Writer Dennis Hopeless makes the most of this reboot’s “eight months after” starting point by giving us a Spider-Woman nearly nine-months pregnant, then steadfastly refusing to fill in the details. It works. And it’s fresh — I don’t think I’ve read a book about a super-spy giving up her old life and coming to terms with a pregnancy before. Hopeless keeps it light, but there is some wistful coming-of-age stuff here, with Spider-Woman putting her motorcycle into storage, and training another hero (Porcupine? OK, why not) to take her place. It raises the stakes and makes otherwise-mundane superheroics seem important. I liked how the story lightly chided me for thinking the most important thing about Jessica’s pregnancy was the (unrevealed) identity of the father — Hopeless lets Tony Stark walk into that buzzsaw for us, asking Jessica if she knows who the father is, and we come out the other side remembering that the pregnancy is important all by it’s lonesome. Everything else is just details. Artist Javier Rodriguez is decent at conveying emotion, and takes on a challenging bit of visual storytelling in a single-page shot of a rooftop maternity leave party that works both as a single image, and as time-compressed parallel narrative, with a panel structure of sorts imposed by strings of lights criss-crossing overhead. It’s ambitious and deserves points for trying, even if it makes no sense for Tony Stark to be stomping around the party in his armor. The dialogue has bite and the friendships feel genuine. I liked the many matter-of-fact cameos from other heroes in the Marvel Universe — it reminded a bit of the days when the Fantastic Four were Marvel’s first family, and always had someone dropping by unannounced. I will admit that I don’t much recognize this Spider-Woman from her recent(ish) Avengers appearances under Brian Michael Bendis, but I haven’t kept close tabs on her. Likewise, this version of Ben Urich is a stranger to me. But overall I liked the cast and want to know more.
Approachability For New Readers
Not great — we never see Spider-Woman in action, so there’s no way to understand who she was or what she’s giving up to be a mother. But keeping the audience somewhat in the dark seems core to this series, so everyone will be a little lost by design.
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Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.