Graphic Novel Review: Spider-Gwen: Greater Power

Spider-Gwen: Greater Power

Spider-Gwen: Greater Power - Credit: Archant

Gwen Stacy is back in the webs and has an all-new mystery to solve: the reappearance of the Lizard! The Spider-Woman of Earth-65 was convinced that the Lizard died along with Peter Parker. But a new reptilian rampage leaves her with doubts not only about Peter’s life, but his death as well. Troubles begin to mount as the Osborns of Gwen’s world make their debut, and she finds herself on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s wanted list! Perhaps some wise words from a mentor figure could help - how about Jessica Drew, the Spider-Woman of Earth-616?

(Panini Books)

One of the break-out characters of recent years, certainly in mainstream superhero comics, the spider-powered version of Gwen Stacy first seen in the epic Spider-Verse crossover is back in her own book following a brief hiatus for Secret Wars.

Having witnessed the death of her friend Peter Parker after he injected himself with a serum designed to turn him into a giant lizard, Gwen is shocked to discover that the Lizard is back and stalking the sewers of New York City. Has Peter somehow come back from the grave?

Meanwhile, with all the sense of foreboding that might accompany the appearance of a family whose patriarch killed our version of Gwen, the Osborns are back, and where they appear, can the Green Goblin be too far behind?

Featuring a female protagonist without patronisation or character-assassination seems to be a task few comics writers can achieve, yet Jason Latour has carefully crafted a parallel Ms Stacy who features all of the quirky charm of the original, yet is still very much her own person and not just a rip-off of Stan Lee’s creation.

By presenting a reality which is strikingly similar to our own, albeit with a smattering of subtle differences, Latour also succeeds on keeping his readers guessing, as there is no guarantee that events or characters on Earth-65 will follow the same path, which is all part of the fun.

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Case in point is the origin of Gwen’s Captain America, who might have connections to Steve Rogers, but is ultimately a completely different take on the character.

Artist Robbie Rodriguez is the perfect foil for Latour’s script, giving a distinct look to the series and contributing to the deftness of touch and kinetic energy which flows throughout the narrative.

If you haven’t explored the reality of Earth-65 so far, this is a perfect jumping on point to find out what all the fuss over Spider-Gwen has been about. Highly recommended.