I've discussed why I like this character here.  We'll start with her first appearance:

Edge of Spider-Verse #2 (November 2014):

OK, as I've noted before, I've never read any Silver or Bronze Age Gwen Stacy stories, so I don't have the connection to the character that a comics just a few years older than I am might have. An older reader might say, "This isn't my Gwen Stacy!", but I won't have that.

The writer is Jason Latour. By and large, I have no beef with the writing. His dialogue occasionally smacks of "the way these kids talk today".

The art is by Robbi Rodriguez, with colors by Rico Renzi. The art is basically OK. Rodriguez does tend to draw George Stacy with a huge forehead, as though he were about to mutate into the Leader. I like Gwen's costume, similar to Pete's, but different enough that it has some originality to the look.

We're shown that Gwen is drummer for a rock band called the Mary Janes.  MJ is the diva-ish lead singer/lead guitarist,  an African-American girl called Glory (Grant?) is the keyboardist, and a dark-haired girl who is not named is the rhythm guitarist. They are seen practicing a song called "Face It, Tiger".

We get a flashback explaining some of Gwen's history:  She was bitten by a radioactive spider, gained spider-powers, and became the entertainer "Spider-Woman".  Peter Parker, wanting to become special like her, becomes the Lizard, and ends up dying in her arms. J. Jonah Jameson starts a campaign against Spider-Woman, accusing her of murdering Peter. Gwen feels responsible for Pete's death, but not in the way that Jonah means it.

Meanwhile, Captain Stacy is in charge of the police effort to catch her. The police are hot on her trail. We cut to Matt Murdock - who on this Earth is a crooked lawyer working for the Kingpin, which I thought was an interesting twist - having lunch with a muscular, grey-skinned comedy Russian called Aleksei (This world's version of the Rhino?), and sending him knock off George Stacy, in hopes of winning over Spider-Woman.

Aleksei attacks George at a Mary Janes concert, which Gwen is late for.  She beats up the somewhat confused Aleksei, but George gets the drop on her.  She unmasks, and explains to him why she became Spider-Woman.  He weakens, and lets her go. All this is observed by the British Spider-Man, leading into the Spider-Verse storyline.

Overall:  An interesting first look at the character. She would play a fair part in the Spider-Verse story, but I'm not going to get into that here, as I hope to give that story its own thread at some point.

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From your description it sounds like the Mary Janes have been modelled after Josie and the Pussycats

Interesting. Hadn't thought of that.

Spider-Gwen #1 (April 2015)  "Most Wanted?" Part 1

Same writer/artist team.

We start with a couple of members of the Yancy Street Gang defacing an anti-Spider-Woman billboard.  They are caught by Officer (presumably Ben) Grimm, a beat cop, and by the Vulture (who seems to be similar to the Earth-616 Vulture, and is called "Toomes"), who resents the attention Spider-Woman is getting. Grimm tries to get the Vulture, who knocks himoff the building, causing him to fall into a dumpster.

Elsewhere, Spidey is fighting the Bodega Bandit, her "arch-nemesis".  We next see George in Grimm's hospital room with Foggy Nelson, who tells him that he's been removed as commander of the Special Crimes Task Force.  His replacement, Captain Frank Castle. is  brutally "interrogating" Aleksei in the calls (How could Castle hurt someone with super-strength?).Aleksei gives up that he's working for the Kingpin.

Gwen overhears a TV interview speculating whether or not she's leaving the Mary Janes.  She finds her bandmates arguing over whether to replace her.  She decides to try to get publicity by bringing in the Vulture. She uses insulting graffiti to lure him out.  They fight, but he cuts her web, and she is plummeting to Earth!

Overall: Pretty good. the Vulture's not my favorite heel, but he's used well here. Still continuing to slowly develop this Earth.

Spider-Gwen #2 (May 2015) "Most Wanted?" - Part Two

Same writer/artist team

We open with Spidey waking up on a garbage scow, having successfully landed there after falling last issue.  She has a hallucinatory vision of Spider-Ham (whom she met in Spider-Verse), who serves as a sort of bizarre Jiminy Cricket, offering a running critique of her choices in life. This is an interesting use of the character. I've never liked "funny animal" comics much, even animated favorites like Bugs and Daffy have seldom worked well for me in comic book form.  but Spider-Ham works well, here.  (There's a great scene where Gwen accuses him of cannibalism for eating a corn dog, and he  replies that since he's a cartoon, it's not cannibalism, "cannibalism for me would be eating Porky Pig.")  Gwen panics when she realizes she's lost her cellphone, but unbeknownst to her, her father has recovered it.  

We next meet this world's Jean DeWolff, who seems to be buddies with George.

We continue with Gwen awakening on MJ and Glory's couch, having been brought there by Randy Robertson.  We get more of the continuing drama of whether Gwen is committed to the band or not.

