Karla Pacheco and Pere Pérez have invigorated the Spider-Woman franchise, dropping Jessica Drew into a nonstop thriller with ramifications that may change her very origin. In the last issue, a truth bomb was dropped on Spider-Woman’s entire life, along with attacking dinosaurs — I know, her life is complicated, right? Spider-Woman #4 takes the complexity of that cliffhanger and spins it around into an action frenzy, but, is it good?
This is a spoiler-free review, so if you’re expecting details on what happens, go buy this book tomorrow! What you will find in this review is details on what makes this series work. Longtime readers will respect the attention to detail and history (if you haven’t read Jessica Drew’s origin, check out Spider-Women which came out last week), and new readers will respect the thrill ride this series has become. Spider-Woman #3 was a great example of how to tell a thrilling adventure from plane attacks to dinosaur butt-kicking. It had it all. This issue continues to add flavor from both areas keeping the character work present and the action never boring.
This is a story about Jessica coming to grips with her powers and how they connect to her parents. Each issue has a flashback sequence cast in darkness helping to convey the darkness Jessica must overcome when reflecting on her past. You can see it in the preview for this issue. This helps build off of a very dark past so that when Jessica throws caution to the wind and fights all-out in the issue you get the sense she’s overcoming that darkness. Because the action is so over-the-top and entertaining, it’s easy to get through the heavier dialogue and exposition, which has been a feature of the series as well. It can be dense at times, but when you know a rampaging dinosaur fight is in the cards you can let that pass.
This issue deals well with the lying, backstabbing, and untrustworthy nature of Jessica’s family. Her personality has been fun, flighty, and off the cuff, which would suggest she’s a person who is escaping a bit from reality. You get that here and you see why because of what her family says and does. Pacheco is doing good work here to help show why Jessica is the way she is, which makes her behavior earned and believable.
Art by Pérez and colors by Frank D’Armata continue to push the limits of layout design in the best of ways. There’s a page in this book that sees panels make the form of a spider, and another with exciting slashing across the page to increase the chaotic nature of the battles. When you’ve got characters riding dinosaurs in your comic, it’s best to lean into the bizarre insanity of it all and let loose. Pérez and company do that in spades.
This book was made for Spider-Woman fans due to its thorough look at the character’s origin, but it’ll be remembered by the B-movie fanatic. The action is as intense as they come and about as bonkers as you could want to deliver awesome fights, impressive over-the-top moments, and all the while characterizing Spider-Woman in a strong way. Much like how Dark Nights: Death Metal has been a delight thanks to it pushing the limit, I’m starting to see that Pacheco and Pérez have the chops to pull off their own event in the same vein, if Marvel will allow them. This is proof of that.