Writer: Jason Latour
Penciller: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 9/27/17
Spider-Gwen saved Harry but now must face the consequences. The leftover “Venom” wastes no time finding a new host to control.
Plot: Gwen’s success with Harry is short lived since she still has to deal with Earth-65 Shadowcat and Wolverine…and the remaining Venom. Meanwhile, George Stacy fights for his life and Matt Murdock has his own plans for Gwen after her betrayal.
Story: After many months of anticipating Gwenom, we finally saw her in full form. However, this issue focused less on Gwenom than what leads to her transformation. Jason Latour starts the issue with a clever fake-out. It turns out Gwen isn’t the only one can bond with Venom and it chooses someone else instead. I loved this for two reasons. The first, and most obvious, is it provides an unexpected twist to keep readers on their toes for an issue where they thought they knew what was coming. The second is that it makes it very clear that Gwen chooses to host Venom because she’d rather sacrifice herself than let others suffer. This idea of making choices on who to protect comes up big in the story later regarding George Stacy and makes for a poignant, emotional plot line.
And what is a hero without a good villain? Matt Murdock continues to outdo himself as a cold, calculating possible psychopath. I struggled to buy into the fact Gwen would go to such great lengths for Harry, but her reactions to what happened to George absolutely gutted me.
Art: I am not a comic book artist (shocking), but I would have to guess that drawing the Venom version of a Spider character is a fun opportunity. And I think Robbi Rodriguez nails it with his design. It is a really scary, intimidating version of Gwen without being too grotesque or over the top. Because it’s still the Gwen we know and love in there, just one that has given in to her darkest impulses.
The coloring also plays a big part in conveying the tone of this book. The pinks used contrast nicely with all the black used in the panels. Like the character design for Gwenom, the colors draw from what we’re used to while still changing things enough to bring Gwenom to life.
There are too many great panels capturing the movement of the Venom to count, including when Gwen is enveloped completely except the light of her cell phone creating a cool effect. It’s not just the Venom that makes this book great, but how Rodriguez synchronizes it with the character emotion. This is seen most prominently in the heart-wrenching panels when she finds her father in the hospital and succumbs to its control.
Verdict: This book set up the Gwenom arc for a strong start, which is no small feat given how anticipated it has been. While the last issue poked fun at how “serious” Spider-Gwen has gotten, this issue proves that you can raise the emotional stakes and still make the book work.
Seeing Gwen’s emotion exaggerated by the Venom symbiote makes for a compelling storyline. I was on the edge of my seat reading this issue, and am eagerly awaiting for Spider-Gwen #25 to see the fates of Gwen and George.