Gwen, Cindy & Jessica: A Look At SPIDER-WOMEN

With Spider-Women by Dennis Hopeless, Jason Latour, Robbie Thompson, Tana Ford, Rachelle Rosenberg, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, Bengal, Rico Renzi, Joelle Jones, and Lorenzo Ruggiero wrapping up last week, I wanted to take a look at the crossover as a whole. Deciphering it piece by piece for reviews was fun, but now we get to see it as a complete portrait rather than progressive pieces of a puzzle.

Overall, the crossover was enjoyable and brought forth a lot of interesting dynamics between the primary and secondary characters. The story provided an exploration of the main characters that you see to some degree in their solo series, but with the added dynamic of them working together. As such, I feel as though there were qualities within each of the Spiders that came to the fore and that were worth discussing.

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Spider-Women is a crossover about parallels and relationships. Within each issue, Gwen, Cindy, and Jess’s connection is examined in relation to each other and their counterparts from the other Earth. In eight chapters of this story, we see many things: who they are, what they desire, and how they work as points of contrast to their thematic foils. Rather than just being a random event, this story turned into an examination of the three main characters and their intra- and interpersonal dynamics.

With regards to the Earth-65 counterparts, Cindy-65 and Jesse-65 have lives of luxury and leisure. On the other hand, Jessica and Cindy have had to struggle through numerous trials, from losing powers and being captured by Skrulls to living in a bunker away from a loving family for ten years. The cost of heroism for this duo is regular threats to their safety, security, and stability.

Yet, Cindy-65 and Jessie-65 are able to secure lives for themselves disparate from their 616 counterparts at the cost of their morality. Jess herself brings this to light when she confronts Jesse-65 about being a hero beyond what personally inconveniences her.

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Gwen’s point of comparison is her 616 counterpart being dead. She even states this within the crossover, recognizing that she has not only has her life, but a loving father who was willing to put aside his badge to keep her safe. In the context of Jess and Cindy’s life, Gwen’s problems may seem paltry, but only if you forget that we all have problems and they impact us differentially based on any number of reasons.

Through this crossover, you also see the tension between Cindy and Gwen, as well as Jess’ irritation at both of them. What this evolves into is an understanding between each of the women which is underlined by a pool of support. Jess can see Gwen’s reservations about being a hero, they can both see the grief that Cindy continually has to process, and Cindy and Gwen look up to Jessica.

Instead of snarky one-liners hurled at each other, the women form a bond that I hope to see in the future. This bond, to my knowledge not seen in previous Spider-Women, connects each of them and not just by the thread of the multiversal Spiders.

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Spider-Women is great if you’re into thematic and character analysis. On the surface, the story is simple: Jess and Cindy want to get back home, Gwen wants her device back, and Earth-65 Jesse and Cindy are evil. The conclusion was absolutely fun and completely ridiculous.

Beyond the plot of the crossover, however, there are deeper elements of each of the characters that reveal their place in continuity, whether they debuted decades or a couple of years ago. I appreciate these kinds of stories because they provide a new perspective on characters and prioritize emotional dynamics between them.

Spider-Women is a crossover worth dissecting because of its ability to tell a story while incorporating the differing emotional experiences of its main characters.

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