My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I feel like I am in the minority about this graphic novel (and character) as she is called the ‘breakout character hit of the year’ and I’m just not on board. I love Gwen Stacy, but this series just did not hit the right notes for me. I read the first three bind ups (so about 18 issues) and I wasn’t in love.
I think the first problem they faced is that she was introduced in another series of the Spider-Verse and didn’t receive a proper origin story in her own comic. As such, readers go into this story utterly confused. First, her name is Gwen Stacy and she is Spider-Woman – not Spider-Gwen, that’s just the name of her comic run. (Even though she’s not the only Spider-Woman in the Verse and has the ability to jump into different universes. An explanation for that? Nah, let’s just hope the readership is really good at suspending disbelief without any substantiation.)
I suspect that a bit of her origin story was seen in whatever comic run she originated in, but it would have been nice to see it in this series. You cannot just assume that readers have read every Spider-Verse comic and would know her backstory. In this universe, Gwen was bitten by the radioactive spider rather than Peter. Instead of seeing that happen, we are thrown significantly forward in future as Gwen deals with the aftermath of Peter’s death and her guilt – emotional weight? None, because we’re just repeated told this terrible thing happened but we never got to experience it with the characters.
I had so much hope for and love of Gwen Stacy going into the Spider-Gwen comics, but I was disappointed. I don’t know if I will read the rest of the series eventually – I do know that I need a break from them for a while if I am to attempt it. So much potential and so much disappointment from this series. I generally like the art though?