Writer: Seanan McGuire
Art Team: Takeshi Miyazawa, Ian Herring, VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: August 22, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99
Ghost-Spider, Spider-Gwen, or Spider-Woman/Teen/Girl, whatever you want to call her, this Gwen has one of the most hard to track launches of a character to follow in recent history. Meaning basically if you wanted to buy all the trades the character appeared in you’d be picking up a bunch of differently named solo titles, each only a couple volumes long. So with her own title getting re-branded, or re-titled, at least twice a year that brings us to the current attempt at getting a solo for the alternate Earth Gwen Stacey to stick the Ghost-Spider book. Everyone say it with me together now, GHOST-SPIDER. So lets see if a title seemingly centered on Gwen coming to school in the 616 is enough to make Gwen happen this time.
The issue begins with a pretty good recap of some recent events in Gwen’s life, at least on a surface level, setting up the character pretty quickly for those new here, before she heads off to Earth 616 from her current home of Earth 65. Gwen arrives on campus of Empire State U, after a brief setup of her powers being wonky after the trip over, with Peter helping her setup her classes, while also a passing mention occurs of Peter attempting to find a solution for her power lapses. It’s all a little weird at the start that Gwen a capable woman and hero on her own, has Peter running around helping her do everything, and essentially takes a lot of the fun out of the setup of what this issue could be if you ask me … and that’s coming from a HUGE Spider-Man fan. It’s just a miss of a setup all around for me, and I get they wanted maybe a Spider-Man guest star bump right off the bat, but he’s just not used well at all.
From there, other than Gwen attempting to get comfortable at school, not much else really happens that would be too noteworthy. It’s even a little too jokey in a way that straddles the line of believability at one point, when a suited up Gwen and Peter have to deal with a Giant Rat. To call out the believability of a comic book is ridiculous, I understand this, however is it more ridiculous than choosing a Giant Rat to put in a comic book as the villain of the issue when you have an entire Spider-Man type Rouges Gallery to deal with? The bottom line is there just isn’t much that hits in this book for me in this first issue at any point and the tone is just all over the place.
The book takes some page space to jump back to Earth 65, where Gwen comes from, to spotlight her father and what he’s currently dealing with. This isn’t a bad idea, to keep readers abreast of the situation going down back on Earth 65, especially if Gwen will be hopping back and forth, but there isn’t much background information given, or even context to infer what’s happened to him. We do discover he’s right back to dealing with Jameson throwing his weight around as Mayor before we move on once again but it doesn’t seem to add to the overall story at play here unless I’m missing something from past books, which I shouldn’t be with this being a #1 issue here.
I actually get that feeling a lot here and it pops back up with an mildly interesting ending, however I’m not quite sure of the events in the issue at play here that lead to the final reveal, which to me is a poor job of building anticipation for next issue, as well as wasting a lot of space previously, that obviously felt like wasted space. I want to like Spider-Gwen, or Ghost Spider, as they insist on calling her now, however this re-debut of the character does nothing to help me on that journey.
The art is serviceable stuff but my main complaint is there isnt enough of a difference in Earth 65 to make it stand out like it used to. There used to be a noticeable look and feel to Gwen Stacey/Spider-Gwen’s home world that seems to have all but vanished and it supremely disappointing to me. That was half of the initial appeal of the character to me when I jumped on-board in the very very beginning, I wish it would return.
Overall, Ghost Spider #1 is a very passable first issue, that doesn’t do much to make the first arc appealing for new fans, and old fans of the character have to be sick of the constant shuffling of this characters main title. Gwen is attending school in the 616 now and fighting Giant Rats. If that sounds like your bag of tea your local comic shop should have a copy for you for $3.99, however except for some decent art, I think I’ll wait until next time this character comes back around again to try it out again.