Launched in the middle of the Spider-Verse giant crossover event, the first few issues of Spider-Woman were tied up in universal madness and controversy about her backside.  Now, Jessica Drew enters a new era, with her first new look in like 30 years, but what brings about such monumental change?  Your Major Spoilers review of Spider-Woman #5 awaits!

Spider-Woman5CoverSPIDER-WOMAN #5
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Penciler: Javier Rodriguez
Inker: Alvaro Lopez
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Spider-Woman: “As a child, Jessica Drew fell ill with a fatal disease.  To save her life, her scientist fatherm injected her with a serum of spider blood.  The injection worked, but it also gave her unbelievable spider-like powers.  With this power, Jessica became Spider-Woman!  After teaming up with other Spider-Men and Wemone to take down the villainous Inheritors, Jessica returned to the Earth she knew, ready for a change.  She quite the Avengers in order to reconnect with the normal world…”


The weird thing about Spider-Woman’s 2005 return in the pages of New Avengers was how little they ever seemed to do with her.  Aside from a couple of odd exchanges about her pheromonic powers, Jess was mostly there to look cool with her costume and big hair.  During the Spider-Verse event, she took a key role, but the fact that her #1 issue was a continuation of the extant crossover story bothered me.  With last’s issue’s revelations (and the super-charming interactions between Spider-Woman and Captain Marvel, reminding us that they have long been friends in-continuity), Spider-Woman is taking off on her own for the first time, making this issue feel like the real #1.  (The alternate cover homaging the original Spider-Woman #1 helps with that, as well.)  We open with Spider-Woman interrupting an attack by a some sort of monster-man on an unarmed civilian woman, with really great dialogue throughout, including Jessica’s revealing meta-statement that part of her costume changes was due to “shame-Googling Spider-Woman butt” for a week.  It’s clever, it’s fun, and it reminds me of the Hawkeye relaunch a couple of years ago, especially when it’s revealed that she’s not fighting a super-villain, but interrupting an NYPD training exercise…


The art in this issue is flat-out wonderful, underlining hard what a mistake it was to start a new series with the glam-shiny tracing of Greg Land.  Jessica’s new costume looks great in action and out, and Rodriguez & Lopez take her from back-alley to apartment to jail without any of it seeming awkward or sketchy.  The all-important facial expressions are great here, and when Phil Urich arrives to officially start off Jessica’s new status quo, their interplay is visually and textually great.  I will say that this issue doesn’t do much to undermine the comparisons to the new Batgirl in tone and visuals, but frankly, since I enjoy both books and find them to be refreshing antidotes to the grim world-shattering ARRRGH!, I’m really sort of fine with that.  There is also the issue of relative power-levels to be dealt with, as well, as Spider-Woman spends most of the issue operating at a more street-level power profile than I’m used to, not using her flight powers or doing much in the way of the venom-blasting, making her feel less superhuman than I am used to thinking of her.  Of course, given that (in-universe and out), that’s kind of the point of this series, it’s difficult to complain too hard about such adjustments…


In short, it’s a very likeable book, and part of me wishes that #1-4 were a “Spider-Woman: Spider-Verse” limited, and this were actually the first issue of the book, but I suspect that the sales bump as a crossover may have been a shrewd move on Marvel’s part.  Spider-Woman #5 is a great-looking book that reads well, features excellent dialogue, intriguing plot points, and a really cool new costume, proving that there’s more to the character than her tight costume and hindquarters, earning a very impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I recommend getting in on this one, there’s a lot of potential here…

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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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