Spider-Woman #11 Review

by Charles Martin on April 21, 2021

Spider-Woman #11 Review
Writer: Karla Pacheco
Artist: Pere Pérez
Colourist: Frank D'Armata
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics

With her initial arcs, mad science family drama, and new costume all behind her, Jessica Drew is ready to dive into new adventures.

Not that I'm particularly thrilled to say goodbye to all that stuff, particularly the new suit. I liked the black.

Anyway! New adventures! Jess's first quiet dinner date with Roger in forever is interrupted by a classic bank robbery. She leaps to foil it, meeting the new conquistador-themed villain duo, Los Espadas Gemelas de Toledo.

(That's "twin swords" if your Español is rusty.)

It's a straightforward fight, which is not to say it's boring. There's some serious thought invested in Los Espadas' villain theme. And Jessica's first run-in with them is her chance to debut her new-old costume. It has the iconic red-and-yellow look, but it's an all-new creation from our pal Big Ronnie. So it's got some surprising gadgetry for Jess to discover, mostly but not entirely to her benefit.

And underneath all the crime-fighting, there's Roger. He had Reasons to arrange a date night with Jess. The speed with which she abandons him to go punch bad guys is going to be a problem -- relationship challenges loom in the future.

Pere Pérez cooks up some fantastic art that enhances both the super-heroic and mundane sides of Jess's life. The former segments get angled, dynamic blocking to maximize the impact of combat, while the latter scenes enjoy scrupulous background details to emphasize the reality of the world around Jess and Roger.

Colourist Frank D'Armata also serves the two sides of the story well. The mundane scenes are bathed in softer colours that naturally draw the eye to the subtleties of emotion Mr. Pérez puts into his faces. The big fight is rendered in higher contrast, with deep nighttime shadows behind the vibrant costumes and action.

This is a very enjoyable story, but it's not -- so far -- a particularly daring one. New antagonists that will carry a few more issues of conflict, plus a subplot about domestic/romantic trouble sneaking up on the protagonist.  Roger's plot verges on being too predictable; I wouldn't stake money against any engaged reader figuring out his intentions in advance.

But there are two key reasons why safe plotting is no problem in this issue. First, this volume started exactly the same way. A simple slice of Jessica Drew's life, rendered with great talent: neatly-encapsulated crime-fighting and some mundane concerns lurking around the edges. And that blossomed into a crazy-good (and good-crazy) story about addiction, trust, and family. (Also about murder-clones and hybrid dinosaurs.)

The second encouraging sign I see in #11 is stellar creative work. Karla Pacheco retains her nimble grip on Jessica's voice, spinning her tone effortlessly from tough to funny to sweet to corny, as the situation requires. She and Mr. Pérez are also still fusing inventive ideas into the fight scenes. Remember back in #1, when I was delighted to see Jess use a chocolate fountain as an improvised weapon? In this issue, Jess uses a similarly off-the-wall tactic to even greater comedic (and practical) effect. No spoilers!

Spider-Woman #11 launches Jessica Drew into a new string of adventures. The plot begins with straightforward crime-fighting backed by straightforward soap opera. Past performance indicates these creators will have no problems throwing complicated knots into the story threads as they spool out, and their superb treatment of this simple first chapter is adroit enough to delight new readers as well as established fans.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
Agggh, yes, Roger needs a new Porcupine suit equipped with "haptic pokems!" Post haste!