Spider-Woman

Spider-Woman 5 (August 1978)

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Wolfman edited Spider-Woman too? I guess I hadn’t paid much attention. Now a lot more makes sense. Without any editorial oversight, Wolfman can keep going with whatever he thinks works (to be fair, Spider-Woman did run fifty issues–five years–so he must have been in sync with readers) and what does he go with? A dream issue.

I can’t think of a dream issue offhand I like–did Alan Moore do a Swamp Thing dream issue? I liked that one if he did. But here’s why I hated this one.

Who cares?

Wolfman doesn’t really work at making Spider-Woman a) a likable protagonist or b) even the protagonist of her own book. On the fifth issue, with all her neurosis, it’s clear she’s a lame character. He’s trying to force interesting characteristics; they aren’t helping.

Maybe I think I like Spider-Woman because of the cartoon.

CREDITS

Nightmare; writer and editor, Marv Wolfman; penciller, Carmine Infantino; inker, Tony DeZuniga; colorist, Michele Wolfman; letterer, John Costanza; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Woman 5 (March 2010)

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In this five minutes of comic book reading–it took a little longer because I was actually expecting the crooked cop to be a Skrull–Bendis does it again. It’s one thing to bring back a c-list character who has a lot of fans and do a shitty job on her title, but to bring back a c-list character who you say you love and to do a shitty job on her title is another.

I mean, is Spider-Woman even c-list? She might be d-list, brought back by Bendis–to what end? First that awful Origin series, now this awful ongoing?

I just don’t get it. How can this series be so godawful? Bendis, more occasionally now than before, writes good stuff. What’s the point? He’d sell a lot more books if it were a new Wolverine title if he just wants to produce garbage.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist and colorist, Alex Maleev; letterers, Cory Petit and Virtual Caligraphy; editor, Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Woman 4 (July 1978)

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Can this series make any less sense? I mean, I’m not even going after Wolfman’s characterization of Spider-Woman as a social outcast who has a great vocabulary, not even mentioning the whole, everyone hates Jessica Drew thing. I’m getting the feeling I’d hate Jessica Drew too, if Wolfman were scripting her.

I don’t even know what happens this issue. Does Brother Grimm die? I thought there were two Brother Grimms. Didn’t the last issue cliffhang on that note?

And then the Hangman, one of Wolfman’s villains from Werewolf by Night, shows up. Wolfman layers on the melodrama in this series–it’s telling how he’s got the misogynist Hangman taking Spider-Woman captive after hogging her own book from her–Wolfman barely gives the titular character any time in her own book, instead concentrating on the male characters.

Infantino does a better job this issue.

There, I said something nice.

CREDITS

Hell Is the Hangman!; writer and editor, Marv Wolfman; penciller, Carmine Infantino; inker, Tony DeZuniga; colorist, Mary Titus; letterer, Joe Rosen; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Woman 4 (February 2010)

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Seriously, Bendis? You actually think this comic book is acceptable? Do I get my money back on Spider-Woman–are you still offering that deal, to refund any money anyone spent on your books? Because I’m sure there are some retailers out there who’d like their money back too.

I wish I’d time how long it took me to read this issue. I’m guessing three minutes. A dollar a minute. Maybe–maybe–it took Bendis ten minutes to write it, but I doubt it. The whole issue is action, except the interrogation scene with the Skrull at the beginning, so I’m guessing he didn’t work on the later pages much.

Maleev’s artwork might make this series worthwhile to some people (only those who really want to study illustration). There’s no storytelling craft here.

Do you think Bendis thinks he’s doing good work or is he aware he’s full of shit?

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist and colorist, Alex Maleev; letterers, Cory Petit and Virtual Caligraphy; editor, Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Woman 3 (June 1978)

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At least Spider-Woman’s stalker doesn’t show up in this issue.

It’s kind of sad how phoned-in Infantino’s artwork is on this series. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do Marvel before and he’s just completely disinterested. Some of his subsequent DC work is a lot better, so it’s not like he couldn’t do the work; he just didn’t care.

I don’t blame him, of course, Spider-Woman might be the worst executed ongoing series I’ve read from this era. Spider-Woman isn’t likable, her supporting cast consists of a stalker and an ancient magician who’ll probably turn out to be Merlin, and her bad guys are lame. Wolfman’s villain dialogue here is just atrocious.

Worse, Wolfman can’t stop with Spider-Woman’s thought balloons about having “the blood of a spider” in her veins–she’s half-woman, half-spider! Wouldn’t she have four legs then? It’s complete nonsense.

