It has been a slow rollout, but Karla Pacheco and Pere Pérez have revealed a new side to Jessica Drew’s powers and her personality. Spider-Woman has been electric — probably why the first issue was the highest-selling book of the month — and its first arc is on a crash course to find more out about her powers. In the latest issue, Jessica continues to help a CEO who’s probably all right, but still seems shady. He has a cute kid he’s trying to save with Jessica’s help, though!
This issue is a direct continuation of the last issue with Jessica helping CEO Michael Marchand find a cure for his daughter, at least partially because it’ll come in handy with her own kid. Family is a concept that runs throughout this book, hinted at in the last issue and connected to this issue in a few different ways. We see it with a nice check-in with Jessica’s son and where he is, but also the care Marchand gives his daughter, who is fully introduced here. Fans of Spider-Woman are going to need to read this issue as it seems to suggest a major reveal is in order, but how do you trust a world where scientists want to use you for experiments?
This book shakes out into three major action sequences that are decidedly espionage in flavor. The first involves Jessica helping get Marchand and his daughter out safe, and the second involves a dangerous dogfight in the sky. Both have the zip one desires in a superhero comic. Pérez is very good at showing Spider-Woman’s agility and strength. You see it in a kick, in the stretching out of her body as she lunges, or in her ability to balance like a spider. There are two pages in the closing action sequence that put the pedal to the metal thanks to one 9-panel page and then a 15-panel page. It speeds things up into mini slices showing how quick Jessica is as she rumbles with some sharp-toothed baddies.
Something that works with this series is Jessica’s attitude. She relishes the moment in the heat of battle and truly enjoys it. It may be a side effect of getting powered up, but she seems like a speed-freak now and likes the rush. This is infectious as a reader and makes her experience more fun and light-hearted. Planes might be trying to shoot you out of the air, but when the hero is comfortable enough to have a big smile on their face, it’s a delight to read.
Frank D’Armata colors this book very well, and you see it on the very first page as Jessica fights in darkness. Little details like a light illuminating on the crest of a mountaintop, or the blast coming out of her hands, have a believable quality. There’s a sound effect that’s really cool too, splashed with yellow and pink that enhances the “Crack” effect.
In the grand scheme of things, the delays have certainly hurt this book a bit. The plotting and flow of this issue, for instance, feels a bit stunted, throwing one conflict after another at Jessica to fight through while Marchand refuses to tell her a single thing. The cliffhanger gives his lack of detail a good reason, but it’s still frustrating to get a few answers and actions. Likely my trepidation will ease when read in one sitting.
Spider-Woman #3 is a good improvement on the last issue as it begins to focus in on the undercurrent of family while delivering on Jessica’s reveling of being a kickass superhero. Spider-Woman is a thriller that packs a punch with trancelike action you shouldn’t miss.