Spider-Gwen #20 Review

Spider-Gwen has one of the most consistent comic books on the stands. With the series being left alone to exist in its own universe, each decision Gwen Stacy makes has greater impact to the world. With this latest volume, Jason Latour has picked things up with Spider-Gwen now working for the Kingpin, Matt Murdock, and the Hand after her father was taken to prison. Now on top of that Latour is having Gwen deal with trying to help her friend, Harry Osborn, as the Kingpin has offered to heal Harry’s Lizard condition. Does Kingpin’s offer to Gwen and Harry have a deeper meaning for his plans to be the top crime boss in the world? Let’s find with Spider-Gwen #20

Writer: Jason Latour

Artist: Robbi Rodriguez

Colorist: Rico Renzi

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: In Madripoor, Spider-Woman leads the Hand ninjas in a chase through the city as they try to get Harry Osborn to stop running. Spider-Woman is finally able to stop Harry by tackling him into some cars on the streets.

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Spider-Woman asks Harry why he kept running. Harry reveals he was not running away from her but Wolverine, who shows up out of the shadows from an alley way.

Wolverine compliments Harry on being a difficult bounty to catch and tells Spider-Woman to leave. Spider-Woman does not back down as Wolverine says. Seeing this Wolverine attacks Spider-Woman. Spider-Woman is able to dodge long enough to get an opening and dropkicks Wolverine into a car.

Spider-Woman tells Harry that they need to get away. The Hand ninjas show up and Spider-Woman reveals that they are with her, much to Harry’s surprise. The Hand ninja attack Wolverine, giving Spider-Woman the chance to get Harry away from the scene.

As they get away Harry goes over Wolverine’s history with Spider-Woman. Wolverine turns out to be someone known as “The Immortal Mr. MurderHands” who was once a samurai that because of his skills was constantly brought by from near-death situations. During his long life Wolverine ended up in the Weapon X program and was eventually approached by SHIELD to work for them as a Black Ops member.

Spider-Woman wonders why SHIELD would come after Harry since SHIELD is supposed to be the good guys. Harry says that SHIELD is after the formula SILK used to make him the Lizard. He then says that even if they escape from Wolverine’s claws someone else will come after them.

Shadowcat suddenly appears and is able to phase through Spider-Woman, quickly grabs Harry and holds him hostage with her claws. Spider-Woman tries to get Shadowcat to back down by revealing that she is trying to help cure Harry. Shadowcat does not care as she is only interested in fulfilling her contract.

Shadowcat is suddenly tased from behind. Wolverine shows up, with a bunch of arrows in his body, and says that the contract on Harry’s head is his to collect. Wolverine and Shadowcat start fighting, giving Spider-Woman the opportunity to escape with Harry.

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Back in New York City, Matt Murdock visits District Attorney Foggy Nelson. Foggy goes over how impossible it is for them to get George Stacy out of his trial given that he wants to speak under oath and the Frank Castle information is hanging over the case. Matt tells Foggy that he has it figured out for them.

A little later, Matt enters his car with Doctor Brock inside. Doctor Brock angrily wants to know why she is risking everything just to give him the Venom research after he revealed everything to Spider-Woman. Matt reveals that while George Stacy tried to give Gwen his sense of justice she has become corrupted the moment she got her powers as she wants nothing more than to be Spider-Woman, even if it is through power-up pills.

Back in Madripoor, Gwen tells Harry that she made a deal with Matt to help her dad and give her powers as her own powers are broken. She then goes over how Matt has plans to draw the Lizard mutagen out of Harry and “fix” her powers at the same time.

Harry seems to ignore everything Gwen is saying as he is searching for something. Harry finds what he is looking for and it turns out to be Peter’s old 20 sided dice. Gwen tries to convince Harry that they can’t just continue running. Harry says he has always understood the stakes and gives her Peter’s dice.

The Hand ninja show up and tell Gwen that they must leave immediately. Gwen puts her Spider-Woman mask back on and tells Harry that she is ready to make one last roll.

