Spider-Gwen and Silk may be getting most of the attention when it comes to spider-themed superheroines, but fans shouldn’t ignore the ongoing Spider-Woman title, which has experienced an upswing in quality after a major change in direction last month. It’s understandable why this series has flown under the radar. The opening arc tying into the “Spider-Verse” event would have worked much better as a tie-in miniseries rather than the start of an ongoing title, and the introduction of Jessica Drew’s new costume and status quo would have made a great #1 issue rather than #5.
Jessica has quit the Avengers and restarted her private investigator business, giving the book a stronger sense of purpose. It feels like this is the story Dennis Hopeless has wanted to write since the start of his run, and all that “Spider-Verse” stuff was just an easy way to boost interest by tying into a big crossover. The change in circumstances has allowed Jessica’s voice to shine brighter in the scripting, and she’s a better fit for the street-level superheroics of this current arc than the crazy cosmic happenings of her first storyline.
New readers can easily jump on board Spider-Woman with last month’s issue, which covers all the necessary backstory and also features the debut of new regular artist/colorist Javier Rodriguez and inker Alvaro Lopez. It’s a considerable upgrade from previous artist Greg Land, moving away from photo-referenced realism to embrace a more stylized, dynamic aesthetic. This preview of next week’s Spider-Woman #6 spotlights Rodriguez’s talent for creating an immersive urban environment (which he honed as the regular fill-in artist on Mark Waid’s Daredevil), and Jessica’s showdown with Señor Suerte specifically draws attention to the artist’s inventive layouts, vivid colors, and nuanced character expressions. It’s a gorgeous book, with a story that’s as engaging as the artwork.