Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider has quietly been one of Marvel’s more consistent titles. Seanan McGuire and Takeshi Miyazawa have done a good job carrying the torch they were given after Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez defined who Spider-Gwen is. Specifically, McGuire and Miyazawa have been able to explore everyone in Spider-Gwen’s universe knowing that she is Spider-Woman to challenge the character in new ways. Things came to a full head with this status quo as Gwen Stacy’s personal life crossover with her Spider-Woman life in a dangerous way thanks to Man-Wolf. Now the question is if Spider-Gwen can continue operating the way she is? Or is a major change in order to keep those she cares about safe? Let’s find that out now with Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #10.
Writer: Seanan McGuire
Artists: Takeshi Miyazawa and Rosi Kampe
Colorist: Ian Herring
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Spider-Woman easily defeats some thugs in the middle of a crime. As she does that Gwen thinks of how she has been having bad headaches lately that she believes are being caused by the symbiote she is using to give her spider powers.
After webbing the thugs up Spider-Woman decides to find answers of what may be happening to her in another universe since Dr. Elsa Brock (the creator of the symbiote in Spider-Gwen’s universe) is missing. She uses the dimension hopping device another universe version of herself to go to Earth-616.
As soon as Spider-Gwen arrives on Earth-616 her powers stop working. Spider-Gwen theorizes since the web of life and destiny are damaged (due to the events of Spider-Geddon) her costume isn’t able to give powers on Earth-616. Since she can’t swing around she asks some Empire State University students where the library is.
Spider-Gwen then goes to the library and look up where Peter is only to find out he working at ESU. Spider-Gwen finally regains her powers and goes to the rooftop to start her search.
When she gets to the roof Spider-Man (Peter Parker) is already there waiting for her after the interdimensional portal detector he created alerted him to her presence. Spider-Gwen says she came to his universe to find him because she has been having trouble using her powers. She goes on to say that something is wrong with her symbiote and wants to find Eddie Brock since he has the most experience with symbiotes and is the Earth-616 version of Dr. Elsa Brock from her universe (Earth-65).
Spider-Man tells Spider-Gwen he will help her but before they go with the plan of getting Eddie’s attention and possibly fighting Venom he will analyze her symbiote at his lab in ESU.
A little while later, after giving Spider-Man a symbiote spider sample, he and Spider-Gwen are swinging through the city. Spider-Gwen’s powers continue to act up, as she even notices small spiders in the air. Spider-Man tells her that he will need a week to fully analyze the sample.
Spider-Man notices Spider-Gwen is acting oddly and asks what is wrong. Spider-Gwen brings up how she getting her headaches again and needs to eat since her symbiote suit burns a lot of calories.
Spider-Man takes Spider-Gwent to eat some hot dogs, though she prefers corn dogs. As they are getting some food Spider-Gwen asks Spider-Man about his plagiarism scandal. Spider-Man goes over how Doctor Octopus took over his body and as Peter Parker finished his degree so when he regained control of his body he was called out for plagiarism shortly thereafter even though he didn’t have control of his own body.
Spider-Gwen is shocked by hearing this but Spider-Man quickly finds a way to change subjects by bantering back and forth about what superheroes are. They then detect something wrong coming from the museum with their respective spider-senses.
They go to the museum and find Swarm has taken over a tyrannosaurus skeleton and is now calling itself Dinoswarm. Spider-Man gives Spider-Gwen a quick backstory of who Swarm is, since she has not faced this villain before in her universe, as they enter the museum. Though Spider-Gwen struggles to keep control of her powers, she and Spider-Man are able to contain Dinoswarm by continuously webbing him up.
While talking to an appreciative crowd of museum attendees a little girl asks Spider-Gwen what her name is. Spider-Gwen decides to commit to her new name and says her superhero name is Ghost-Spider.
After everyone finishes thanking them Spider-Man tells Ghost-Spider that the NYPD can take Swarm in. This surprises Ghost-Spider since in her universe the police have not developed the ability to contain supervillains at all.
They then go outside to get Ghost-Spider some more food. Spider-Man asks Ghost-Spider what she is going to do about Dr. Elsa Brock. Ghost-Spider isn’t sure but she trusts Spider-Man can figure out what is wrong with her powers through his tests.
Spider-Man mentions that he doesn’t like the Ghost-Spider is alone in her universe. Ghost-Spider says she is not alone, she is just not a part of the Earth-616 universe. Spider-Man is happy to see Gwen have a positive attitude. Gwen then mentions that she was thinking of joining the Earth-616 version of ESU since she has been looking for a good school to go to.
She then jokes that Spider-Man still owes her some corn dogs. Spider-Man knows where this is going and Gwen says this is the torments of friendship resuming between the two. She then says she has to head home now.
A little later Ghost-Spider is back on Earth-65. Gwen is confident that Peter will figure out what is wrong with her and the symbiote suit. She then thinks about how it is time she thought about how many options are really open to her since the multiverse has plenty of opportunities for her. End of series.
The Good: Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #10 was purely a transition issue. This is all largely set-up for what the new Ghost-Spider series, that will act as Spider-Gwen’s main comic book series. Looking at it that way, Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #10 succeeds in what it was looking to accomplish. But due to this being a transition issue there are parts in the story that do not payoff the development in the previous nine issues of the Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider series.
Building off all the problems that Gwen Stacy has been having with the control she has over the symbiote that her current powers are based off was a good way to start this issue. This has been the major plotline that Seanan McGuire has been working since beginning her run on Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider. It is only appropriate that the problem surrounding Gwen’s symbiote suite.
