13th Aug2019

‘Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #1-10′ Review

by Phil Wheat

spider-gwen-ghost-spider-art

I’m a huge fan of Spider-Gwen. At first drawn to the look of the character, which is easily one of the best designs to have come out of Marvel in years, it turned out she was, across numerous books, a well-written and well-formed character too. Like Peter Parker, Spider-Gwen was flawed, more human than super-human and she also had her own troubles.

Skip forward to the huge spider-verse crossover Spider-Geddon and Spider-Gwen’s story was re-written somewhat. And she was officially rebranded as Ghost Spider – fitting given the look of her costume. This new iteration of the character got a brand new book to go with the new name, the somewhat clumsily monickered Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider. The first few books of this series tie directly into the Spider-Geddon storyline, but come book 6 and this comic comes into it’s own. Shame then it had to end with issue 10…

Why?

I don’t know really. I get the idea that Marvel were trying to bring the continuities of Marvel Rising, where the character was called Ghost Spider, together with that of the 616 universe, where her book was called Spider-Gwen but the character was called Spider-Woman; but the confusion has led to the ending of a book seemingly for yet ANOTHER name change.

Spider-Gwen’s story originated in a one-shot, a What If? style book that asked what would’ve happened if Gwen Stacey was bitten by a radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker. Her story the evolved within a parallel Earth, Earth-65, which took many of the elements of Marvel’s core 616 universe and twisted them on their head: such as Matt Murdock being Kingpin rather than Daredevil! With Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider her story continued further as she explored her identity in a universe where she was free to travel between worlds… You see THIS Spider-Gwen had, thanks to the events of Spider-Geddon, a dimension-jumping device that allowed her to not only visit other Earth’s but learn from their Spider-folk too.

And this Spider-Gwen really needed to learn a lot. After the events of Spider-Geddon this Gwen Stacey was plagued by death – the death of her friends, the death of fellow Spider men and women and it troubles her throughout all ten issues of this book – even moreso towards the end of the run as we leave Spider-Geddon behind and Gwen tries to make a “life” of sorts on her Earth. It also adds new threads to Spider-Gwen’s story: the lack of control of her suit at times, the affects of her powers on her body and how she relates to the public at large given everyone on Earth-65 knows who this spider-woman is.

Unfortunately despite all the hard work put into by the team of Seanan McGuire, Rosi Kampe and Takeshi Miyazawa, it would seem this particular run has been nothing more than a transitional title. A book to get us from Spider-Geddon to the new-named Ghost-Spider #1, picking up plot threads from the former and leaving new threads to lead us into the latter. Which also means that the final issue of this series, issue #10, doesn’t really do anything to wrap up this tale. Instead it hopes to satiate its readers with the notion that Spider-Gwen has now come to terms with her new life on Earth-65 and her role as one of the many spider-people in the universe, settling on the name “Ghost Spider” come the books denouement.

As someone who is something of a lapsed comic fan, I actually added Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider to my monthly pull-list so to see such a lacklustre end to a book that had plenty of steam still left was something of a disappointment. Hopefully the change in name, Marvel’s usual love of rebooting a series so they can sell a myriad number ones and hook new readers in (dear god, you’d think people would still get into books that are under a year old and still only in double-digits) won’t damage the solid reputation this book and the work of Seanan McGuirem Rosi Kampe and Takeshi Miyazawa.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

If you haven’t read any of this particular strand of Spider-Gwen I would, despite my concerns at how Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider has ended/been rebooted, still consider picking up the trades – the first of which is out now, with volume 2 due in September.

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