Spider-Women Alpha #1 Story: Dennis Hopeless, Jason Latour, Robbie Thompson Script: Robbie Thompson Pencils: Vanesa Del Rey Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Travis Lanham Publisher: Marvel
The Spider event of 2016 is here as Spider-Woman, Spider-Gwen, and Silk come together for an eight part crossover event. Spider-Women Alpha #1 is the first installment and sets up the synopsis and overall plot moving forward. How does this comic with 3 story credits turn out?
Gwen Stacy, Spider-Gwen, pays a visit to Earth-616 to meet up with Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman and Cindy Moon, Silk for brunch. After leaving Jessica’s new born baby with a babysitter named Roger, the three of them head back to Gwen’s Earth-65 and go to a “restaurant” that was not at all what Drew needed. After a nice “When Harry Met Sally” homage and a fun acton scene, Gwen discovers that her “dimensional travel watch” has gone missing(stolen unbeknownst to them). With the three of them stuck the hunt is on to find the watch’s whereabouts and get back to Earth-616.
Writer Robbie Thompson does a solid job of capturing Gwen’s voice that Latour has established. She has a bit of a rebellious and punky attitude and her dialogue feels very natural and not at all out of place. I’m currently not reading Spider-Woman or Silk but the way they’re presented in this issue intrigues me to jump on their series. Jessica is dealing with the conflicting lives of super-heroine and motherhood. Cindy is dealing with family and personal identity issues. Thompson has done a solid job of providing enough background and context to know where the characters are at without going into expository dialogue. The story is well paced, the premise is competently set up, and the three characters work off one another naturally. It doesn’t feel forced.
I’m unaware if this was set up in the other series but Spider-Gwen didn’t give any previous clues, non that I can recall, as to who is behind causing our terrific threesome’s turmoil. The issue does a nice job of giving specs and glimpses of the antagonists and when the reveal of the leader does come, it’s a genuine surprise that was set up and hinted at in a previous conversation. A line that is well hidden as it doesn’t feel out of place and can easily be overlooked.
The pencils in this issue is done by Vanesa Del Rey and she’s done great work with books like Scarlet Witch. However that is a character with themes of the fantastical and the mystical arts where her sketchy style fits. Here it doesn’t fit and the characters and story called for a style with more solid lines and clarity. The coloring, by Jordie Bellaire, unfortunately has the same issue. It works well with Rey’s pencils but doesn’t fit the vibe of the story and characters. Hopefully when the event goes into the solo series the artwork will be able accent the story.
Spider-Women Alpha #1 is a strong start to the crossover and competently introduces its audience to its characters and premise for the 8 part event. The story looks like it can be a lot of fun and can pull readers into other female-spider themed characters series that they aren’t reading. The dialogue feels natural and on point in capturing the characters identities. It’s a downer that the artwork is a miss in reflecting the story and characters voice. Fortunately though the reveal in the final page and previously stated positives is more then enough to return for the next installment.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach