Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spider-Woman #1

Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev
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This is one of the better superhero comic debuts of the year. Spider-Woman is very dark, featuring a troubled protagonist following events of Secret Invasion in a world she has a hard time adjusting to since her abduction. I love Maleev's art. It's very gritty, but beautiful, rendering Jessica Drew and her various locales with plenty of detail and thoughtfulness. There's one really pretty scene of Jessica taking a boat to Madripoor, and the water is bathed in red from the sunset in a breathtaking way. Color is really central to many similar scenes, in mostly urban settings, that make the art on this title stand out. I think Maleev's gritty style in the overall comic is one of the reasons I felt a strong sense of deja vu with Bendis' Alias, which was drawn by Michael Gaydos. That MAX series was also dark, with a similar pacing to the panels. I don't think it's a coincidence that Bendis originally wanted to use Jessica Drew in Alias before folding Jessica Jones into the title. I think this is using a character he loves in the way he originally intended, and doing it to quite magnificent results. I love the idea of Jessica Drew using her detective skills and superhero background to work for S.W.O.R.D. to hunt down various alien threats to Earth. It makes sense with her recent history and her various affiliations with organized agencies like Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. Plus Spider-Woman hunting down alien scum just sounds like a hell of a lot of fun. My only problem with an otherwise fantastic comic was the use of past Spider-Woman art in flashback sequences. The Luna Brothers' art from Spider-Woman: Origin, in particular (even though I am a fan) was jarring in contrast with Maleev's look. Hopefully that nonsense won't continue in further issues, because so far, this has the marks of a superhero staple.

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