If you haven’t been following Spider-Woman, you’ve been missing out on an intense action frenzy of a series. It’s also quite important to Jessica Drew’s origin. Karla Pacheco and Pere Perez have taken the character to new places, had her meet important people, and had her ride a dinosaur. Need I say more? In the latest issue, Spider-Woman is seeking a cure to her illness which may also affect her niece, but to do so she has gone along with Octavia Vermis. The mad supervillain and her many clones make for a very awkward day based on the events in this issue.
Set in a hidden volcano lair of the High Evolutionary, the creative team has put Spider-Woman in a position to finally get the cure she has sought. Before we get to the cure, this issue delves into the weirdness of Vermis and a facility of clones hanging about. We also get a chance to meet Vermis’s daughter. The themes of motherhood run deep with Spider-Woman, which allows the narrative to get the reader thinking about Jessica’s headspace through all this. As the story goes, there are double crosses, fight scenes, and some good pathos from the High Evolutionary himself. Like a good drama, it gets messy for Jessica, but also her nemesis.
The book is held together with two exceptional double-page layouts by Perez, which detail the life of Jessica Drew in one, and Octavia Vermis in another. For Vermis, Hydra tentacles break up the panels, weaving in and out of her life to show us the torturous childhood she had and how she turned things around. For Jessica, we get to see what she has gone through in this story via DNA strands weaving in and out. We get to see the violent temper Spider-Woman has endured and how she has not been right for some time. Both layouts help convey what these women have gone through in a vividly gorgeous way.
The rest of the book is well drawn too. Action always has a good sense of fluidity, and there are fun layout flourishes, like one page which uses three panels on a starkly white background and characters standing in front of the panels which create a 3D look. There’s a great full-page splash of High Evolutionary too, which conveys his superiority and supervillain demeanor to a T.
Color artist Frank D’Armata, who also colored Iron Man this week, always seems to enhance scenes with great lighting. A play with shadow when Spider-Woman wakes up early on in the issue creates a sense of dread, while the glint of light on High Evolutionary creates texture on his armor.
Spider-Woman continues to mix high octane action with deep human emotion. With a deft hand, Pacheco continues to keep our interest in the lives of these characters while Perez blows us away panel after panel with great action. It’s a pairing that continues to reap benefits thanks to a rare ability to connect with the characters while also having so much fun with the art.
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