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Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted? (Spider-Gwen #0)

Write on: Fri, 19 Apr 2019 by  in Charles' Reviews Be the first to comment! Read 1295

4.5/5

SPIDER-GWEN is a character I was introduced to by the INTO THE SPIDERVERSE movie. The character is an alternate universe version of Gwen Stacy who was bitten by the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker instead. Unfortunately, Peter Parker was so jealous of his crush that he created the Lizard formula and accidentally got himself killed in the process. Gwen feels immense guilt for this and struggles with her secret identity, her relationship with her father, and all the various people who want Spider-Gwen's head.

The origin of the comic book Spider-Gwen is due to the controversial SPIDER-VERSE comic book series. While it introduced some new concepts and was based on the very cool video game, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, it had shallow villains as well as too much reliance on shock value. When you kill the Hostess Fruit Pie Spider-Man then you've crossed the editorial Moral Event HorizonTM.

The Spider-Gwen character is an amazing creation and I absolutely love the reversal between her and Peter Parker. For decades, Gwen Stacy has been defined as the girl Spider-Man failed to save. In a real way, Gwen Stacy is the genesis for "Women in Refrigerators" since virtually every other character who has been murdered over the years in comic books has come back from the dead but her emotional impact on Spider-Man is so great that it was better to keep her dead. You know, despite the fact Norman Osbourne has come back and I fully believe Peter Parker would just straight up kill him if he ever saw him again. The only thing keeping Peter from killing him in the first place was the fact Norman killed himself.

The Gwen Stacy of the Spider-Gwen books isn't that similar to the original Gwen Stacy. She's still the daughter of a police captain but depicted as the next-door neighbors of the Parkers (versus Mary Jane Watson), a Grunge rock band drummer, and every bit the tortured young person Peter Parker was. There's very little of the Uptown Girl/Veronica Lodge sort of feel to the original character but that's fine. Characters get reimagined all the time and she has a decent similarity to the Ultimate Gwen Stacy character who carried around a switchblade.

I like the depiction of George Stacy in this book as Spider-Gwen swiftly reveals her secret identity to her father. He's deeply devoted to the law and hates the fact he has to cover up the fact his daughter is a vigilante superhero. He's also terrified about the fact she's going to get herself killed trying to do good when, well, he's doing the same thing in a much less crazy way.

The villains in this book are entertaining with the Vulture being a classic Spidey bad guy adapted to Gwen's world. However, the stand-out villains of this book are the Bodega Bandit and Frank Castle (not the Punisher). The Bodega Bandit is a Hamburgler-esque bad guy who robs the local corn dog place repeatedly...of corn dogs. I instantly loved this character and am glad he exists as a fun harmless villain. Frank Castle's place in this universe is even better as he's what happened if the man never lost his family. His family eventually leaves him because he's a violent headcase and he's barely restrained from going on a killing spree anyway by his job. It's about the best critique of the Punisher concept as you're ever going to get.

The big appeal of Spider-Gwen is it is a return to a simpler age of superheroics without the excessive darkness of, well, the Spider-Verse. The updating of Gwen Stacy is delightful and I love she's best friends with Mary Jane as well as Gloria Grant. I definitely recommend not only this trade but all of its sequels. Spider-Gwen is easily the best thing to happen to Spider-Man since, well, Miles Morales and the best thing to happen to Gwen Stacy in decades.

Last modified on Friday, 19 April 2019 20:43
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.

Website: https://ctphipps.wordpress.com/

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