Ghost-Spider #2 Review

Ghost-Spider #2 Review

Seanan McGuire and Takeshi Miyazawa got the new Ghost-Spider series off to a strong start as Spider-Gwen began her dual life on Earth-616 and Earth-65. Living a life on two different universes has immediately provided Gwen Stacy with the challenge of how she will juggle everything she has going on. From her adventures as Ghost-Spider on Earth-65 in her home universe to her college life in the main Marvel Universe’s Earth-616, Spider-Gwen is up to a lot. Things will only pile up with possibly her greatest challenge to date in the form of two versions of Miles Warren, otherwise known as Jackal, looming in the shadows of both universes. How will Gwen deal with everything coming her way? Let’s find out with Ghost-Spider #2.

Writer: Seanan McGuire

Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa

Inkers: Takeshi Miyazawa and Rosi Kampe

Colorist: Ian Herring

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: When she arrives back home on Earth-65 Gwen Stacy is shocked to hear from her father that Mayor J. Jonah Jameson had the police release Man-Wolf because he is his son, John Jameson. George Stacy says that this is out of his hands which frustrates Gwen. George assures his daughter the police are going to be keeping a close eye on John moving forward.

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George then reminds Gwen that she needs to go to school while he handles things as the Chief of Police. Gwen agrees and promises to see her dad after all her classes are done.

A little later Gwen shows up in New York City on Earth-616 as Ghost-Spider. After finding a billboard to stand on Gwen remembers to eat like Peter Parker told her to in order to keep her symbiote suite from growing hungry. After fueling up Gwen swings to a place she can change into her street clothes.

Gwen rushes to her first classes before she gets to late. While running she runs into another student that is going to the same class she was in a rush to get to. As they talk while finding seats the guy introduces himself as Kosei and asks Gwen to go to lunch. Gwen says she can’t today. Kosei then asks for Gwen’s number but she can’t do that either since she still doesn’t have a phone. Kosei then decides to give Gwen his number instead.

The professor for Gwen’s Introduction to Political Science then begins her lecture. As that goes on Miles Warren spots Gwen while watching from outside the classroom. Miles believes Gwen wanted him to find her and focus on not losing her again.

As he walks through the hallway another professor asks Miles, who she calls “Professor Guarinus, if he is rejoining the ethics committee. Miles says he can’t as he has his own research he must do first.

Seeing what time it is Miles locks himself in Professor Guarinus’ biology lab and transforms into the Jackal. Miles reflects on how he was able to maintain his human form much longer this time around. He takes what he learns to improve his formula to get his human form back, which he hopes will eventually be a permanent solution to controlling his Jackal state.

A little later Gwen finishes her Media Studies class and says outloud how odd it is to get homework assignments that involves watching television. One of the students tells Gwen she shouldn’t complain about being able to multi-task homework from two classes. Gwen reveals she does not have access to streaming services, playing it off because she is new to the city. The student says she is from Australia and has her own login. 

She then offers to do the Media Studies assignment together. Gwen says she can be free after her biology class at four. They then tell each other their names, with the student revealing her name to be Benji.

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Gwen gets to her next class and is surprised to find that it is going to be taught by Peter, who is filling in for Doctor Connors.

After class Peter asks Gwen to meet him. Peter asks Gwen about her first day in class. Gwen says she has enjoyed her classes and has already met several new friends. She goes on to say that she needs to head home so she can call her dad. 

Peter then asks if his diet recommendations are working. Gwen says it is though she is still getting headaches on occasion. Gwen then says she has to bounce to call her dad before meeting up with a friend for a study session.

While changing into her Ghost-Spider costume Gwen reflects on how, while it is nice to talk to him, it is odd that Peter is so much older than her. 

Gwen then opens a portal to get back to Earth-65. 

As soon as she gets back Ghost-Spider runs into some of Man-Wolf’s thugs threatening a young couple. Ghost-Spider quickly defeats them. She webs two of the thugs up and lets the other runaway so he can tell his leader not to do anything again.

