Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #7 // Review
After a day in the life of a costumed crime fighter in issue six, Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider moves on to an issue featuring Gwen Stacy by night. A few evenings blur together as the days swish by while the masked heroine makes money doing odd jobs. Writer Seanan McGuire smartly renders another chapter in the life of a young masked heroine with art by Takeshi Miyazawa and color by Ian Herring. McGuire wittily warps the life of a spider-person in an issue that continues to make the unique web-slinging corner of the Marvel Universe feel fresh in spite of the fact that it’s been around for over half a century.
As the issue opens, Gwen is going on a date with Harry Osborn. It’s a perfectly norma evening at a high-end restaurant. Of course, things are going to get complicated by the fact that everyone knows that Gwen is Spider-Woman. Things are comparatively when she swings away to handle danger on the streets of Manhattan. The rent-a-spidey program she’s got running online turns out to develop some real financial potential, but the pay is the last thing on her mind as she sets out to save the lives of a child and a man mixed-up in a rather serious auto accident.
McGuire frames a really satisfying story in a series of scenes set largely at night. The life of a young heroine isn’t any easier in the evening than it is in the day, but thanks to McGuire, the dialogue (particularly between Harry and Gwen) is crisp, rapid-fire and very, very funny. The unique complications of a hero who some see as a villain trying to lead a perfectly normal life feel new and compelling from McGuire’s perspective. That McGuire is allowing Gwen a professional life under the mask without compromising her heroism is quite refreshingly heroic. No darkness in needing to make a living. Nothing cynical about it. She’s doing what she needs to do and it’s actually kind of inspiring. Quite an accomplishment on McGuire’s part balancing everything.
Miyazawa’s varied layouts keep the drama of a date with Harry quite interesting. The dramatic dynamic of the date at the fancy restaurant that opens the issue is every bit as visually interesting as the action that Miyazawa breaths into the page as Spider-Woman delicately saves the little girl and the man from the tragic accident. There’s such a delicate sense of detail and nuance in Miyazawa’s work. It feels remarkably fused with McGuire’s art. Typically there isn’t integration between script and art that feels anywhere near this fluid unless the artist and the writer are the same person. Herring is very conscientious with the color. Theoretically, he could render more depth and texture with the art, but the stylish design of Miyazawa’s art would suffer a bit with over-rendered color. Sometimes being a good colorist is knowing when NOT to over-render things. Herring's color balances-out a very well-designed visual feel for Gwen’s world.
Issue seven is called “Some Nights.” Some nights prove to be really, really well-executed by the entire team on the book. It’s inevitable that some nights might NOT end up working out so well in future issues, but for now, McGuire and company have a really good handle on exactly what to do with one of Marvel’s most interesting characters.