Both DC and Marvel some decades ago decided that they’d expand their universes from just this one to a multiverse in which almost anything could happen. And that’s how we came to have the quite excellent animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse film, of which I said that ‘I eagerly await the the Spider-Man Multiverse sequel, as there’s unlimited possibilities for them to play around with.’ Well one of the secondary but very important characters in that film is Spider-Gwen.
Prior to the beginning of Spider-Gwen, high school student Gwen Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider. This granted her all of the quintessential Spider-Man powers, and Stacy began her career as Spider-Woman. In this Universe, Peter is killed by her after turning into a lizard mutant and going seriously psycho. Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted isn’t precisely her origin story as that lies earlier, though there’s an obligatory one panel shot of her saying ‘What bit me’ with a spider on her hand on the first page.
This collection, available either in trade paper or digital format, collects together Edge of Spider-Verse #2 and Spider-Gwen (vol. 1) #1–5. Jason Latour’s the writer, Robbi Rodriguez did the superb art and Clayton Cowles did the lettering. Yes, a lot of other folk had a hand in it as well. Too many to detail here.
Note that this is Volume 0, not Volume 1. Numbering by comics companies is a strange thing indeed. What we do have here is a splendid variation on the story that we know, with everyone from Jameson to Murdoch and Castle showing up but not in their usual roles. Gwen herself is both strong and intelligent, a spider-being who’s not a clone of Peter, but her own individual take on being a hero in a city that has decided she’s not a hero. You’ll find the villains you expect here as well, though I’ll refrain from saying who as that’d spoil your fun in finding out though I’ll note The Vulture, as he shows up early and I’ll be damned if I remember him.
Her costume is interesting. Not really a take off of Peter’s, but something more insectile, more creepy, I find, with those large eyes. I actually sought out and bought the Funko Rock Candy figure with her in her mask as I find it one of the more interesting such portrayals.
Please note that I’ve said little about the story here. That’s quite deliberate as I want you to have the fun of discovering just how great a story Latour has written. It’s certainly one of the better uses of the Spider mythos I’ve seen. I’m going to read the rest of the story of Gwen Stacy of Earth-65, drummer in the Mary Janes when she’s not keeping the Multiverse safe from harm.
(Marvel Comics, 2015)