Writer: Jason Latour
Penciller: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 2/22/17
Miles and Gwen travel to Earth-616 to figure out S.I.LK.’s secret plans in Part 4 of this crossover event.
Plot: Miles and Gwen return to Earth-616, only to discover that S.I.L.K.’s plans might be even more dangerous than they originally thought. While there they run into some familiar faces who offer their help.
Story: Following a cliffhanger in Spider-Man #13, Spider-Gwen #17 picks up right away with Miles and Gwen getting to the bottom of what is going on with S.I.L.K. and what it has to do with Miles’ father. I liked that this issue was more fast-paced than the earlier parts of the crossover, with the reader quickly finding out more about the threat the characters face rather than spending time on exposition.
Although there are lots of jokes about it being a normal Spider-person team-up, this story feels different. There are no older, wiser heroes trying to take charge (Miles even insists they shouldn’t be “adults”). The fact that it’s two teenagers trying to do things on their own allows the crossover to keep the feel of the story fun despite the high stakes.
I loved that this issue gave Gwen the chance to poke fun at Miles’ world after seeing Miles’ perspective of her world in the earlier issues. Latour gave Gwen lots of chances to bring her trademark sarcasm and wit to Earth-616, including digs at their “themed crooks.”
Of course, this crossover has been marketed as a romance as well and we see even more of that in this issue. While this could easily come off as a pandering move by Marvel, Latour has written the story to make it feel very authentic. Between Miles’ insistence that he and Gwen are just teaming up to Ms. Marvel’s skepticism, the story leans more towards a quality rom-com than a saccharine teen soap. Latour also shows Gwen’s more vulnerable side during her conversation with Ms. Marvel about Miles, showing that this isn’t a silly teenage crush. Gwen really sees Miles as someone who really understands what she’s going through.
Art: Although still humorous, this arc brings a range of character emotion into play. We see Miles go from being angry about his father being missing to embarrassed about being caught by Ms. Marvel. Robbi Rodriguez does a great job of drawing this range in a manner that is realistic and identifiable.
Bringing the story back to Earth-616 was a smart move in this issue not only in regards to moving along the plot, but because it gives Rodriguez the opportunity to draw new characters, like Ms. Marvel.
While keeping in the Spider-Gwen style the creative team does a great job of subtly shifting the design to let you know that you’re on a different earth. Rico Renzi uses a much more muted color palette than the bright, sometimes neon, colors typically used in Spider-Gwen.
However, switching back to the neon colors for the dimensional holes created by the transporters is a nice effect.
Verdict: My biggest complaint with the team-up prior to this issue had been a lack of urgency with the story. Miles’ dad was missing, but as he himself points out, his dad could be anywhere in the universe. This issue ties that plot element more strongly into a bigger story, with higher stakes.
We also see Gwen come to terms with her blossoming feelings, and the romantic tension grow between the two young Spider-people. I’m now more interested to see how they wrap up this story arc and where the relationship goes in parts 5 and 6.