Ghost-Spider makes sure the couple is okay and finds out they are tourist. She tells them to call the cops as she has something to take care of.

Gwen then finds a quiet rooftop and calls her dad. George tells Gwen that John and Mayor Jameson have been quiet. Gwen mentions that she ran into Man-Wolf’s thugs earlier. She goes on to say she will make sure to go on patrol after her study session.

Gwen then teleports back to Earth-616 and swings over to meet up with Benji.

Over at Professor Guarinus’ lab Benji tells Miles that she is about to meet up with Gwen. Benji asks Miles if he is planning to hurt Gwen. Miles says all he wants to know is where she comes from. While Benji thinks this is all odd Miles says that once Benji learns Gwen’s secrets he will give her what she wants.

Benji wonders if this means they all win, including Gwen. Miles wickedly smiles and says “Oh, especially Miss Stacy.” End of issue.

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The Good: Ghost-Spider #2 continues the world building that the first issue of this new series starring Spider-Gwen established. This world building is definitely needed as Gwen Stacy is now splitting her time between two universes. Having this type of set-up means Seanan McGuire and Takeshi Miyazawa must be careful about how Gwen is juggling multiple different lifestyles. Which is exactly what McGuire and Miyazawa are showing to have with Ghost-Spider #2.

As much as it would be for the best that Gwen either stayed in her universe on Earth-65 or was merged with the main Marvel Universe on Earth-616 the fact is that neither one is happening. For now Gwen’s status quo involves her splitting time between Earth-65 and Earth-616. And to McGuire’s credit, she is doing a great job using this status quo to expand on how Gwen handles having a personal and superhero life at the same time. 

It was already difficult before but this new shake-up, while still difficult, is the new start Gwen needed. Gwen has been through so much from the moment she became Spider-Gwen. She was in need of something that could give her a fresh start. Which is what we see with how Gwen interacts with her new friends at Empire State University with a wide-eyed happiness she hasn’t been able to have in a long time. Gwen is finally able to feel a sense of normalcy while on ESU’s campus. 

Taking time to establish Kosei and Benji as the first new members of Gwen’s supporting cast was a good move. Up until now all of Gwen’s supporting cast has been an alternate universe version of Spider-Man characters. Now with her being a student at ESU McGuire has the opportunity to expand on Gwen’s cast. Which is what we see with the introduction of Kosei and Benji in Ghost-Spider #2.

Other than the Harry Osborn of her universe and Miles Morales we haven’t seen how Gwen interacts with a potential love interest. Her being oblivious to Kosei’s flirting spoke to how Gwen is just looking to have friends right now. Kosei, for his part, did not come across as being obnoxious when trying to get Gwen’s number. McGuire was very careful to treat Kosei as a normal guy in his interaction with Gwen. It opens things up to see how Gwen and Kosei interact in the future.

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On the Benji front, what elevated her introduction above Kosei was the ending of Ghost-Spider #2 revealing she is working with Miles Warren. Before that reveal Benji’s interaction with Gwen fell on a similar level to Kosei as a new potential friend. But having that Miles Warren connection instantly makes you wonder what Benji’s motives are. That is still not clear as Benji did not say what she is getting out of working with Miles Warren.

Speaking of Miles, it was a good move by McGuire to keep the focus of this story on the Earth-616 version of the character. The only spot where McGuire slipped up with Ghost-Spider #1 was in involving both the Earth-616 and Earth-65 versions of Miles Warren. That immediately makes things messy for a series in Ghost-Spider that Marvel wants to attract a new audience. With the history that already exist when it comes to Gwen Stacy and Miles Warren things need to be kept simple.

Which is where Ghost-Spider #2 immediately fixes by keeping the villain plot of this story arc focused on the Miles Warren/Jackal of Earth-616. McGuire does a great job portraying the creepy wickedness that comes with Miles’ character. There is an uneasy energy to every scene that Miles is in. That unease gives the Miles’ much more credibility as the Jackal. That is saying a lot since Jackal has been one of the most poorly developed villains in Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery.

