Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #6 // Review
Gwen just wants to save the city, help people and play the drums. Unfortunately, the world has a habit of making simple desires very, very complicated as the heroine is about to discover in the latest issue of Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider. Seanan McGuire delivers a fun, and witty action script brought to the page by Takeshi Miyazawa with color by Ian Herring. The traditional Spider-Person schtick continues to get a fresh and novel infusion of life in a profoundly charming story that draws Gwen into a world of greater and greater complexity.
As the issue begins, Gwen is telling her father about receiving payment for having found a woman’s purse. He’s reluctant to give her exactly what she needs, which is something somewhere between permission and acceptance. Things are less than comfortable for her from there. She stops a hold-up at a convenience store and consults with a friend about possibly starting-up some kind of business for paid work helping people. To make matters worse, she’s getting headaches and falling into a trap that’s been laid for her. Elsewhere the mysterious Man-Wolf and his accomplices watch from a shadowy room.
McGuire throws quite a lot at Spider-Gwen this issue, but it’s nothing she can’t handle...so far. The chapter follows a day in the life of Gwen from toast and coffee with her father in the morning to band practice and falling into a trap at night. McGuire weaves a varied array of different elements into Gwen’s day. His dialogue is genuinely funny throughout the issue. Gwen’s internal monologue draws the reader into her mind with delightful clarity. She’s not just fun to hang out with for 20+ pages because she’s a superhero. She’s fun to hang out with because she’s got a genuinely enjoyable way of looking at her life and expressing herself. In and amidst everything else, Gwen’s distinctive voice is probably McGuire’s single most significant accomplishment.
Miyazawa has a really deft grasp of focus throughout the issue. He’s capable of rendering an immensity of detail to the page when it’s called for and taking a step back when a lighter touch is called for. Thanks to Miyazawa, Gwen’s emotions aren’t just rendered in words. Her visceral and emotional impressions of the world around her quite often dictate the visual impact of what’s going on in her story. He’s also got a really sharply intuitive understanding of how best to use those large Ditko Spidey eyes to relay powerful emotion, which can be a challenge for any artist of a spider-book. Herring’s colors deliver depth AND mood as the story moves from the morning to midday to evening in the course of a very satisfying issue.
A street-level vigilante girl looking to help people has an identity that is publicly known. And she still wears a mask because...it’s cool. Semi-professional freelance super-hero-ing in the age of the internet with options open for internet business makes for an interesting dynamic that should be fun to explore as the more traditional aspects of spider-personing loom into view from that dim room with the Man-Wolf. This is a fun issue from beginning to end.