Elsewhere, Frank Castle is failing to intimidate the imprisoned Kingpin. Murdock phones in to warn Castle to back off. (Castle is very heelish in this book)   We see that Murdock is busy pressuring to capture Spider-Woman for the Kingpin. (Murdock still seems to have super-senses here.)

George is an an alley (standing in front of a poster advertising Felicia Hardy and the Black Cats) when Gwen finally catches up with him, ready to talk.

Overall: Interesting stuff. I especially like the way they balance Gwen's various stresses - her career as Spider-Woman, her career as a musician and her relationship with her father.

Spider-Gwen #1 (April 2015) "Most Wanted?" Part 1
We start with a couple of members of the Yancy Street Gang defacing an anti-Spider-Woman billboard.

One calls the other Hobie, a probable reference to Hobie Brown aka The Prowler from the original Spider-Man stories.

Gwen overhears a TV interview speculating whether or not she's leaving the Mary Janes. She finds her bandmates arguing over whether to replace her.

The “Rock and Roll Reporter” is Randy Robertson, Joe’s son in the original stories.

Spider-Gwen #2 (May 2015) "Most Wanted?" - Part Two
Overall: Interesting stuff. I especially like the way they balance Gwen's various stresses - her career as Spider-Woman, her career as a musician and her relationship with her father.

I’m reading the first TPB. So far I like it.



Richard Willis said:

Spider-Gwen #1 (April 2015) "Most Wanted?" Part 1
We start with a couple of members of the Yancy Street Gang defacing an anti-Spider-Woman billboard.

One calls the other Hobie, a probable reference to Hobie Brown aka The Prowler from the original Spider-Man stories.

 

The other one - the blonde girl - seems to be called "Izzy". Not sure if that's a reference to an existing character or not.

Spider-Gwen #3 (April 2015) "Most Wanted?" - Part 3

Gwen meets up with George at his home. and they argue about whether she should continue as Spider-Woman. They are interrupted by the Vulture, who believes George is connected to Spidey somehow.  Toomes uses gas, but George shoots him. (The Vulture speaks of "that thief Osborn" - Norman, I assume.)   Castle arrives, and Spidey, weakened by gas, fights him.  He tases and unmask her, but doesn't recognize her. She recovers enough to punch his lights out.  George, seeking to escape the gas, is taken in by Ben Parker, when Gwen escapes to ponder her situation.

Overall: Interesting situation here, as Gwen's carelessness about her secret identity seems to be coming home to roost.  i figure it would be harder to keep a secret identity in this day and age.

Spider-Gwen #3 (April 2015) "Most Wanted?" - Part 3
Toomes uses gas, but George shoots him. (The Vulture speaks of "that thief Osborn" - Norman, I assume.)

I guess Norman is still running Oscorp. They previously stated that Toomes worked for Oscorp until retirement. Toomes seems to be saying that he created a lot of tech, apparently as work for hire.

Castle arrives, and Spidey, weakened by gas, fights him. He tases and unmask her, but doesn't recognize her. She recovers enough to punch his lights out.

Fortunately, when Castle enters the battle they are no longer at the Stacy residence. Castle probably doesn’t know Gwen that well or at all. Nice that they had him wearing a skull T-shirt.

George, seeking to escape the gas, is taken in by Ben Parker, when Gwen escapes to ponder her situation.

They have the Parkers living next door to the Stacys, and Ben says that May will help George recover. With the exception of Castle being a police captain and George not being retired, the supporting cast seems to be following the same pathways one would expect if Gwen was bitten instead of Peter.

Overall: Interesting situation here, as Gwen's carelessness about her secret identity seems to be coming home to roost. i figure it would be harder to keep a secret identity in this day and age.

In the 60s when the original Spidey stories started we didn’t have the ubiquitous video cameras on the streets and cameras on everybody’s phones.

Even in the 40's, it should have been hard to keep a secret ID, nowadays it should be almost impossible unless you've got pretty high-level powers.

Spider-Gwen #4 (July  2015)  "Most Wanted?" - Part 4

Gwen's spider-sense fails her when she confronts the Yancy Streeters. Later, she goes to the Parker house, but can't bring herself to go in.  Ben spots her and makes her come in.  She ends up having a long talk with May, who admits that she's no longer certain that Spider-Woman killed Peter.   We see Gwen return to her band for a performance.  We end with a heavily-injured Frank Castle returning to work.

Overall: A quiet, non-action issue. I know that the "person who returns to work before they should" is a common dramatic thing, but it's ridiculous here. I'm not entirely certain that it would be even legal for the police department to allow someone as badly-hurt as Castle is shown to be to return to duty.

Spider-Gwen #4 (July 2015) "Most Wanted?" - Part 4
She ends up having a long talk with May, who admits that she's no longer certain that Spider-Woman killed Peter.

Aunt May says that Peter “just wasn’t well,” implying that he was mentally unstable. I haven’t read the story where he becomes the Lizard. Maybe they made that clearer in that story.

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