CREDITS

The Peril of — Brother Grimm; writer and editor, Marv Wolfman; penciller, Carmine Infantino; inker, Tony DeZuniga; colorist, Michele Wolfman; letterer, Joe Genovese; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Woman 3 (January 2010)

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Really, I’m supposed to think Jessica is going to torture a pathetic, already tortured Skrull? Come on. If anything, Bendis has shown she doesn’t have any initiative. If she weren’t so damned passive, she wouldn’t be an agent of SWORD and the comic would probably have a much better first arc.

Speaking of better stories and better writing, why does Bendis think a crappy dialogue exchange is a good talking head book? I remember the great Bendis talking head issues and this one isn’t even a pale imitation, it’s not even a rote one. It’s like if Jeph Loeb or someone as awful as Jeph Loeb were trying to do a talking head issue.

I mean, why’s Bendis got all the stupid action going on? His best talking head issues don’t juxtapose. It’s because he knows, he’s got to know, he’s writing crap here.

It’s embarrassing.

Still, the art’s beautiful.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist and colorist, Alex Maleev; letterers, Cory Petit and Virtual Caligraphy; editor, Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Woman 2 (May 1978)

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Vixen. A spiteful or quarrelsome woman. Vixen.

Marv Wolfman refers to his protagonist as a vixen in this issue. Not so sure he knows what the word means and for someone so flatulent in his writing, he really ought to have a dictionary handy.

I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with this comic book, whether it’s Wolfman or the editorial decisions behind Spider-Woman, but it’s a mess.

She’s heading to America at the end of this issue, presumably to have superhero guest stars, but it’s the second issue. Why bother with her in England in the first place? More, why bother with the inane romantic interest (actually, he’s more of a stalker–a stalker from SHIELD–it could be a new title).

Infantino’s professional enough to pull everything off, but he’s clearly bored. Worst is how Wolfman’s exposition sometimes doesn’t match Infantino’s panels, like Wolfman’s trying to force it.

CREDITS

A Sword in Hand!; writer and editor, Marv Wolfman; penciller, Carmine Infantino; inker, Tony DeZuniga; colorist, Janice Cohen; letterer, Irving Watanabe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Woman 2 (December 2009)

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If they’d released this issue without any text, just Maleev’s awesome art, it would have been much, much better.

The issue opens with Jessica in jail (no costume) and probably has a present action of fifteen minutes. Maybe ten. It’s inanely pointless. I haven’t read a Bendis comic in a while, at least not one making up a story-arc, so I’m left wondering if he’s just filling pages to get the collected edition to a certain price point. Obviously the guy’s overworked and doesn’t think a lot about what he’s writing, but still… this comic book probably took him twenty-three minutes to write. While he was watching an episode of Webster.

I’m hesitant to judge the series’s potential based on this stupid, “aliens among us” story-line, but Bendis is making it harder and harder for me to remain open-minded.

What’s he going to screw up next?

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist and colorist, Alex Maleev; letterer, Cory Petit; editor, Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Woman 1 (April 1978)

27760.jpgWow, does Wolfman like to write exposition. I mean, he just loves it. It really made this issue incredibly boring. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but I had no idea–until a few pages into it–the issue is taking place in London. I’m also not sure if Jessica Drew is English or not. I mean, does she have an accent? Wolfman likes doing European settings, but his dialogue never sounds like it’d be right if said with an accent.

Infantino’s art was a little disappointing. It’s competent and all (DeZuniga’s inks practically make it look like someone else), but there’s a decided lack of enthusiasm.

Wolfman’s approach to the character, with her missing memories and her anti-social behavior (her neighbors are afraid of her? That’s just lame), is under-cooked. He sets up all these contradictions for her and bypasses resolving them like he doesn’t know the answers.

CREDITS

…A Future Uncertain!; writer and editor, Marv Wolfman; penciller, Carmine Infantino; inker, Tony DeZuniga; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Joe Rosen; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Woman 1 (November 2009)

664962.jpgI’ve heard two things about Spider-Woman. Bendis’s dialogue is laughable and Maleev’s art makes up for it. I generally agree. I mean, sure, Bendis’s writing leaves a lot to be desired, but Jessica’s dialogue is nowhere near as bad as Abigail Brand’s. Bendis writes Brand like she’s Christopher Walken or something. It’s terrible.

Jessica (Spider-Woman barely shows up in this issue) narrates and it’s a definite problem. Superhero narration is hard enough to begin with (look at Jeph Loeb’s atrocious narrations), but Bendis is crossing genders too. He doesn’t do too bad–he’s no worse than Greg Rucka–but not for one moment do I believe Spider-Woman making a Goodfellas reference. Wouldn’t she have been a Skrull captive at that point anyway?

The issue further fails because it doesn’t really establish anything. Is this comic just going to be Spider-Woman hunting aliens? That’ll be damned boring.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist and colorist, Alex Maleev; letterer, Cory Petit; editor, Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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