Written by Jason Latour
Art by Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 10, 2015
This is a comic where Spider-Gwen gets drawn into the middle of a Lady Gaga-styled Felicia Hardy (supported by her cat-headed back-up fighter-dancers) and her blood feud with Matt Murdock, Kingpin’s lawyer-and-assassin (supported by Hand ninja). If that doesn’t at least pique your curiosity, it is possible that nothing else will.
One of the two biggest strengths of the Spider-Gwen comic series has been its fresh re-imagining of classic Spider-Man/Marvel characters, and in its tone. By putting Gwen in the Mary Janes, Latour has managed to do something for his Spider-Woman that Spider-Man never exactly handled well: it gives the character an excuse for an outside life that connects with the hero under the mask.
Peter and his photography never felt connected in the same way that Latour connects Gwen to her music, her bandmates, and her role as a teenager. Spider-Gwen #5 continues to showcase this angle of Gwen’s life when the Mary Janes become the opening act for (get ready for this) “Felicia Hardy & the Black Cats.”
Latour’s Felicia is treated to a great re-imagining which ties into her character being the non-American heir to the “super thief, Le Chat Noir,” a criminal who had run into the Gwen-verse’s Kingpin in his past, as well this setting’s chillingly dark Matt Murdock. Felicia’s motives in the comic are simple (revenge against Kingpin). But it is her artistic flair, her pop-star status, and her outrageous, almost samurai-like devotion to revenge which makes her an exciting addition to the Gwen-verse Latour crafts.
While this issue does not sport the intimate heart-to-heart moments like the one between May and Gwen in previous issues, Spider-Gwen #5 boasts the most fun battle in the comic’s run to date: the Hand versus Hardy’s cat-headed back-up dancer/bandmates. Throw into the mix Murdock’s lethal cunning and devious first reap appearance (as well as a flashback which showcases how, so far, he seems nothing like the Daredevil normal readers expect) and it is evident that ‘this’ perhaps best captures what Spider-Gwen as a comic is best at being: a fun romp with new takes on Marvel’s most famous characters while the heroine shouts phrases like “it’s big American cheeseburger time.”
Just pick up this series so you can at least read up to this issue and I promise you will have spent your money well.
What helps this comic out the most is the art by Robbi Rodriquez and the fantastic colors by Rico Renzi. Rodriquez’s art in this issue pops the most when it is working out expressions and showcasing dynamic character figures. In what is perhaps their best work yet, Rodriquez and Renzi put out a brilliant two page spread which illustrates Felicia’s life. The panel layout is amazing and the colors, a mix of pinks, reds, and yellows, make the atmosphere shine with a punk-luminescence.
Rodriquez’s rendering of Felicia’s expressions do as much to flesh out her character as her brief exposition-filled speech-balloons. From the bright colors of the disco-styled dance floor where Murdock’s ninja clash with Hardy’s band of cat-men (I can’t stop mentioning them enough, they are too weird not to love), to Murdock’s blood-read vision, the art and coloring of this issue make the atmosphere of the Gwen-verse come alive. If the art has any visible flaws after five issues, it is backgrounds, but the colors and character designs more than make the ride exhilarating enough to distract a reader from some of the special/coloring issues with the backgrounds the characters stand about in.
Spider-Gwen continues to be an amazing comic with a dynamic cast of re-introduced characters, each one better than the last.
The Verdict: 9.0/10