“Much as I’d like to stomp a boot print into Shriek’s weird face right now, it’s hard to ignore the cantaloupe-sized meat monkey dancing in my bladder.”
That’s just one of Spider-Woman’s very character-revealing lines of dialogue in Spider-Woman #1, proving that she’s uber-tough and not one with which you should mess. Right off the bat, she reminds me of the strong-willed Alana from Brian K. Vaughan’s epic Saga, so I hope she can live up to that legendary status! No pressure, Marvel.
This first issue, written by Dennis Hopeless (X-Men: Season One) with spunky art by Javier Rodriguez (Batgirl: Year One, The Amazing Spider Man), finds Jessica Drew, a.k.a. Spider-Woman, trying to navigate her very pregnant belly and the life that comes with it. While she hasn’t quite embraced motherhood, she’s quit the Avengers and taken maternity leave to focus on the aforementioned meat monkey. However, she still has to tolerate heaps of gossip and people constantly reminding her that she looks enormous in her little red dress—so nice, right?—at the various “horrible [superhero] gatherings.” People treat you differently when you’re pregnant, but apparently more so if you’re also a superhero.
The story places us directly into Spider-Woman’s shoes. Although this is a superhero piece, the universal theme of impending motherhood is instantly relatable, and you don’t have to be a mother to understand the highs and lows that go along with that. After all, what changes one’s life more irrevocably than bringing a tiny human into the world? What I found most pleasing about the issue was that, although Spider-Woman is battling with the physical restrictions of pregnancy, I never once felt alienated from her character. Rather, I was sympathetic to her situation—rooting for her.
This is largely due to the pages’ wealth of expertly crafted humor. Whether it’s Spider-Woman describing how she’s not really the motherly type—indulging her bad habits and instructing the half-formed baby in her belly not to follow her example in the future, or trying to “choke down motherhood” by entertaining maternal responsibilities—her efforts are always well-intentioned, even at their most eyebrow-raising. The reader earns respect for Spider-Woman’s character and her struggles thanks to the stand-out dialogue with its distinctive and brutally honest flair.
Having children is all about sacrifice, some of them expected and others far less so, and this issue sees Spider-Woman being introduced to a handful. Things get a tad overwhelming, suggesting a massive learning curve for this lady. But with Porcupine and Ben Urich along for the ride, I’m climbing on board and hitting the accelerator.
If you’re a fan of Ms. Marvel, Batwoman, Batgirl and even some character-driven BOOM! titles like Lumberjanes and Giant Days, I recommend checking out Spider-Woman as soon as possible (first issue in stores November 18).
Is Spider-Woman your jam? Are you going to pick up this issue? Reach out to me on Twitter, or make a comment below.