REVIEW: Spider-Woman #14 – “Love?”

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SPIDER-WOMAN #14
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Penciller: Veronica Fish
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 12/28/16
Price: $3.99

Dennis Hopeless left us with a killer cliffhanger in Spider-Woman #13. See how Jessica reacts to Roger’s “death” in this next installment of Spider-Woman.

Plot

This issue focuses on Jessica’s reaction to Roger’s death, the mourning of her best friend. As Jessica digs deeper into his death she finds out that her friendship with him put a strain on Roger’s relationship with his family. Roger saw her as more than a friend, he loved her. After this revelation she gets a call that Porcupine has been seen on the other side of town. It’s not revealed if this Porcupine is Roger.

Story

Spider-Woman #14 is an emotionally impactful issue as Jessica mourns for her best friend. The most powerful scene in this book is the opener. Jessica is still in shock as her mind wonders while taking a shower. She can’t think of a life without Roger, he was too important to her. When Jessica gets out of the shower she feels she has to shake off these emotions to show her son a stronger side of herself. It displays, that even with the pain of Roger’s passing Jessica must still go through her daily life. She uses these emotions to drive her to figure out what happened to Roger.

As Jessica starts her investigation she finds more pain. She first goes to question Roger’s ex-wife, and this is where Jessica learns that Roger loved her. I’m glad that Dennis Hopeless didn’t make this plot line linger. This adds another layer of emotions to an already heavy issue. With these emotions you question, does Jessica love Roger back? In the opener Jessica describes a best friend, but these qualities can also double for a lover. Hopefully this part of the story will be explored as the arc continues.

This issue is about emotions and grief, but this story also starts to unravel the mystery behind Roger’s death. Since Spider-Women is a superhero comic you must question if Roger is actually dead. This tension is built up right until the end of the issue where Jessica is fighting someone in the Porcupine suit. Will Jessica’s grief cloud her judgment as she encounters this new Porcupine?

My only negative with this issue is the inconsistent story with Carol and Jessica’s friendship. In last week’s Mighty Captain Marvel #0 Jessica and Carol made amends, and now in this week’s issue of Spider-Woman Jessica and Carol still haven’t forgiven each other. I wish the continuity would be clearer between these series.

Art

Veronica Fish’s artwork and Rachelle Rosenberg’s coloring create a perfect partnership with Dennis Hopeless’ writing to create the deep emotional tone needed for this issue. The strength in the artwork for the opener is as strong as the dialogue.

The shower scene is where the reader can see Jessica truly break down from the devastating news of Roger’s passing. I love the posture Fish gives Jessica as she remembers her best friend. Jessica ends up crouching towards her wall as water falls down her body, putting Jessica in a vulnerable position.

Verdict

Spider-Woman #14 is a great emotional issue that showcases the powerful bond Jessica and Roger had with each other. This issue also sets up an interesting mystery connected to Roger’s “death”.

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