Writer: Jason Latour
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
As one of the latest phenomena in the comics industry, the pressure to put out a compelling first issue was certainly on for writer Jason Latour, artist Robbi Rodriguez, and colorist Rico Renzi. With over 200,000 pre-orders, a huge fan base, and a cosplay opportunity that caught fire on the con circuit, Spider-Gwen #1 was a smashing success long before anyone got their hands on the first copy.
The story follows up on Edge of the Spider-Verse #2 (sort of), which really should be considered the zero issue for this series. There is little recap of those events, which is unfortunate because it immediately puts the ongoing at a bit of an imbalance from a narrative perspective. New readers might find sussing out what’s going on difficult, but it seems fitting that the frantic speed this comic has picked over the past few months be mirrored in its plot – at least initially.
The artwork is definitely what stands out most for the book, with every page bringing something dynamic and bright. Rodriguez puts together panels that are tight, but sketchy, and Renzi uses a great cool palette throughout, punctuated by contrasts that will eventually make your eyeballs hurt. Every page pops with this mix of well-executed madness, and together they make visuals that are pitch-perfect for a comic about a girl bitten by a radioactive spider who also happens to play drums and fight crime.
The overall plot, however, leaves a little something to be desired. It’s a fun romp through the life of Spider-Gwen, don’t get me wrong, but there is an air of superficiality that just can’t be shaken. Constant phone checking, puns even Deadpool would groan at, and a villain without a clear motivation all add up to a plot going seemingly nowhere. This is a first issue, so some slack is merited, but Spider-Gwen would benefit immensely from being grounded in conflicts other than personal drama and directionless villains in the coming months.
Spider-Gwen #1 is an entertaining, if disjointed, introductory issue. Frenetic almost to a fault, the singular artwork and a vivid color palette lend themselves to the punchy writing and teenage antics. A worthwhile read for all comic fans.