High Five! Comics

Spider-Woman: Can Jessica Drew Carry an Ongoing Solo Title?

Posted on: September 30, 2009

FEB092519_mThere isn’t much going on at Marvel that I’m interested in right now, which isn’t terribly surprising. Marvel tends to be a boy’s club (said the female comic geek) and even though I’m sure Marvel Divas is fine if you’re into that sort of thing, I’ll start buying what Marvel markets to women when they can stop wrapping it in Pepto-Bismol pink. I like comics, ok Marvel? When you name a comic book “Divas” I half expect Celine Dion to show up. I’m not saying Divas is bad, I haven’t read it yet. For all I know, it’s the best book ever; but when comics are running $2.99+ an issue, I damn well do judge them by their covers. I don’t need a cutesy looking book, DO YOU HEAR ME JOE QUESADA? Just get some kick ass writers to write kick ass female characters and try not to call them Divas and wrap them up in SPECIAL FOR GIRLS TPB pink. Girls who LIKE comics are insulted, and girls who don’t like comics still aren’t going to buy them.

That said, thank you for Spider-Woman. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I like Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man is one of the four Marvel titles on my regular pull list, thankyouverymuch) so I picked up Spider-Woman last week. I know next to nothing about Jessica Drew, except that the Skrulls impersonated her and used her likeness to fuck a lot of shit up, but now the real Jessica is back. That’s it. That’s all I know. Well, other than the fact that along with Ms. Marvel, she’s one of only two women in the Marvel U carrying her own title right now.

821615-list_superThe only other female Marvel character I can think of who’s carried her own title in recent years is She-Hulk, and they keep shoving her into the Fantastic Four and the Lady Liberators. Oh, and cancelling her book. Most of Marvel’s female characters weren’t created to be standalone heroes, but to be part of a team. When a character is created to fill a specific role in a group, he or she is hard-pressed to carry a successful solo series. Wolverine is the exception that proves the rule, but come on, would you really buy a Cyclops solo book?

Jessica Drew might be able to carry a solo title longer than Jennifer Walters has ever managed to. She-Hulk’s never had much going for her. Seriously. There just aren’t that many places to take a watered down, big-boobied version of the Hulk. She-Hulk is completely derivative of the male Hulk which makes her one dimensional at best. Besides, the only time she actually seems to get used these days is in courtroom scenes anyway. Spider-Woman, on the other hand (name not withstanding), exists outside of Spider-Man continuity. Her powers are different from Peter Parker’s, her origin isn’t remotely related to his and she’s been screwed far more thoroughly than he has. Between the crazy scientist parents, the being raised in stasis, the HYDRA brainwashing, the Skrull invasion, Jessica is indeed the most screwed person in the universe. At this point she’s been screwed over just as hard, if not harder, than Wolverine – a comparison Bendis makes in issue one.

Bendis has proclaimed his love for the character a million times over; I love it when the powers-that-be give a good writer the chance to reboot a personally beloved character. Take a seasoned writer and let him have at the character he’s wanted to write for years and I guarantee you it’s going to be a blast to read. I never watched more than a preview of the motion comic version of Spider-Woman, and while I know this book was designed specifically for that format, I didn’t notice. Spider-Woman is dark, brooding, gritty and hot damn! Abby Brand shows up within the first ten pages, gives Jess a skrull detector and sends her off to Maripoor to wreck shit.

The Big Two have finally begun to put some serious effort into growing their female ranks. Rucka’s Batwoman should get her own title when Bruce gets back from the dead (sort of) and wants Detective Comics back, if she doesn’t get one it’ll be a crime. Abby Brand has become the female Nick Fury (Abigail Brand: Director of S.W.O.R.D. anyone? Close enough.) and if the first issue is any indication, Spider-Woman is going to be kicking ass for a while to come.

I drank a chilled glass of UV Pink Lemonade over ice with Spider-Woman. This is what happens when we start to run low on booze.


12 Responses to "Spider-Woman: Can Jessica Drew Carry an Ongoing Solo Title?"

I’m sad you’ve discounted She-Hulk, the idea may be derivitive. But her solo series was fantastic during the run that Dan Slott did of that book are some of my favorite comics ever produced. They are smart, fun, funny, and deal as much with Jennifer Walters as they do with She-Hulk, she’s treated as a multi-dimensional character. I realize you probably havn’t read the book, but I highly recommend it. Please don’t write it off. If you like fun books with strong female characters I think you’d enjoy it.

