Spider-Gwen #26 (Marvel Comics)
My love for Spider-Gwen as a character is still pretty strong, but it’s been tested the past few months due to her monthly title. The Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez series has a ton of potential, but unfortunately that potential hasn’t been met for quite a while now. Now that Gwen is in possession (or possessed) by her universe’s version of the Venom Symbiote, I had hopes that it’ll be the spark this series desperately needs. Unfortunately that’s still not the case.
One of the biggest issues that Spider-Gwen has suffered from since the start is pacing. Storylines go on for much longer than they need to, or bleed into one another with no discernable end or starting point. Take this issue, for example. While it’s the latest installment of the “Gwenom” storyline, it focuses more on the overarching storyline that’s been going on for the past year revolving around the evil Matt Murdock using Gwen to help him take over the New York City underworld. That’s fine and all, but we’ve barely seen the ramifications of the Venom symbiote attaching itself to Gwen. Aside from a few moments at the beginning of the issue where Gwen talks about constantly being hungry, there’s no moment in Jason Latour’s script that gives us anything else about the suit, Gwen’s feelings while using it, or if it’s a major plot point or not. In fact, it feels like something that the editors forced onto Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez instead of a natural way to take their run.
Speaking of Robbi Rodriguez, his art is still pretty stellar this issue, and one of the things that’s still keeping me hanging onto this title. His kinetic and vibrant art style practically leaps of the page in some sections of this issue, and his design for the Venom-possessed Spider-Gwen is pretty damn awesome as well. There’s rumors that he’ll be leaving the series once this storyline wraps, and I hope that isn’t the case, since his art makes a huge difference on the book.
Spider-Gwen made a pretty huge splash when she first appeared a few years ago, but that appeal is quickly losing ground with every lackluster issue that hits. The severe lack of forward momentum for this series is starting to show, and I really don’t know how much longer I’ll keep sticking around waiting for it to pick up. Simply put, Gwen deserves better.