Ghost-Spider #2 Review

by Charles Martin on September 25, 2019

Ghost-Spider #2 Review
Writer: Seanan McGuire
Penciller: Takeshi Miyazawa
Inkers: Takeshi Miyazawa & Rosi Kämpe
Colourist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

It's Gwen Stacy's first day of classes at ESU. Along with the hustle and bustle of keeping up with her busy dimension-hopping schedule, she's also quietly glorying in a sensation that's become all too rare for her: being just Gwen Stacy, even if it's only for a few hours at a time.

Seanan McGuire's script does an excellent job of giving Gwen the flush of success and happiness. She (Gwen) does get to have it all, for a day at least, and her joy in living a balanced life is infectious.

It's also doomed to come crashing down soon, of course. Gwen might be loving meeting classmates and watching Veronica Mars ("I wonder how close it is to Victoria Mars?") for her media studies class, but this issue's rare cutaways from her POV show the Jackal obsessively planning trouble for her. 

Plus, the Man-Wolf problem on Earth-65 is decidedly not solved. Not only is John Jameson out of jail, but his criminal underlings are still prowling the streets. That gives Ghost-Spider an excuse to do some spin-kicking and provide this issue with a needed dose of action.

The art team handles the Gwen-heavy script with aplomb, and oodles of background detail help ground her world(s) in realism. Rosi Kämpe's inking blends seamlessly into Takeshi Miyazawa's work, providing consistent gorgeousness throughout.

Ian Herring's colours bring two universes to life. The strategic choice not to distinguish Earth-65 and Earth-616 with different palettes has been made, for better or worse. There's still plenty of strong colouring work on display here. I'm a particular fan of the way Mr. Herring turns occasional no-background panels into strong points by shading them with super-high-intensity colours. They accurately reflect the mood of the story and bolster the impact of both combat and conversation.

If Gwen's busy life emerges in glorious clarity, her antagonists are shrouded in contrasting mystery. I am not entirely sure that this issue's Jackal is the actual 616 Miles Warren (and Lord knows, if anybody's got clone duplicates running around …). The previous issue implied Gwen would be faced with a Jackal team-up situation, but we still haven't seen any details about how such a pan-dimensional collaboration would or could work.

If you dissect this comic's plot, there are pretty well-worn bones beneath the character work. While the specifics of the Jackal(s) plans are still secret, the antagonists' role in the story is already clear. There's a twist in the final scenes which I won't spoil, but I will say it's a pretty classic (i.e. nearly cliché) piece of comics plotting.

But of course, dissection is a destructive process and it teaches you nothing about how an animal (or comic book) moves. The core structure of this story being overly familiar doesn't do it any real harm. It's particularly forgivable in this case because the character work around the skeleton -- the muscles of the story -- are powerful and engaging. Gwen's easy to sympathize with and her concerns smoothly become the reader's concerns thanks to her strong, realistic voice.

Ghost-Spider #2 is an excellent slice of Gwen Stacy's life, just as enjoyable for the reader as it is for the protagonist. The inevitable supervillain disaster is looming just off-stage, but its arrival will be made that much better after we've been through this charming and beautifully-rendered day in the sunshine.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
I am glad that though Gwen has become "the hero who eats kale chips," she isn't "the hero who likes eating kale chips."