Review: Gwen Stacy #1

Gwen Stacy #1

Marvel has been having success lately with adding unknown history to its characters. Not retcons, these additions flesh out unknown moments and weave in this new revelation into modern storylines. Gwen Stacy #1 kicks off a new direction with that as it lifts the curtain on the classic character before she met Peter Parker.

Written by Christos Gage, the comic is good, though doesn’t quite hook the reader. The issue sets the tone of the series as it takes us from Gwen’s experiences in high school to her relationship with her father. With some crime/police drama thrown in, the series finds its drama with that. And that’s where the series stumbles a bit. More time is spent with the plot swirling around Gwen’s police officer father than it feels with her. While I was expecting a more “Archie inspired” series, instead we get crime drama. She’s a bystander in a way in her own series.

Gwen also feels like an anachronism in a way. She has modern sensibilities but in a comic that doesn’t take place in modern times. The exact date is nebulous and with Marvel’s sliding history it’s hard to pin down. We know when the comic takes place relative to Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s story but that’s it. Gwen’s attitude feels a bit modern compared to some of what’s around her. Her dialogue just doesn’t quite click at times.

The art by Todd Nauck doesn’t pick up the slack of the story. While not bad, there’s an awkwardness to some of the character design. Characters look familiar but off at the same time too. They also don’t quite feel like they’re in high school and instead feel like 20-something actors playing high school students. Rachelle Rosenberg‘s color and Joe Caramagna‘s lettering are good with the colors helping Nauck’s line art.

Gwen Stacy #1 feels like the start of a limited-series where you wonder exactly what was being gone for. An opportunity to deliver a series geared towards middle-grade readers instead is muddled with mob violence and shakedowns. The comic isn’t bad at all but it also doesn’t excite. It just is.

Story: Christos Gage Art: Todd Nauck
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review