What would you do if interdimensional travel was in the hands of the bad guys? That’s the question that needs asking in Spider-Gwen: Deal with the Devil, a new paperback collection showcasing the time Miles Morales met Spider-Gwen. Originally published in 2017, this collection makes a lot of sense to reprint right now since it’s a heck of a good Spider-Verse companion.
Not only does Miles meet Spider-Gwen, but Spider-Ham, Peni Parker, and other alternate Spider-Man characters pop into the adventure as well. Collected here is Spider-Man (2016) #12-14, and Spider-Gwen (2015B) #16-23. The entire adventure begins in a story by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichellli when Miles finds out his dad is on a top-secret mission for S.H.I.E.L.D.. He’s sent to Spider-Gwen’s universe as interdimensional technology has gotten into the hands of Miles’ dad’s personality from that universe.
As far as highlights are concerned, this story gets to play around with other dimensions too, which is where Spider-Ham comes in along with another dimension’s version of Wolverine. The various alternate dimension characters end up being fun check-ins as the story is more about Miles bonding with Spider-Gwen while trying to fix things. At the time, the creative teams were likely trying to create sparks between these two, which is likely part of the inspiration for the Spider-Verse movie.
Most of this collection is drawn by Robbi Rodriguez with Chris Visions and written by Jason Latour. That gives the book a punk edge visually that’s unmistakable. There’s a great use of splashy color that’s less realistic and more impressionistic. Rico Renzi really shows off the chaos with his colors.
It’s worth noting a big selling point for this story at the time was Miles and Spider-Gwen smooching. This is not, however, a romance story. They come off as friends more than anything.
Truly, the fun of this collection is the zany things that can happen since there are no rules in alternate dimensions. Seeing Matt Murdock as a villain, for instance, is a fun departure from the 616.
Something that doesn’t quite work is the fact that most of this story is framed by a conversation Miles is having with Ganke and his other roommate. The story regularly checks in on Miles telling his friends what happened. The concept slows things way down, especially when Ganke rambles, and it’s entirely unnecessary. One might liken Miles recounting these crazy interdimensional adventures to a kind of fairy tale that’s too crazy to be believed, but it grows tiresome after the first two issues.
It’s worth noting this collection comes in a slightly smaller digest size. This is meant for smaller hands, but it also means it won’t look the best on a shelf. There are other reprints of this story elsewhere if the size is an issue.
Spider-Gwen: Deal with the Devil is a fun interdimensional romp through the “Spider-Verse.” It’s also an often forgotten story that pairs well with anyone dying to see the Spider-Verse sequel and can’t wait any longer.
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