Issues 1-4 of Spider-Woman were really a part of the Spider-Verse story line but, now that Jessica is back from fighting alongside the other spider-totems, Marvel have finished the prologue and are ready to run with the story, starting with issue 5. Writer Dennis Hopeless gets readers new to the character up to speed quickly and effectively, with the story jumping straight into the action as it catches you up.
The start of this run sees Jessica Drew having quit The Avengers to strike out alone, focusing on reconnecting with people, helping them one-on-one rather than saving the entire world. Getting back to regular investigation and hitting the streets, Jessica s dressed down for the part. Her traditional spandex bodysuit and mask has been swapped out for boots, t-shirt, yellow sunglasses and what is probably the sweetest double-breasted bike jacket ever worn by anyone in comic books. The spider logo is only visible when the jacket is zipped, it’s yellow body now resembling a necktie and mirroring the yellow neck and midriff of her old costume.
The focus away from working with The Avengers, as well as the tone and humor of the comic, make this comic a great choice for fans of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s run on Hawkeye. Jessica’s self-confidence, wit, sass and ability to cause large-scale damage while trying to do good make her an interesting mix of both Clint Barton and Kate Bishop.
Variant covers have been a hot topic this week, with Raphael Albuquerque’s Joker variant cover for Batgirl being off tone for the title before pulled at the artist’s request. Marvel hit a similar mis-step in style with Milo Manara’s variant cover for issue 1, which showed Spider-Woman in a a highly unrealistic and sexually suggestive butt-pose. With the change of costume Jessica meta-references this with how much time she spent “shame googling” herself.
After a stalled attempt at street level crime fighting where she inadvertently interferes with an NYPD operation and spends the night in lock-up, she stumbles upon (or, possibly, is set up for) a case where low level villains such as Porcupine are being blackmailed into committing crimes after their family members are kidnapped. Jessica sets out to help regular people who are victims of regular crime, but it seems that even costumed criminals can be victims in need of rescue.