Ghost-Spider #1 Review

by Harlan Ivester on August 21, 2019

Writer: Seanan McGuire
Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

             I have to admit that a cover like that of Ghost-Spider #1 is enticing to anyone who’s seen the masterpiece that is 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Unfortunately, we have to come back down to Earth when we remember that neither Lord nor Miller have their names attached to this in any way. That’s not to say we can’t still be excited, but maybe we shouldn’t expect the same, as much as we want it.

            Ghost-Spider is a horrible name. Sorry, now I can get on with the review. So this “new era” of the life of Gwen Stacy is sporting the same creative team as the last. Is it really worth the hype or a relaunch? Eh, I would say it feels more like a new chapter than an era. The hook is that Gwen’s going to ESU in 616 now where she’s bound to bump into some other spider-people. As much as I love ITSV, this isn’t enough to sell me on the book. Go back and read Latour’s Spider-Gwen and I think most would agree that the best thing about the book is Earth-65 and what it does different from 616. Having Gwen spend a large chunk of her time there means taking her away from home and in turn makes this story less interesting. It also leaves the story open to some errors in continuity. They ultimately aren’t a big deal, but hey, I’ve got hit that word count somehow, right? At the end of the day, I think the writing in this issue lacks what made Spider-Gwen interesting to me in the first place: embracing difference and a punk attitude. That doesn’t mean this book is wrong for being the way it is; I just think old fans of Stacy will be unsatisfied. I’d like it more if Gwen’s dynamic with Peter were more interesting, but it’s rather dull and they hardly seem to be friends. Not a great way to keep the ITSV crowd.

            Just like Earth-65 is supposed to embrace unique versions of familiar characters, it used to have a very distinct look compared to 616. That’s gone and I think can be attributed to a few things. Mostly Ian Herring’s coloring. You used to be able to tell which universe we were in by looking at the neon lights of 65’s skyline. It’s not inherently wrong for it to be gone, but at the same time, it feels noticeably less special. Aside from that, his colors can look kind of flat, which I actually kind of like because it can make some panels feel more like a painting. There are many instances in which he has to pick up some slack from Miyazawa who opts out of rendering any kind of background. In some cases, it’s harmless, but in other, larger panels, they feel lacking. His faces are admittedly cute and say a lot about a character in any given moment, but they can feel a little inconsistent in form some times. Some action poses feel totally unrealistic even for a spider-person.

            Ghost-Spider #1 is not something I think longtime fans of Gwen will get a lot of enjoyment out of, as it lacks a lot of what made her series special in the first place. I can’t really say it’s right for the Spider-Verse crowd for the same reason. All in all, it’s a fine enough issue but comes up short in writing and art. If you really want to check this one out, I would only do it if your pull is light this week. Otherwise, wait to find a back issue.  

Our Score:


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