Writer: Jason Latour
Penciller: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 1/31/18
As Gwen prepares for their final showdown, Matt Murdock reveals more of his origin story to a captive audience in Spider-Gwen #28.
Plot: Gwen finally reveals to The Mary Janes and the Parkers where she’s been and her plan to end all of her troubles. Meanwhile, Matt Murdock tells Officer Rogers his origin story and why he can’t let Gwen go.
Story: In a story filled with darkness, Jason Latour still manages to make jokes about both Alabama and New Jersey. The fact that the writer still takes a few moments to inject humor even in one of the book’s darkest arcs is one of the many reasons to love Spider-Gwen.
One of the other reasons has become the star villain, Matt Murdock, who gets a major spotlight in this issue. While we’ve had issues before that focused primarily on other characters (most recently Spider-Gwen #23), it’s fascinating to dive more into Matt Murdock. I was surprised to see just how similar Latour made his origin story to the classic Matt Murdock because the two are just so different.
Then, however, we switch back to Gwen and it all makes sense. We aren’t getting Matt’s backstory just to understand him or his motivations. No, we need it to understand just how similar he and Gwen are. How their gifts and power have corrupted both of their lives in different ways. By the end of the book, we see how close Gwen is to slipping into the darkness.
Gwen’s journey has always been one of struggle and this arc has seen that culminate in what is portrayed as a no-win situation. Either she lets the symbiote take over to defeat Murdock or he keeps control over her. Through powerful dialogue and exquisite pacing, Latour has redeemed the once tired theme of “with great power comes great responsibility” to create an emotional, captivating story.
Art: After switching up to include multiple artists on the last issue, Robbi Rodriguez is back on full drawing duties this issue with Rico Renzi on colors. It’s nice to have the gang all back together, and Rodriguez does a great job capturing Gwen’s emotional state. He emphasizes Gwen’s withdrawal from society through details like her hunched over posture and the fact she almost never looks her friends in the eyes and instead faces down.
The scenes with Matt Murdock provide more action through a lot of violent ninja battles but also really interesting framing. In a move that works really well with the saturated palette of this book, Rodriguez includes some scenes from Matt’s point of view that rely on inky cutouts instead of the heavy lines to show his unique sense of vision.
If you’ve read Spider-Gwen before at all you’ll know that pink is a focal color in the usual palette for this book, which is why I thought the inclusion of so much red (for Murdock) made for such an interesting visual experience in this book. The clash of the red against the neon greens and pinks, colors you almost never see paired, are such a stark contrast they make Matt seem even more sinister and intimidating.
Verdict: If there has a been a misstep in this Gwenom arc, I have yet to find it. So many comic events get hyped only to disappoint or lack any real consequences for the characters involved. That is definitely not the case for this story arc, and you can tell the creative team is putting everything have into it. Even a casual reader could pick this up and feel the intensity of this story. This run of Spider-Gwen has offered everything I would want out of a major event and the fact that Marvel hasn’t promoted it more heavily is a shame.