Writer: Jason Latour
Penciller: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterers: VC’s Clayton Cowles & Travis Lanham
Release Date: 1/18/17
Part 2 of Gwen and Miles’ love story starts here! The first part started with a kiss, while this issue back tracks to how Gwen and Miles start forming a friendship with each other.
Miles joins Gwen in the Earth-65 universe to search for his missing dad, finding help in the most unexpected place – Earth 65’s Kingpin, Matt Murdock. Murdock leads Miles and Gwen to Club Scorpion where Miles finds a very different version of his father.
Compared to last week’s Spider-Man #12, Spider-Gwen #16 gives a more proper introduction towards the blossoming relationship of Gwen and Miles. This story is about Gwen and Miles forming a friendship. They learn from each other that being a spider person doesn’t always have to be so lonely, and in this issue Miles and Gwen realize that they have more in common than just being spider people. In both their titles Gwen and Miles are dealing with their relationships with their fathers. This was a very interesting story thread to tie these two characters together for this crossover event.
Both Miles and Gwen have very strong relationships with their fathers, and both heroes blame their heroics for putting their fathers in danger. Miles believes his father joined S.H.I.E.L.D to protect Spider-Man, and Gwen blames herself for her father being in jail to clear the name of Spider-Woman. These events have led to self-doubt for our heroes. Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man in their own titles have dealt with these issues internally, but it’s interesting in this issue to see Gwen and Miles deal with these similar situations together. It makes the relationship between Gwen and Miles relevant and organic. These two characters feel like they are crossing over for a reason, not just because they are two popular characters. Gwen and Miles are actually influencing each others’ narratives, which should be the main point of every comic book crossover.
Another example where we see this is when Miles asks Gwen if she talks to anyone her own age about her spider life. Gwen telling her friends that she’s Spider-Woman has been a looming topic for this whole run of Spider-Gwen. Miles talking about his relationship with Ganke I think will help influence Gwen to share her spider life with her bandmates, and in the end change the dynamic of Spider Woman for the better.
This issue of Spider-Gwen is not a romantic issue, but instead builds a necessary friendship between Gwen and Miles. This helps the relationship between these two characters feel more real when they ultimately do start having romantic feelings for each other.
Robbi Rodriguez, the regular artist on this title, does the pencils for this issue, and does a great job working Miles into Gwen’s world. I especially enjoyed the small tender moments between Gwen and Miles. Through Rodriguez’s pencils the audience could pick up on Gwen and Miles’ blossoming romance through their eyes and hand gestures. I’m sure this will grow even stronger with the upcoming issues.
As always, Rodriguez’s pencils work perfectly with Rico Renzi’s vibrant coloring. I was especially impressed with the club scenes towards the later half of the issue. Renzi’s bright colors really popped in these panels, showcasing the club environment. He uses the perfect combination of bright colors without making the scene feel overwhelming.
Spider-Gwen #16 was a necessary issue to build the friendship between Gwen and Miles, setting up towards their romantic relationship. The issue does a great job at utilizing this crossover opportunity to progress the plot for both Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man, making the crossover feel needed and not forced.