first few is­sues. Like Peter Parker be­fore her, Stacy strug­gles with bal­anc­ing her iden­ti­ties – she's fallen out with the mem­bers of the all- girl punk rock group she drums for, she's clash­ing with her de­tec­tive dad ( the only per­son who knows she's a su­per­hero) and, by her third is­sue, she's man­aged to line up more su­pervil­lains than a Sam Raimi three­quel. We don't want to spoil a fairly bril­liant re­veal, but you'll recog­nise the name/ look of one of Gwen's foes, though def­i­nitely not the be­hav­iour…

This play­ful ap­proach to char­ac­ters we know and love is part of the fun of Spi­der- Gwen. Here, the Vul­ture is Wal­ter White with wings, and Frank Cas­tle is a po­lice of­fi­cer with a pen­chant for skull t- shirts. But, most sig­nif­i­cantly, Stacy her­self fizzes with life.

Spi­der- Woman and Silk cur­rently have their own web- spin­ning spun- off spi­der- books on shelves, but Spi­der- Gwen stands out with her own clear iden­tity; she's a mod­ern teenager with a fem­i­nist edge. And there’s some­thing in­cred­i­bly joy­ous about Stacy, the most iconic ex­am­ple of the “fridg­ing ” trope ( where male he­roes are in­spired by the death of women), be­ing given new life via her own glee­fully fun hero’s jour­ney. Sam Ashurst

She’s a mod­ern teenager with a fem­i­nist edge

Smile for a selfie.

The look that launched a thou­sand cos­plays.

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