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Review: Spider-Gwen #16

spidergwen16coverIn Spider-Gwen #16, Miles Morales learns that there are many differences between Earth-65 and his home Earth-like sodas using real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup and that  Daredevil is evil and has an army of ninjas. (Thank goodness he was in the Ultimate Universe for Shadowland, or Miles would’ve gotten some bad flashbacks.) He’s still  too young to get into clubs on most worlds in the multiverse, but this doesn’t prevent him from having a little team-up fun with Spider-Gwen in this bouncy second chapter of the “Sittin’ in a Tree” crossover where writer Jason Latour focuses on building the relationship between the two young heroes instead of skipping straight to the smooching like Brian Michael Bendis did in Spider-Man.

Miles Morales is a great fit for Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi‘s brighter, animation-meets cool indie band poster art style. The red and black adds some new hues to Renzi’s usual pink, green, and white world, and Latour writes Miles as completely out of his element the whole time. He’s freaking out about being in an alternative universe while simultaneously freaking about his dad going missing while on a mission for SHIELD. This is why he sounds like he’s hopped up on caffeine and fear, and where Gwen comes in with some much-needed empathy. They bond over their love for their dads, their superhero lives, and the weirdness of other worlds with Rodriguez’s full page spread of them hugging showing how much they’ve already bonded.

The colors and art pop even more once Spider-Gwen hits the Scorpion Club, and this leads to the spidergwen16interiorfunniest joke in the issue, which is 16-year-old Miles being left behind. He has a superhero costume, but no fake ID. The short fight scene inside the club featuring Earth 65’s Dr. Octopus is weird, yet fun and shows off Miles’ “other” powers, like venom stings and invisibility, as well as the fact that he has yet to be able to rattle off one-liners in battle like Earth 616’s Peter Parker. Renzi uses a lot of flashing yellows for the club fight scene to show characters getting their “lights knocked out”, or just how disorienting this environment is for both Gwen and Miles. And then the cliffhanger blows their minds even more.

The parts of Spider-Gwen #16 that resonated with me were when Gwen and Miles were becoming friends in an organic way. Because she keeps her secret identity from her bandmates in the Mary Janes and her dad is in jail, Gwen doesn’t really have anyone to talk to about her life as a superhero. Now, she has Miles, and they talk about how Earth-65 is like a sad pop song, and how it’s okay to be afraid even though they’re superheroes. (And is kind of visually designed that way.) Gwen is in a dark situation where the source of her superpowers is controlled by the Kingpin so it’s nice to have Miles pop up and bring some light and empathy to her comic even though his dad is in a terrible situation.

With its focus on building a connection between Miles and Gwen instead of multiverses and annoying supervillains, Spider-Gwen #16 is superior to the opening chapter of the “Sittin’ in a Tree” crossover. The final night club scene also ups the intrigue as Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi continue to (web) sling out the cool visuals.

 Story: Jason Latour Art: Robbi Rodriguez Colors: Rico Renzi
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review