You know, it’s not that I dislike She-Hulk, in fact I love her when she’s “also starring.” I think a lot of characters, especially in the Marvel U, just function better in a team-up setting than on their own. Oddly, DC has fallen into the opposite trap over the years.

I have to agree. The first three years of She-Hulk (one year, got relaunched, two more years) by Dan Slott and company were absolutely great. You really should give it a chance.

Yeah, She-Hulk was a great book back in the day; I don’t know why smart and funny always sells worse than grim and gritty, but apparently it’s some kind of natural law.

I’m still on the fence about Marvel Divas; it’s not a bad comic, but there’s something slightly off about it, like they’re cribbing their dialogue from a Sex and the City episode. I almost said “a bad Sex in the City episode,” but that would be redundant. Lots of character moments, not a lot of story yet.

Still, I love seeing second/third/fourth-tier characters getting their own books, so how could I not check this one out? I’m just hoping it digs in and goes somewhere, soon. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t…until it does, I can’t in good faith recommend it. In the meantime, I’d just point people at the recent (and fucking awesome) Patsy Walker: Hellcat 5-issue miniseries, which never gets enough love.

Marvel seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of how to market to women. And in the comics universe the proper way to market to women is: don’t. I think most female comic book fans realize that we’re not exactly the target demographic and we LIKE THAT. The superhero genre will probably always skew a toward fanboy wankery, it’s just the nature of the beast, but comics in general don’t need to be marketed specifically to females. There are plenty of books that will appeal to women without the need for condescension.

I know Black Widow’s getting a book (a miniseries, I think). At SDCC this year, I asked Joe Quesada what Marvel was planning to do with their female heroes. Instead of mentioning, I dunno, Abby Brand in S.W.O.R.D., he asked if I’d read Divas and I made a face like I’d just eaten pickled turnips. I realize 99% of cape & tights books are aimed at anybody but women, but come ON Marvel- if I want to watch Sex and the City, I’ll freaking watch Sex and the City.

That’s why Spider-Woman was such a breath of fresh air for me, and I’m really looking forward to S.W.O.R.D. #1.

Spiderwoman sounds awesome!

One of these days I’ll get you trained. Spiders get hyphens.


I only say this to protect you from the overzealous. (WHICH I’M TOTALLY NOT- OH WAIT. Son of a bitch! 🙂 )

I was typin’ fast! No time for accuracy! 🙂

I was trying to nail down exactly why I’m so excited by this book. I like Spider-Woman as a character, her old cartoon series was a laff. She’s been used effectively by Bendis in his New Avengers and I like the set up for this new series.

The main reason I thought I wanted the book was because Bendis/Maleev as a couple have earned enough credits with me through their phenomenal Daredevil run that I am willing to see if their same business works here. I read the first issue and it is pretty good. I didn’t think it was great, but it was also a first issue, they have credits with me than that. I’ll give them an arc, but I always get this feeling that I know it will come round and be great.

Now I know where that feeling comes from and it stems from something you’ve said.

When a great creator finally gets their hands on a property they’ve been itching to do for ages you know it’s going to be good. I agree, and that’s why The Immortal Iron Fist is a huge favourite of mine. The creator gets some room to breathe because they’re usually the only ones who want to do it, and it’s almost got that vibe they can create in their creator-owned stuff.

I’m giving Jessica Drew some time to breathe, and I don’t think I will be disappointed.

Exactly, creator-owned stuff is great, but it’s always fun to see what a great writer can do with a classic 2nd, 3rd, or 4th stringer. Morrison’s Animal Man comes to mind.

[…] on constant Galactus watch. I feel safer already. Hopefully we’ll see a lot of her in Spider-Woman and I can’t freakin’ wait for S.W.O.R.D. #1, starring Brand, Lockheed, and Beast. Now I […]

[…] a Christmas present in October this year; Rob picked up Spider-Woman #1 (Volume One, not the new Bendis run) for me at Long Beach Comic Con. (Thanks Rob!) I finally opened it tonight, thinking “This […]

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