Gwen Stacy was meant to stay dead. Her death back in 1973 in Amazing Spider-Man #121, by Gerry Conway and Gil Kane, was a mark of maturation for the genre, a sign that superhero comics were ready to embrace more sophisticated storytelling. Her death became as defining to Spider-Man's story as that of his Uncle Ben. It could never be undone.
But there's no such thing as "never" in superhero fiction. Gwen Stacy is back -- sort of. The character's debut as another reality's Spider-Woman in Edge of Spider-Verse #2 by writer Jason Latour, artist Robbi Rodriguez, and colorist Rico Renzi was so well received that the character will spin off into her own ongoing series, Spider-Gwen -- created by the same team, and set in a world where Peter Parker is just as dead as Gwen Stacy is in the main Marvel Universe. ComicsAlliance spoke to Latour, Rodriguez, and Renzi, to find out more about their plans -- and their response to Spider-Gwen's new-found popularity.
If there's one thing that you need to know about ComicsAlliance, it's that we are very much in favor of Supaidaman, the '70s tokusatsu series where Marvel's Spider-Man was reimagined as Takuya Yamashiro, a dirtbike racer chosen by an alien from Planet Spider to defend the world from Professor Monster with the aid of a giant robot. It's one of my favorite things in the world, and if you asked me to pick one thing that I'd want to see from Marvel, it would be for Yamashiro to return to action in the pages of the modern Marvel Universe.
As a result, it's hard for me to look at this week's Edge of Spider-Verse #5, by Gerard Way, Jake Wyatt, Ian Herring and Clayton Cowles, without just seeing that it's a tokusatsu-inspired take on Spider-Man that simply isn't the one I want it to be. It took a lot of effort to get past that -- effort that was mostly motivated by how great last month's "Spider-Gwen" issue was -- but in the end, I'm glad I made it. It might not be the book I wanted, but it's definitely pretty fantastic in its own right, even if it suffers from a distinct lack of dirtbikes.
In case you haven't read it yet (and missed our review), Edge of Spider-Verse #2 by Jason LaTour and Robbi Rodriguez is a fantastic comic. It introduces an alternate-universe Gwen Stacy who become Spider-Woman and is on the run from the cops after being blamed for the death of poor old Peter Parker. It also involves an awesome element: A band called The Mary Janes, in which Gwen is the drummer, Mary Jane Watson is the lead singer/bassist, Glory Grant is the keyboardist, and Betty Brant plays lead guitar.
That'd be cool enough on its own, but a band called Married With Sea Monsters took it a step further. They've actually recorded a version of the song from the comic, "Face It Tiger," and posted it to YouTube.
Coco Chanel once opined that “fashions fade, only style remains the same.” In channeling the latter through the former, Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Woman disagrees to great effect in the self-contained Edge Of Spider-Verse #2, on sale now and nominally part of Marvel's Spider-Verse crossover event. The electric color palette and the asymmetrical hairdos and the wildly winged eyeshadow might look dated in a few years’ time, sure, but these pages bleed a fluorescent adolescent attitude found across time and space, from 19th century Spain’s hipster majos to Siouxie Sioux. This is a Gwen that owes as much to Peter Parker as she does to Tank Girl. This is a Gwen—and a comic—with style.
If you weren't already sold on writer Jason Latour (Southern Bastards) and artist Robbi Rodriguez (FBP) doing a re-imagining of Gwen Stacy in which she is a new version of Spider-Woman in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, what if I offered you this to sweeten the deal: Gwen is the drummer in a band, they're called the Mary Janes, and they have a song that ruminates on Mary Jane Watson's classic "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot" line from Amazing Spider-Man #42.
Wait, you thought Gwen Stacy was dead, right? Edge of Spider-Verse is a prelude to Marvel's Spider-Verse event, which brings in "every Spider-Man ever," including versions from alternate universes, to fight a common threat. This version of Gwen Stacy is one of those alternate universe characters. Possessing her own spider-powers and a rad costume, she's already been a hit with Spidey fans based on the few images seen so far.
One of the things I love most about Spider-Man (and let me tell you, there's a lot I love about Spider-Man) is how adaptable the character is to different situations, settings, and even different characters taking on the role.
Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and an assembled team of writers and artists are picking up that ball and running with it in the upcoming "Spider-Verse" event, and they're getting a little bit of a head start with what they're calling "Edge of Spider-Verse," a series of one-issue stories that introduce readers to the various iterations of Spider Men and Women. Marvel has released solicitations for the first three issues of the five-issue series, which feature Spider-Man Noir, a new spin on Spider-Woman, and a futuristic Spider-Man who wears a helmet (and who probably isn't from 2099).
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