Writer: Jason Latour
Penciller: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 2/28/18
Gwen knows what she must do: Kill Matt Murdock. Will anyone dare stand in the way of Gwenom?
Plot: Matt Murdock’s number is up. With Frank Castle and Gwen after him, it doesn’t seem like he stands much of a chance. However, not everyone has given up on Gwen. An old ally shows up and Gwen must make a tough decision.
Story: Just when it appears the story is going 100 mph down one path, Jason Latour pulls a lever to switch the tracks. Without getting too spoilery about how the issue ends, I can tell you how it begins.
Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski move over because our favorite color commentators the Watchers are back. That’s right, this issue brings back the Watchers of Earths 65 and 8, Utau and Utaa, first introduced in issue #23. If you missed the crossover arc with Miles Morales, Earth-8 is the alternate universe where Gwen and Miles eventually get married and have kids.
This issue focuses on the idea that these two worlds are somehow intertwined, and Utau has been dropping the ball on Earth-65. While this idea is a lot to process at first, Latour peppers it with enough humor that it doesn’t become too overwhelming. Using Utau is an interesting creative choice. Taking the reader out of the story at a pivotal moment takes away some of the suspense that has mounted, but also adds a layer of importance indicating the consequences of Gwen’s actions reach beyond her own life.
Back on Earth-65 we get yet another appearance of an old character, this time Captain America who has come to rescue Gwen from becoming a murderer. Latour blurs the line between whether it’s the symbiote making Gwen do all of this or her genuine distrust of the judicial system after everything that Murdock has put her through. It makes for a compelling scene when she confronts Captain America over whether she can keep her promises of justice. It emphasizes that the symbiote doesn’t plant new ideas but feeds on the worst impulses that already exist.
The issue ends with a twist I won’t give away, but #29 leaves you hungry for more. Is there something less than perfect about this issue? I would argue thus far Frank Castle’s presence in the story has been underwhelming and unnecessary, but it’s possible that gets redeemed by the time everything finishes.
Art: The art in this book just felt so dynamic. You can tell the creative team is as energized by this story as the readers are and are bringing everything they have to it. The story appears to take place over a relatively short period of time and you feel that in Robbi Rodriguez’s art, as the action charges from panel to panel. There were a couple of great 3/4 splash pages that break up the book, with my favorite being Gwen’s grand entrance to the Murdock-Castle fight.
With Gwenom doing a lot of skulking and sulking the last few issues, it was exciting to see Robbi draw the movements of her tongue again as it whipped around ensnaring her victims in such a menacing fashion. I previously described it like the ribbon a rhythmic gymnast would use…those days are gone as Gwen has become more powerful and angry.
Rico Renzi’s colors mix together the darker, moodier shades that have been used for this arc with the brighter neons to make for very dynamic pages. I also liked how the saturation in some panels was offset by the clouds of purple in the action scenes. In The Watcher scenes they use the splattered black spots and neons that were also used in the crossover to denote the extra-dimensional energy, which is a nice callback.
Verdict: Marvel has announced a lot of exciting new books this week as a part of their “fresh start,” but don’t sleep on the great books they already have. And that includes Spider-Gwen. All the elements that made this book fun to begin with have matured along with Gwen herself to create a compelling heroine. A cliffhanger twist and great action sequences make this issue a must-read.