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Spider-Gwen #34 Review

by Harlan Ivester on July 18, 2018

SG34
Writer: Jason Latour
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            There’s something funny about the fact that after taking a month or two off from writing for CTG, the first book I review when I get back is the finale of Spider-Gwen. It’s the book that, along with Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man, got me consistently reading on going comic books. I’ve had my share of issues with the book – I think it’s brings up cool ideas and abandons them often, and characters make questionable decisions frequently – but as a whole I still really enjoy this title. I’ve been with Gwen pretty much since day one. It will always hold a special place in my heart and I’m sad to see it end. At least until we get that Ghost-Spider series in a couple months.

            I know Jason Latour said that this book wasn’t cancelled, but that they were choosing to end it and it was the story they had always intended to tell, but I can’t help feeling like that’s only partially true. Like I said, one of my main issues with this book is how it introduces cool ideas and doesn’t explore them or outright forgets about them. What about the Gwens that went dimension hopping to make sure Gwens wouldn’t be controlled? Narratively speaking, why did the Vulture show up out of nowhere after thirty something issues and then disappear again? Spider-Woman’s trial was also really glossed over. How did Gwen end up feeling the way she does now about the symbiote? She couldn’t wait to get rid of the thing before, but now she wants to keep it. Don’t get me wrong, I was very pleasantly surprised that Latour chose not to conveniently have it swept away and under a rug just in time for the series finale. It just doesn’t totally feel earned, and it’s a shame that that point in their relationship is reached in the final issue. This series definitely could’ve used more space to explore things like Venom or the Council of Gwens, or maybe some more time with George Stacy out of a coma. Because honestly, he’d been under for so long, I’d kind of forgotten about him. But if I can get back on track here and talk about this specific issue rather than the series as a whole, I think this is one of the better written ones in a while. It’s just hard not to reflect on the past and what could have been done better when it’s all coming to an end. And while I do think George should have been given more time after waking up, there’s some really heartwarming moments with him (and the Bodega Bandit and the Dollar Dog owner) that really succeed in making you feel happy for Gwen despite it all feeling a little rushed. True to the nature of the series thus far, this issue isn’t really a happy ending until the last few pages. Until then, it’s pretty gloomy. If that bugs you about Spider-Gwen then this won’t change your mind, but I’m glad Jason ended this in a way that does feel natural and consistent in Gwen’s book.

            Ooh, man. The art team has always been my favorite thing about this book. I may have to check out Goddess Mode just because I’m not ready to say good bye to them. Again, it’s not masterpiece – there’s definitely some awkward angles here or there, but I think Robbi and Rico finished strong here with powerful emphasis on the tone of the book and the things we love about Earth-65 as a setting. This is a really good example of Robbi’s skill when it comes to expressing emotion in the art alone. Without the dialogue, you can still tell what the flow of the conversation is. It’s almost like lip reading in a book. The colors compliment the position of the conversations excellently as they characters express exhaustion and become more optimistic and energetic by the end of the issue.

            This is definitely the kind of series that’s going to warrant a reread in order to appreciate everything. If you haven’t been with it so far, an omnibus will be worth the price. As Jason said, this book isn’t perfect, but it’s honest. I can appreciate the very obvious amount of blood, sweat, and tears that went into making it, and it sure as hell has paid off. Weapon of Choice is one of my favorite trades in a long time and the ending still makes me tear up. Many thanks to Jason, Robbi, and Rico for giving us such a great story through these past couple years. I hope you’re as excited as I am to see our girl on the big screen in December.

            This issue's Heh Counter: Four.

Our Score:

8/10

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