Gwen realizing that her best shot at figuring out what is going on with her headaches and symbiote suit is to visit Earth-616 shows how much she has matured. This was a reminder that Earth-65 is a relatively young universe and there isn’t an Avengers or Fantastic Four established for Gwen to turn to for help. McGuire makes great use of this with how Dr. Elsa Brock’s disappearance highlights this aspect of Earth-65. Having the only person familiar with the symbiote left Gwen alone with dealing with her current crisis. That launches into why Gwen would go to Earth-616 seeking help from Peter Parker.
From their McGuire does a great job in developing Peter and Gwen’s relationship. From the moment the two start interacting with each other the friendship is clear. They easily get into bantering back and forth with each other like friends. And even when there are things such as Peter’s plagiarism or Gwen’s power problem that could derail their conversations McGuire has them natural flow into more banter.
Having them bond over everything that they’ve been through allows both characters to move past what would otherwise be major problems if either found out later down the line. In particular, Gwen asking Peter about his plagiarism scandal was appropriate given that we learn that she is going to be joining ESU as a student. Even though they don’t actually deal with just having Gwen know about what really happened was enough to get this particular sub-plot out of the way immediately.
At the same time McGuire highlights how since this version of Gwen is still around 18 or 19 years old that Peter can be there as a sort of mentor figure. Throughout Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #10 there is a feeling that as Spider-Man, Peter is taking Gwen under his wing to give her advice that she can’t get in her universe. It is a refreshing change of pace for the Peter/Gwen dynamic.
This is something that was also a long time coming for Peter Parker’s character. We have seen through Spider-Verse, Clone Conspiracy and Spider-Geddon that Peter when called on can be a leader and mentor to others. It may not naturally come to him but it is something that he can do when given the chance. And with multiple Spider-Men and Spider-Women characters running around it is about time Peter starts mentoring those who are carrying the legacy he started.
We are already seeing how valuable a mentor Peter Parker is as Gwen was able to regain some of her mojo through her interaction with him. Gwen telling Peter that she is not alone at the end of Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #10 establishes that fact. She can be confident in the fact she can have help from Spider-Man even when she and Earth-65 Universe are still maturing. That is punctuated with how confident she was in Peter’s ability to figure out what is going on with her symbiote suit.
Through this adventure with Spider-Man we also finally get Gwen fully embracing the Ghost Spider identity. This has been one of my criticisms of this series because McGuire and Marvel have continued to portrayer her working under the Spider-Woman identity. That is all after making a big deal that Gwen wanted to go by the name Ghost Spider during Spider-Geddon. She can just establish herself as Ghost-Spider so she just isn’t known as Spider-Gwen to separate her superhero name from the five other Spider-Women.
The artwork from both Takeshi Miyazawa and Rosi Kampe was solid. Each artist handling the artwork for the Earth-65 and Earth-616 segments was a good way to give a different tone to each universe. The coloring from Ian Herring helped with setting the tone from the two universes. With Earth-65 a darker color palette was used while on Earth-616 a brighter color palette was implemented.
The Bad: With Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #10 being the final issue of this series this did not read like a conclusion of the series. There wasn’t anything wrapped up in terms of Gwen’s personal life that McGuire was exploring over the last few issues. That made the choice of not having Mary Jane, Captain Stacy or Harry Osborn have some sort of role in this final issue quite noticeable. Sure, these characters will likely appear in the Ghost-Spider title that is replacing this series but that does not excuse their absence.
Especially given how Gwen makes the major choice of splitting her time between Earth-65 and Earth-616 it would’ve added depth to that decision if her supporting cast was involved. Because like Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen’s greatest strength is the strong relationship between Gwen and her supporting cast. They are what has grounded her. And after Man-Wolf’s personal attack in the last issue Gwen’s dynamic with her supporting cast is something this issue should’ve touched on.
The opening of Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #10 was also oddly written. This was clearing written to act as prelude issue that could’ve been called Ghost-Spider #0. The intention was to set-up the new status quo as though this is going to be the first Spider-Gwen issue Marvel fans are picking up. But given the fact that Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #10 is the final issue of an ongoing series this is not a comic new fans are going to be picking up. Those new fans are going to be waiting for Ghost-Spider #1 in August to start reading Spider-Gwen’s adventures.
Starting this issue off in a way that comes across as though Gwen is directly speaking to the reader when recapping recent events came across as out of character. Gwen has never been written to have Deadpool-style inner monologue. Her inner monologue has been more styled in a way that is similar to how Peter, Jessica and Miles think in their heads. In choosing to go with this route Gwen’s inner monologue came across as though McGuire speaking directly to the reader.
It was also odd that McGuire would just have Gwen walk around in her Ghost-Spider costume even when she went to the library. Given that she has not been established within the Earth-616 continuity there is no way anyone would just act like she can walk around normally in costume. Especially entering ESU’s library there should’ve been major red flags thrown that an unknown costumed character entered the building. This could’ve easily been avoided by having Gwen quickly change into civilian clothes before she started walking around and then getting back into her costume once she found the information of where Peter is.
Overall: Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #10 is more of a transition issue rather than conclusion to an ongoing series. Seanan McGuire did well in setting up why Spider-Gwen will be splitting her time between Earth-65 and Earth-616 moving forward. Spider-Gwen’s interactions with Peter Parker’s Spider-Man was a major positive for this issue. Unfortunately all of this set-up for the new Ghost-Spider series caused the strength of Spider-Gwen’s series to be forgotten: her supporting cast. The lack of involvement from them made the major decision Gwen makes not have the impact it should as we conclude the short-lived Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider series.
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