Except for die-hard Spider-Man fans that were planning on buying every single issue of Spider-Verse, there are very few who though that launching the first issue of Spider-Woman into a large company-wide crossover was a good idea. Now two issues later the series is still dealing with the same burden. The obvious pratfalls of such an approach are numerous. Among the most prominent of these are the fact that the character doesn’t get a chance to start on his or her own without being overshadowed by guest stars and that for the fans interested in the character or series and not the crossover, that each issue has to stand by itself. Looking at this individual issue in this light reveals that it succeeds in the first sense but fails in the latter.
There is some good here, and that is the characterization of the main character, almost overflowing with life as she tries to break out of the confines of her own series. The story opens with her in a cat-and-mouse game with someone that is keeping her captive just happens to love an alternate version of her. Her dealings with him are humorous and do the character justice, and her depiction in a Victorian era gown (with a bit of dark gothic thrown in) throughout the issue is also a fun representation of the character. Where the problems come from is from the other half of the equation and that is in the storytelling. For the non-reader of Spider-Verse, it is hard to make sense at times of what exactly is going on here. There is a mansion, which leads to a pocket dimension with a friendly spider-god and then there are pirates (?). Where any work of fiction depends on either strong characters or a strong story, this issue is almost there with the strong character, but she is hopelessly lost in story which has no firm direction. Truly, based on previous success of this character, the series is likely to succeed by siphoning off Spider-Man fans, but there are other fans too, and it seems as though this is forgotten.
What the reader is left with is a mess, kind of parallel to when one watches a horrible movie that is well acted. The characterization is wasted here on an incoherent mess that loses sight of its own goals in being able to hold this together. There is still a lot of potential for this series and this character, only it seems as though won’t be realized until the Spider-Verse is wrapped up and pushed aside. Until then, readers will continue to get a glimpse of what could be while trying to decipher the rest.
Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Greg Land
Story: 6.5 Art: 8 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass