Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez’s run on Spider-Gwen has been one of my favorite creative team runs since this series started as a spinoff of Spider-Verse. They have done a good job creating a Marvel Universe that has been built on the back of Spider-Gwen’s popularity. But as much as I’ve enjoyed Latour and Rodriguez’s run this final story arc with Gwen Stacy revealing to the world she is Spider-Woman has not been as well executed as one would hope. There have been a lot of strange story decisions that have made Latour and Rodriguez’s final story arc on Spider-Gwen click as well as all the stories that preceded it. Hopefully Latour and Rodriguez can end their run on this series with a great comic in Spider-Gwen #34. Let’s see if that is the case with Spider-Gwen #34.
Writer: Jason Latour
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorists: Rico Renzi and Lauren Affe
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Gwen Stacy completes her year long jail sentence. She nervously leaves the prison she has been in for the last year.
Sometime later Gwen wakes up from a nightmare in her dad’s hospital room. Gwen notices that her dad isn’t in his hospital bed. Dr. Asim Strange walks in and tells Gwen that they will be releasing her dad after he passes his last few tests. Dr. Strange tells Gwen that while there isn’t anything physically wrong with George Stacy after completing his recovery his spirit is broken since he has the weight of his damage reputation on his shoulders.
While George is getting ready to leave the hospital he notices Venom spiders in his shoes.
After getting out of the hospital Gwen and George joke around about what is next for them. George then says they should race to get dollar hot dogs.
Gwen takes her dad up on the race and quickly gets to the restaurant. When George catches up he is angered to find a mob around Gwen, taking pictures of his daughter after she showed off her powers.
At a convenience store, while her dad buys some water, Gwen notices all the Spider-Gwen memorabilia and clothes on the wall. Gwen decides to buy one of the Spider-Gwen hoodies.
Outside Gwen asks her dad what’s wrong. George says he knows Gwen is still keeping secrets as she has her spiders looking out for him. He then tells Gwen that it is not her job to protect him.
Gwen says “we are just concerned.” George wonders who is “we.” Gwen admits that her bond with the Venom symbiote is stronger though a bit uncontrollable as it is conflicted by all the emotions she has bottled up. Gwen then says that it is her responsibility to show the Venom symbiote the right way to do things.
George then wonders what they did to deserve this life. Gwen says while they may not be the heroes they thought they were they have to continue moving forward. George wonders how they can do that with how things are right now.
Gwen shows her dad her hoodie and says that there are people who see Spider-Gwen as someone to believe in. George argues that while there are those that believe in Spider-Gwen, there are those who look to take her down. Gwen says if the way she can help is with her fist she will continue to try. George accepts this and says he will help Gwen moving forward whatever way he can in order to support her.
Gwen then swings the two of them to the restaurant to get some hot dogs.
While eating Gwen asks her dad what it was like to almost die. George relates it to be dreaming, explaining the things he saw during that time, though he thinks it’s nothing like seeing a giant walking spider. Gwen admits that it took her time to get used to her Spider-Gwen life but she finally accepts that there is no such thing as normal.
Gwen then thinks back to when the Mary Janes were talking about touring the country to perform everywhere they can. Gwen thinks they should start their tour locally but they suddenly get a gig in Fresno.
Back in the present, Gwen hears a fire sirens outside. George tells her daughter he loves her. They hug and Gwen leaves to help out.
Elsewhere a large fire has consumed a big building. When one of the firefighters almost falls falls off the roof of the building Spider-Gwen shows up and catches him. Gwen introduces herself as Spider-Gwen and continues to help out. End of issue.
The Good: Spider-Gwen #34 is not the perfect end fans may be looking for. There are definitely some satisfying aspects to Spider-Gwen #34. This largely comes from the focal point of Gwen Stacy and George Stacy’s long conversation. That is the main driving force for Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez final Spider-Gwen issue for better or worse.
With everything that has happened since Spider-Gwen partnered with Kingpin Matt Murdock it was great to see how Gwen Stacy accepted her role in everything that happened. Latour made sure the weight of Gwen’s decision was something that she continued to carry even after being released from prison. But instead of just being in a bad place because of this Latour made Gwen face this result as a grown-up as she was willing to move on in order to continue on as Spider-Gwen.
Having Gwen accept everything made her conversation with her father, George Stacy, much stronger. For once it was Gwen who had a clear idea of how they should move forward. Her being the strong one in the family showed that Gwen has come a long way since becoming Spider-Gwen. Even her saying she wants to make the Venom symbiote into something positive showed that she is looking forward rather than backwards now.
Gwen’s outlook was nicely balanced out with how George, fresh out of the hospital, questioned his daughter’s decisions. Latour did a good job having George voice all of his concerns for their current status quo. Throughout the conversation Latour was able to portray George as a concern parent rather than just someone completely against Gwen as Spider-Woman. This portrayal made his final acceptance that Gwen must continue on as Spider-Gwen a good moment between the father and daughter to end on.
As always Robbi Rodriguez delivered good artwork that is stylized to make Spider-Gwen #34 standout from every other comic on the market. Rodriguez did a good job getting across how much weight is on Gwen Stacy’s shoulder. At the same time, he showed how confident in her future Gwen was with her facial expressions during her talk with her dad. It was those facial reactions that made the dialogue heavy issue come across better than it would have without this type of artwork.
The Bad: As well done as the conversation between Gwen and George was there was a lot that felt that was missing from Spider-Gwen #34. With this being Latour’s final issue it would’ve added to Gwen’s arc if she would’ve interacted with the other members in her supporting cast. Specifically, it would’ve been great to see where Gwen stands with her Mary Jane bandmates given how big of a supporting role they’ve played during Latour’s run. For us to only get a scene of Gwen and the Mary Janes told in flashback form was disappointing. It did not give the reader the idea where Gwen stands with them after getting out of jail or what they think about Gwen. Without them around in the present this issue felt incomplete.
The same goes for the status quo Latour establishes for Spider-Gwen. While it was cool to see Spider-Gwen be well regarded by the public there should’ve been an equal balance to show those that aren’t a fan of her. George’s speech about villains looking to take Spider-Gwen down would’ve been strengthen by showing how certain media members or people in the city still do not like Spider-Gwen. Without that, any opposition that Spider-Gwen still has to face feels non-existence. It was almost as if the only opposition Spider-Gwen now has is trying to make the Venom symbiote a good thing.
That lack of balance of showing all sides took away from how much Spider-Gwen has had to battle to get to the point where there is merchandise in her image being sold. While we don’t necessarily need to see people throwing stuff at her, it would have gotten over everything that happened to see people from the other side in the opinion of Spider-Gwen. Even someone wearing an anti-Spider-Gwen shirt amongst the crowd would’ve done something to show how things currently aren’t completely friendly towards Spider-Gwen.
It was also odd that over these last few issues we didn’t get more about how Spider-Gwen stands with the rest of the superhero community. Seeing a character like Captain America, who has had a strong presence in this series, would’ve been nice. Even if it was seeing Captain America pick up Gwen when she was released from prison would’ve helped shape Spider-Gwen’s current status quo. Without that there is no idea given what Gwen’s real status quo is other than Gwen officially changing her superhero name from Spider-Woman to Spider-Gwen.
Also by having everyone know who Spider-Gwen it puts whoever follows up on this in a tough stop since nothing else is set up for what the status quo can be. The way things end almost force the next creative team to reboot the world Spider-Gwen is in. Especially since it is public knowledge that Gwen is Spider-Gwen it is hard to picture her having a life outside of her superhero identity. Not setting that part up by showing her relationship standing with the Mary Janes or the NYPD further highlight this problem with the character moving forward.
Overall: Spider-Gwen #34 is not the perfect ending that fans of Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez run may have been hoping for. The conversation between Gwen and George Stacy carries this issue to have a satisfying conclusion to their relationship as father and daughter. Though the lack of the rest of this series’ supporting cast hurt the overall impact of Gwen’s decision at the end of issue. So as much as I enjoyed Latour and Rodriguez’s run on Spider-Gwen it is hard not to be disappointed in how things wrapped up in an unfinished way.