REVIEW: Spider-Gwen #14 – “Feeling Alone During the Holidays”

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SPIDER-GWEN #14
Writer: Jason Latour
Pencillers: Robbi Rodriguez & Chris Visions
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 11/23/16
Price: $3.99

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Plot

The Spider-Gwen team is ready to celebrate the holidays, but Gwen is feeling more alone than ever. While her father is in jail, Gwen has a heart-to-heart with Aunt May on where the Parker and Stacy families stand with each other. In the end, Gwen spends the holidays with her favorite dimension hoppers Jessica Drew and Roger. (I’m guessing this story takes place before the most recent issue of Spider Woman.)

Story

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The holidays aren’t always easy, and for Gwen it reminds her that even when surrounded by people she loves she can still feel alone. The first half of this issue is very emotional with Gwen seeing her father behind bars as consequence of her actions as Spider-Woman. The mantle of Spider-Woman continues to haunt her when she runs into Aunt May. During their conversation, Gwen starts to get paranoid thinking that Aunt May knows that Gwen is Spider-Woman. This paranoia seems to be a recurring theme in almost every issue of Spider-Gwen, showing that the lying may finally be catching up with Gwen. I hope to see this build up burst in a future issue of the series!

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Spider-Gwen #14 has a strong first half, but the story begins to become jarring when Chris Visions takes over the art in the second half of the story. It felt like I was reading two different issues of Spider-Gwen, and if that was the point I wish there was a better transition between Gwen’s story with Aunt May and her story with Jessica.

Even with the jarring execution of the story I still felt like this was an interesting holiday issue that actually develops Gwen’s situation with her father. Sometimes holiday issues are just used as filler, but I’m glad to see Jason Latour using the holiday season to tell a character driven story arc.

Art

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There are two artists on this issue of Spider-Gwen, Robbi Rodriguez and Chris VisionsRodriguez brings the emotional punch that is needed for the first half of the issue. I especially enjoyed the scenes between Aunt May and Gwen. As they talk more and more about Spider Woman’s connection with Gwen’s father the guiltier and more paranoid Gwen gets about the conversation. The art portrays Gwen’s emotions very well here.

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Half-way through the issue Visions takes over art duties, and sadly the art change doesn’t fit the issue. Rodriguez and Visions have distinct styles, and the difference is obvious. Visions’ art looked very puffy and the proportions felt off, especially with Jessica’s character. The change in tone was weird and sadly made me less satisfied with the issue.

Verdict

Spider-Gwen #14 starts out strong, but fizzles towards the end with the change in story direction and art style.

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