Review: SPIDER-WOMAN #8

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SPIDER-WOMAN #8
Written by Dennis Hopeless
Art by Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, and Muntsa Vicente
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 3, 2015

Jessica Drew has been investigating the mysterious disappearance of several villains’ families, and the arc concludes here. She followed clues to a strange small town, where the wives, girlfriends, and children of these villains have been living under the radar as normal citizens. This issue opens by introducing one of those family members: Cat, who was the victim of domestic violence by a man with a bulldozer-like mechanical suit. Now, Cat’s the one wearing the suit, and Jessica ends up receiving a brutal beatdown.

Ben Urich has been in the background of issues #5-7 like Nick Fury in the Marvel movies, prodding Jessica to take action. It wasn’t clear what his motivation was. Here, Hopeless gives Ben a moment of deep vulnerability. Ben seemed to be a random choice for a supporting cast member prior to this issue, but now, it makes sense. Jessica and Ben are both investigative, clue-unraveling minds. This series has limitless potential with them working together.

Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, and Muntsa Vicente take their art to a whole new level: Jessica’s outfit and injuries when she addresses the crowd look like they were crafted with photographic, minute detail. Vicente is an expert at capturing subtlety of color variation, like the different shades of black on Jessica’s pants. Jessica’s pose when she drops into Ben Urich’s office is arresting with its athleticism. Rodriguez deserves praise for giving Jessica such a cool, sleek look.

Dennis Hopeless writes a fantastic and important story about abuse and its effects: when victims are finally free and safe from an abusive situation, the threat of that safety being taken away is terrifying. Hopeless ends his arc with an emotionally satisfying and narratively coherent conclusion. Jessica Drew isn’t just a crime-fighter: she’s a problem-solver who wants to see the best outcome happen. Ben Urich supports her in that endeavor. Spider-Woman is one of the best showcases for what a solo series can be.

The Verdict: 9.0/10

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