Last issue, Spider-Woman lost one of her very best friends—and one of the series’ best supporting cast members. This week, we get to witness the fallout. Is it good?
Spider-Woman #14 (Marvel Comics)
- If you’d told me a year ago that I’d actually feel sad about The Porcupine being gone, I would have laughed 🙁
- That Carol/Jessica reunion was equal parts awkward and touching.
- Angry/Grieving Jessica Drew is not to be trifled with.
- “No. You don’t get banter. Not today.”
- Gotta love any comic that features a Bruin appearance.
- Oh no…
Is It Good?
There’s a lot of great stuff in this issue, but the best part of Dennis Hopeless’ script is how he portrays Jessica dealing with her grief over Roger’s death.
This isn’t your typical ‘superheroes reacting to another superhero dying’ situation. There aren’t any big, cheesy speeches or serious people dressed in spandex and looking down at the ground. Jessica struggles to process an immense amount of grief that is also buffeted by rage and guilt. As if that weren’t bad enough, she also has to find a way to compartmentalize her emotions and function as a mother to her infant song.
In other words, this is about as real as grief in a superhero comic gets.
The issue’s emotional impact is ratcheted up even more when Jessica is forced to confront a former friend who wants to be there for her and a person who blames her for much more than Roger’s death.
Just when things can’t seem to get any worse, Hopeless finally gives Jessica something (a lot of somethings, actually) to hit. As expected, artist Veronica Fish goes to town on this portion of this issue. Everything she draws is great, but her action sequences are some of the best in the business. Whether it’s a string of perfectly paneled sequences or one panel with a flurry of kinetic motion, Fish turns Jessica Drew into one of the best hand-to-hand fighters in the Marvel Universe—a one woman wrecking crew who could give a horde of Hand ninjas (or a bar full of C and D-listers) all they can handle and them some.
As Drew’s violent quest for justice escalates, Hopeless deftly balances the story’s requisite intensity with his usual dashes of humor. The issue’s last few pages are exhilarating, leaving both Jessica and the reader in complete suspense about just how terrible things might actually be.
As someone who’s become completely jaded about how superhero comics deal with death, it’s both shocking and surprising to find such a brutally genuine portrayal of it here. When you add in Spider-Woman #14’s kick-ass action and incredibly compelling narrative, you’d be hard pressed to find a single-issue story better than this one.
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