Spider-Woman #11 kicks off a new story arc that promises the old red and yellow costume will return. It’s a jumping-on point issue for sure — who is the villain, what is the conflict, and do Pere Pérez and Karla Pacheco still have the secret sauce?
This issue is indeed a good jumping-on point for readers thanks to a handy recap intro page, but also a brand new direction for the character. One might even call the first ten issues “season 1” for Pacheco and Pérez, as this issue embarks on a more personal and family-focused narrative for Spider-Woman. She’s still reeling a bit from the chaos of clones, space travel, and her mother, but she’s also moving on from all that a bit empowered and happy to be back with her boyfriend Roger, aka Porcupine.
Two things work very well with this issue from a character standpoint. The first is Roger’s demeanor and nervousness — it plays against Jessica’s high energy and chaotic nature well in the issue. It also serves as a way to prepare readers for the big cliffhanger that should have fans giddy with what comes next. It’s the characterization of these two that hold the book together and adds some nervous tension. Jessica is so gung-ho and heroic that she can’t see what we’re seeing with Roger, which lets the reader in on a secret of sorts. Meanwhile, Jessica’s high energy is infectious and hard to resist.
That energy leads to the other things that works really well: the great action and quipping from Spider-Woman. Pérez continues to slice and dice with layouts while Jessica attempts to make with the funny, which doesn’t always work, but that’s kind of her charm. This action scene also plays into the opening quite well and should have fans wondering what surprises the return of the red and yellow costume might have.
The action scene is impressive, especially given there’s a fairly common crime taking place and the villains aren’t well known or even that compelling. And yet, you’re still captivated with every sword thrust and dodge of Spider-Woman. Pérez is also very good at stretching out panels in a way that doesn’t feel like a waste.
Also, there’s a very random tool Spider-Woman uses to enact justice you’ll have to see to believe. It’s not an easy thing to draw but Pérez makes it easy to follow and understand how Spider-Woman is using it.
Pérez also delivers a great final scene thanks to well-blocked-out interactions between the characters. You feel for the characters in different ways, be it their loneliness, or their inability to see past their own nose. The second-to-last page uses long thin panels that help draw a line between characters opening themselves up or closing them off as they walk away. There’s great blocking at work that tells its own story.
Sound effects and lettering are on point in this issue by Travis Lanham as well. It’s easy to miss how often sound effects are used in this book since they’re so well placed. There are a lot of different sounds with different fonts, outlines, and colors, which helps add even more energy to Pérez’s lines. Hell, there’s even a sound effect that makes up the edges of a panel! Word Balloons also do some unique things to draw emphasis, like a gray and red outline.
Combining character drama with action, Spider-Woman #11 is a near-perfect single-issue comic book. The joy Spider-Woman feels while kicking butt is infectious and fun. The art continues to be incredibly creative and different, be it layout design or sound effects making even the most nondescript villain look like an A-lister. Pickup Spider-Woman if you’re looking for high-energy and highly entertaining action comics.
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