McGuire also is able to give some further depth to the character as we see that Miles is trying to find a way to control his Jackal appearance. That is not something that has been touched on since Miles’ has been operating happily as Jackal for a long-time. This gives more credence to Miles having a renewed motivation to regain his human appearance in large part because a Gwen Stacy from another universe has appeared. It all helps build on how now as the Jackal, Miles can shift over to being one of Ghost-Spider’s most menacing villains in her own rogues gallery.

As that all takes place on Earth-616, McGuire does not forget about Gwen’s life on Earth-65. With so much going on with Gwen’s college life it is clear that McGuire is going to be taking a slowburn approach with the Man-Wolf overarching plotline. That is the right direction to take because the things going on with Man-Wolf are going to become even more personal. 

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We see how personal things already are with how Gwen reacted to the news that Mayor J. Jonah Jameson helped his son, John Jameson/Man-Wolf, get out of prison. Adding the governmental element of Mayor Jameson protecting his son adds a new level of depth to what Gwen has to combat as Ghost-Spider. If Gwen is not careful she can find herself in the same spot that landed her in prison during the massive conflict she had with Earth-65 Matt Murdock. 

Captain George Stacy being a calming force was also well done. McGuire shows Captain Stacy as the consistent presence that Gwen needs. The subtle way he shows his concern for his daughter in the way he calms her down about the Man-Wolf situation showed how important Captain Stacy is. It also showed how good at his job Captain Stacy is as he is well aware of how he and his precinct must handle things with Mayor Jameson. Captain Stacy’s active involvement will benefit this sub-plot to have a strong slow burn while Gwen deals with other obstacles like the Jackal.

Similarly, Peter Parker being in one quick page to check up on how Gwen’s first day was further established his role in this series as a mentor of sorts. The chemistry between Peter and Gwen in this type of relationship shined once again in Ghost-Spider #2. Peter doesn’t need to be in every issue of Ghost-Spider or be involved in what Gwen has going on. But using Peter in a way that supports and guides Gwen in her life at ESU and adventures as Ghost-Spider is a good role for him to serve. He has experience in the same type of challenges Gwen has faced so he can impart some of that to her. 

For his part, Takeshi Miyazawa does a great job capturing the youthfulness of Gwen Stacy and her world. As Ghost-Spider #2 took place during Gwen’s first day at ESU, Miyazawa captured how excited Gwen was to have new experiences and meeting new people while at college. The little details that Miyazawa makes, such as how Gwen is still not used to how she teleports between the two universes, add to the storytelling McGuire is going for. 

Miyazawa also does a good job with the bit of action he got to draw. The fight with the thugs is a strong example of the energetic action scenes we can expect once Ghost-Spider gets into a fight with Jackal and Man-Wolf. 

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The Bad: As this series moves forward we will hopefully see McGuire be able to use more of Gwen’s supporting cast on Earth-65. Gwen mentioning her Mary Jane is a reminder of how much McGuire will need to juggle to not make issues cluttered. At the same time, Mary Jane and other supporting characters missing from Ghost-Spider #2 was noticeable since McGuire points it out in the dialogue she gives Gwen. Hopefully the established supporting cast from the Spider-Gwen days are set aside and we see a better handling of the supporting cast from Earth-616 and Earth-65.

Overall: Ghost-Spider #2 is a strong sophomore issue for the new series starring Spider-Gwen. Seanan McGuire spends quality time developing how Gwen Stacy is juggling her life on Earth-616 and Earth-65. Part of that juggling involved progressing the threats of Jackal on Earth-616 and Man-Wolf on Earth-65 pose to the world around Gwen. The balance between her personal life and threats from multiple villains provides a lot of intriguing plotlines to follow in Gwen’s life in and out of her Ghost-Spider costume. 


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