Guest post by Delaney N., ‘18.
Spider-Woman (no relation to Peter Parker) is pretty amazing. She doesn’t want to stop fighting crime just because she’s going to have a baby, so she spends most of the first trade beating up bad guys while six months pregnant. Maternity leave is boring, anyway. It doesn’t help that when she finally decides to see the extraterrestrial OB-GYN that her friend Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) found for her, the hospital is attacked by nasty alien Skrulls. It doesn’t matter, though; Spider-Woman has it handled.
I first discovered Jessica Drew in Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel series, where she was a regular supporting character. I liked her because she was such a good friend and was usually optimistic, despite her dark, tortured past. She was raised and experimented on by her Hydra agent parents, which is where she gets her powers. I saw her next in Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye series, where she has a couple guest appearances as Clint’s girlfriend (which didn’t last). There, she stood up for herself when he was taking her for granted and didn’t take any of his foolishness. After the Hawkeye series, Jess and Clint both appeared in Ales Kot’s Secret Avengers, where I got to see her kick bad guys butts as a pretty awesome spy.
Jess definitely carries over all of these characteristics into her most recent series, regularly hanging out with her friends despite her hectic life, trying to find the bright side of her situation despite the trials of child rearing, and standing up for herself when others doubt her capabilities.
Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears by Dennis Hopeless, with art by Javier Rodriguez, is an excellent series with many unexpected plot-twists. The Civil War II tie-in in the second volume is well done as well and does not require much outside knowledge of the event. Jess’ dilemma of balancing her superhero life with her home/baby life makes for a fantastic read.
My one complaint with the series is the art. While Rodriguez’s art is often lovely, it sometimes suffers from unevenness in style and quality. Also, some of the panels are excessively dark and too heavily inked for what is, for the most part, a fun, happy series.
Despite its occasional tonal mishaps, Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears is a great series that I would recommend to almost anyone. It has a little bit of almost every comic genre: mystery, aliens, adventure, spy, domestic drama; it seems like it’s only missing magic and horror (and maybe a road trip).
Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears by Dennis Hopeless, with art by Javier Rodriguez and Veronica Fish, inking by Alvaro Lopez, coloring by Rachelle Rosenberg, lettering by Travis Lanham, layouts by Tigh Walker, and editing by Devin Lewis, Allison Stock, and Nick Lowe, is collected in Volume 1: Baby Talk (issues 1-5) and Volume 2: Civil War II (issues 8-12). The series just got cancelled, but the final volume, Volume 3: Scare Tactics (issues 13-17), isn’t out until May 31.
You may be wondering, where are Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears issues 6 and 7? Well, my friend, those were part of a crossover event with Silk and Spider-Gwen, and have been collected separately as part of their own Spider-Women trade.
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