Spider-Woman (Issue 1) (Marvel) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Spider-Woman (Issue 1)


Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Alex Maleev; Cover by Alex Maleev and Alex Ross

Sep 28, 2009 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The debut issue of Spider-Woman is an OK, albeit belated first step. Marvel delayed Jessica Drew’s rebooted run to give time for the motion comic adaption to be finished. Originally this comic was meant to be a direct follow-up to the maxiseries Secret Invasion. Instead, we get hazy references to the Skrull Queen inhabiting Drew’s body/mind, thus severing her ties with New Avengers. Her “woe is me” drama doesn’t come off quite as compelling as five-time Eiser recipient Brian Michael Bendis (House of M, New Avengers) probably intended.

The issue commences with Drew dejected in the city streets thinking that her life is even worse off that Wolverine’s (that’s pretty bad). Fresh readers that aren’t familiar with her backstory probably won’t see why she’s so suicidal. Bendis leaves the story threads dangling like old cobwebs between alleyways. Artist Alex Maleev (Daredevil) fares slightly better but his “gritty” style reads more like “washed out” and “muddy.”

In scope and artistic direction, the duo’s work here recalls Bendis’ 2001-2004 Alias run with Michael Gaydos. When Drew gets her first assignment in Madripoor (Southeast Asia) the colors run together and you can barely see the characters through the rain. It’s Maleev’s usual 16mm-camera style but here it’s more annoying than anything else.

At this time, a welcome backstory is finally given by Bendis, though it’s a little too late for the puzzled. Drew is recruited by Agent Brand to be an alien hunter for S.W.O.R.D., which preps the issue for ending on a definite high note. Even Spider-Man makes a welcome guest appearance.

There’s no need to spoil the surprise at the end but it’s the most exciting narrative switcheroo to be found in Spider-Woman #1. Drew continues to complain up until the end though. As far as the dialogue is concerned, her self-loathing really drags the comic through the mud.

Once again, longtime collaborator Maleev lends the overly dark themes a path for betterment with his interesting approach to motion as art. He used a model as a photo reference for Drew and it works well enough in static compositions, but during the tussle with Spider-Man he kicks it up a notch. Action panels have always been his forté.

Also, his dual covers with Alex Ross are pretty neat. Hopefully future installments of Spider-Woman will feature more S.W.O.R.D. ass-kicking. Bendis’ boisterous displays of public affection for Spider-Woman ring slightly hollow here. (www.marvel.com)

Author rating: 4/10

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