Spider-Woman and Lizard then get back-to-back and start fighting the Hand ninjas. End of issue.

The Good: Jason Latour makes sure to pack every issue with as many things as possible. Spider-Gwen #20 is no different as we have so much going on around Spider-Gwen trying to save Harry Osborn that it could easily feel overwhelming. But with tight plotting, Latour is able to make the things Matt Murdock, the Hand, Wolverine and Shadowcat do amplify Spider-Gwen’s current story.

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One of the best things that Latour does is how he is able to bring in classic characters from the main Marvel Universe and make some adjustments to make them feel like an even better complimentary piece to the world he has created for Spider-Gwen. Wolverine’s introduction to the universe is a great example of that. Latour makes sure he maximizes the time of this issue to give us a quick look at Wolverine’s origin without getting in the way of the flow to the story. In doing so, Wolverine’s origin actually added to the history of the world and what is going on as we understood how much trouble he is for Spider-Gwen.

Adding in a Shadowcat that is very different from the mainline universe was a great touch. Seeing Shadowcat have elements of her Age of Apocalypse look was a great touch. Her entire design made her look just as dangerous as Wolverine. This helped get over how unlike their mainline universe counterpart, Wolverine and Shadowcat are SHIELD mercenary rivals. That turn in their relationship added an interesting element to the rest of the universe and sets both characters up to be follow upped on in future issues.

Wolverine and Shadowcat’s appearance helped amplify how much Spider-Gwen has going against as she now tries to help Harry Osborn out. With everything against her Latour is able to shine a greater light in how genuine of a hero Spider-Gwen is. Because while it is obvious that Matt Murdock is using Spider-Gwen for his own needs, she is still doing all this in order to help save Harry from his fate as the Lizard. That is best shown with how things ended with Spider-Gwen realized to help Harry she had to help him fight the Hand, Wolverine and Shadowcat.

Having Spider-Gwen go up against all these forces further points to how desperate things are for Gwen right now. Not only does she have to deal with what is going back home with her dad but she also is trying to help Harry out and continue being the superhero she wants to be. The fight with Wolverine was a good highlight for where Spider-Gwen is currently with her skills. At the same time Latour does highlight how Spider-Gwen is trying to hang by a thread as she tries to continue to be a superhero.

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That is where seeing Matt doing his own thing while Spider-Gwen is away even more fascinating. Latour has done a great job in making Matt into a convincing Kingpin as everything he does has an ulterior motive that benefits him. His interactions with Foggy and Doctor Brock showed us this as he clearly views everyone, including Spider-Gwen and her dad, as chess pieces to his pursuit of greater power. All of this makes you want to see Spider-Gwen knock Matt’s ass out even more, especially every time he gives that wicked smile of his to another character.

Robbi Rodriguez once again delivered some strong artwork. His unique style gives everything that happens in Spider-Gwen #20 it’s own look. The universe has a completely different vibe that extends to the characters. With Wolverine and Shadowcat’s introduction, Rodriguez was able to make these characters his own with designs that were identifiable but unique to the world Spider-Gwen exists in.

The Bad: The ending wasn’t the best way to end the issue. It didn’t make complete sense that Gwen would turn on the Hand when they did not show any aggression towards her or Harry in the second to final page. It would’ve been a much more effective ending if we saw Gwen and Harry team up to take on Wolverine and Shadowcat since the Hand were a non-factor for most of the issue. It didn’t take away from everything else Spider-Gwen #20 did well but it was an odd way to end the issue.

Overall: Spider-Gwen #20 was another excellent entry into one of Marvel’s best ongoing series. Jason Latour continues to do a great job juggling multiple sub-plots that help enhance the main story going on with Spider-Gwen trying to save her father and Harry Osborn. Wolverine and Shadowcat’s introductions were handled seamlessly as they add even more depth to how SHIELD works within this universe. All of these elements make Spider-Gwen an exciting reading experience that makes you look forward to what happens next.