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"Spider-Gwen: Gwenverse" Makes a Pretty, If Confusing, Debut

comic reviews Gwenverse marvel review Spider-Gwen

Written by Angela Rairden

Spider-Gwen is one of my favorite Spider-people, mostly because I’ve always loved Gwen Stacy. Actually, if I’m being completely honest, I’m a big fan of all of Peter Parker’s love interests – I guess he has good taste or something. However, there’s something about the role reversal of the uber smart Gwen becoming Spider-Gwen instead of Peter that really appeals to me.

Not to mention, her spider suit is really slick-looking.

Therefore, when I picked up Spider-Gwen: Gwenverse #1, I didn’t expect to find it as disappointing as I did.

The official Marvel description for this five-issue series reads “When Gwen Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider, she gained arachnid-like super-powers and started a crimefighting career as Spider-Woman (or as she’s affectionately known to her peers, Ghost-Spider)! But what would have happened if instead she had picked up the enchanted hammer, Mjolnir? Or if she had received the Super-Soldier Serum? Or built a high-end tech suit of armor? Or…you get the idea! Find out as Ghost-Spider tumbles through space and time and comes face-to-face with herselves!”.

Sounds pretty exciting, right? Kind of like a Spider-Gwen “What If?” series.

Well, it’s not quite that. At least, not in issue one.

The comic starts out explaining that it’s Gwen suit that gives her her powers, which is confusing because that’s not what Marvel’s description about this series states or what I know from previous Spider-Gwen comics that I’ve read. However, as I read on, it became clear that this Ghost-Spider Gwen is a different Spider-Gwen than the one that I had read previously as she lives in a universe where not only are the supervillains self-admittedly kinda cheesy, but all of her friends know about her spidery alter ego.

Spider-Gwen vs. the She-Bodega Bandit

When a run-in with the She-Bodega Bandit (a supervillain whose specialty seems to be stealing and eating the food at the corner bodega) makes her miss her band’s gig at a birthday party, Gwen’s friend and fellow bandmate Mary Jane (yes, that Mary Jane) expresses hurt and disappointment towards her. In a funk, Gwen goes home to where her dad also expresses hurt and disappointment towards her once Gwen admits that she’s been traveling to a different, more exciting universe to fight crime there (because she has a spider-totem which allows her to travel the multi-verse).

Gwen’s solution, obviously, is to hop dimensions to a different universe in an effort to try to escape her feelings.

Meanwhile, the comic jumps to “many years from now” where Finale, the Ultimate Artist, is performing her final show at the end of all time. After a confusing series of pages, it becomes clear that Finale plans to use her fans adoration, along with a pilfered assortment of artifacts, to survive the end of everything by jumping back through time.

Finale, the Ultimate Artist..I love the art and colors on this page

Finale’s plans go awry, however, and instead she causes some sort of rift in time that results in Gwen’s identity being splintered into five different versions of her, all scattered throughout time. It’s up to Spider-Gwen to find the different pieces of herself and prevent them from causing permanent damage to the space-time continuum before its too late.

Or, at least, that’s what I think she has to do. To be honest, the plot isn’t entirely clear, particularly the pages that involve this Finale character. Ultimately, it just feels like a really convoluted way to introduce different versions of Gwen which are all conveniently integrated with different, well-known superheroes. Maybe future issues will explain it, but what are the odds of Gwen being assimilated with Thor, Captain America, etc. as opposed to just random, ordinary people? I know this is a comic book, but I’m just saying that it seems really unlikely.

However, since this is only a five-issue release, I’m just going to chalk this one up to someone thinking that it all sounded like a fun idea and they just wanted to see what would happen. Could they have found a simpler, less confusing way to do it that didn’t involve some mysterious, silly new future character (supervillain?) whose existence in this comic doesn’t make a lot of sense?

Yes, for sure.

However, they didn’t. So, here we are, hoping that issue two will make more sense.

Ivan Tao's gorgeous variant cover of Spider-Gwen: Gwenverse #1

One very big positive to this comic is the artwork, which has been created by Jodi Nishijima. It’s wonderfully drawn with clear attention to details, and the colors by Federico Blee pop in a brilliant display. Furthermore, every variant cover is impressive and probably worth picking up just to admire it if you get a chance to.

Will I read issue two? You know, I probably will just because I want some clarification on what is going on here, and I’m just going to treat it like the fun ride that I suspect that it’s meant to be.


Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.

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  • Tom on

    When I 1st heard of the concept of this miniseries, I thought “Why all characters as Gwen Stacy? Why not Spider-Gwen interacting with other Women versions of Marvel Universe characters like (for example) Mariko Yashida as Wolverine?” That said, I’m all in because of my love if the 2016 miniseries. Hopefully, I don’t regret my blind trust in the Spider Gwen concept.

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