Now that Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider is out of having to tie-in to the recent Spider-Geddon event Seanan McGuire can establish what this series identity is. That started in the last issue as Gwen Stacy started her life back on her Earth, where her identity as Spider-Woman is well known. With the barrier between her life as Gwen Stacy and Spider-Woman broken down it is time to see what things are like for Spider-Gwen. Let’s find that out now with Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #6.
Writer: Seanan McGuire
Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
Colorist: Ian Herring
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Some time ago J. Jonah Jameson host a rally where he talks about how they must stop Spider-Woman.
At their house Gwen catches her dad watching the rally on TV. George Stacy says that Jameson’s Mayoral Task Force won’t be who brings Spider-Woman in, it will be the NYPD.
In the present Jameson holds a rally that welcomes Spider-Woman as New York City’s hero.
Gwen watches the rally in her room. She uses her symbiote to copy her clothes so she can quickly change.
Gwen then joins her dad for breakfast and asks him if he is ready to go back to work. George mentions that Spider-Woman is apparently a thief so he is needed. Gwen defends herself that she found a woman’s purse last night and was paid when returning it.
She then mentions that since she can’t get a job helping people and getting paid for it will help her pay the bills. George states he is not happy with that and still not okay with her still being Spider-Woman. Gwen states that everyone knows she is Spider-Woman and can’t undo that and she isn’t doing any harm with helping people. George tells her to be careful then.
While swinging around the city Spider-Woman comes across the Bodega Bandit. She immediately stops him from robbing a convenience store.
After stopping him Spider-Woman starts having a headache and swings away.
She goes to Betty Brant’s place and asks for some aspirin and donuts.
Gwen and Betty then talk about the Spider-Woman odd job business Gwen wants to start. Betty goes over everything that goes into running a business. Gwen states she just wants a website so people know where to find her for help. Betty goes live with the website much to Gwen’s joy.
Later that night, while setting up to rehearse, MJ is not happy to hear that Gwen has set up a Spider-Woman business since it’ll get in the way of the band’s practice. Gwen states she needs to pay her share of the rent. MJ tells Gwen to move back in with Betty. Betty says no to that since she doesn’t want stay awake at night thinking some villain will attack her. Gwen gets frustrated and says that they should just rehearse.
After rehearsal Gwen makes sure her bandmates make it to their cars safely.
Gwen then changes into Spider-Woman and checks her website. All she finds is a lewd message she quickly deletes and forgets. She decides to put flyers around the city to drum up some business.
She suddenly hears a scream and goes to find out what is going on. When she gets to a parking lot the scream came from all she finds is a tape recorder of someone yelling for help.
A gang suddenly hit her from behind and state they are going to squash her. Spider-Woman quickly recovers and she quickly takes them down. She talks to the gang’s leader to demand answers for why they attacked her. The guy states a bad moon is rising. Suddenly a light consumes the area.
The next thing Spider-Woman knows she is on a nearby rooftop and does not know how she got there. She looks down at the parking lot and notices the gang got away. Spider-Woman’s headache from earlier returns. Realizing it is not safe to swing she decides to call Harry for a ride home.
Elsewhere Jackal analyzes the data the gang got on Spider-Woman. He shows Man-Wolf footage of the fight that shows how Spider-Woman fights with blunt force. He then shows Man-Wolf the flyer Spider-Woman is putting up. Jackal states that while they can’t attack her at home they can elsewhere with how thin she is stretching herself. Man-Wolf smiles and tells Jackal to throw some work her way and wait a few days for Spider-Woman to fail.
Outside Gwen’s home, Harry drops Gwen off and asks if she is okay. Gwen says she is fine and she just has a headache. Harry then asks her out on a dinner date. Gwen accepts and they wish each other good night.
Gwen thinks how she can get used to being normal. End of issue.
The Good: Now that Spider-Gwen is able back in her Earth it is time for her to find her place in the world. Afterall, unlike other Spider-Man Family members, on her Earth everyone knows Gwen Stacy is Spider-Woman. With that in mind Seanan McGuire begins to fully explore what that means with Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #6. The majority of that exploration is a success, with several plotlines set-up throughout this issue.
With how much Spider-Gwen has gone through, from having her identity revealed to the world and involved in all the Spider-Verse madness, it is time to get back to who Gwen Stacy is. Much like the reader, Gwen isn’t sure what she should do next. Given her current status quo things have been difficult to answer the question of what she should be doing next. As Gwen stated, she only has a high school degree, can’t get a regular 9-5 job or isn’t able to attend college at the moment.
Considering all of that McGuire had Gwen use her public identity as Spider-Woman to her advantage. At least that is what Gwen thought she was doing. Having her set-up a business to get paid to be Spider-Woman may be a good initial idea but as Gwen is learning it won’t be easy to run a Heroes For Hire-type business. If she is going to be successful as a hero for hire she will actually have to put in a lot of time into promoting herself as Spider-Woman or else she will just get lewd or odd messages.
Which comes to the most interesting aspect of all this as McGuire pushes the idea that Gwen is completely mismanaging her time. With this new business she is only stretching herself more thin since she is still part of the Mary Janes band, trying to have a normal life, dating Harry and still operating as a normal superhero. But in introducing this new business angle for Spider-Woman she is adding even unforeseen pressure on herself on what she should be.
Throughout Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #1 we see hints of this, especially with how MJ calls Gwen out on her management of time. With each passing issue of Spider-Gwen we have seen MJ voice her concerns about Gwen’s dedication to the band. Through this clash with MJ we are also seeing hints Gwen’s hubris as she does have a belief she is already a good enough drummer. While she is extremely skilled MJ is right that Gwen needs to keep up with their practice so they can’t take their band to the next level where they go beyond just playing small clubs.
And while it was not stated, it will be interesting to see what happens if this hero for hire business does for the perception of Spider-Woman. As we saw in the opening, when Gwen started out as Spider-Woman she was not well liked and Mayor J. Jonah Jameson set up a squad specifically to take her down. Now that she is accepted as New York City’s official hero she has to be careful not to turn that goodwill against herself. That is something that could easily happen given who Mayor Jameson has been, as we see that he is willing to change sides given public opinion.
Positioning Gwen as Spider-Woman in this way also creates intrigue for what McGuire plans to do with her father, George Stacy. From what we learn in Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #6, its shown that George is going back to the NYPD. And during the breakfast scene he made it clear that he won’t be looking to look past Spider-Woman’s actions just because she is Gwen. Seeing if he actually does keeps to the high standard he set for Gwen as Spider-Woman could create some conflict between them down the line.
Taking all that into account it was good to see Man-Wolf be a villain that is trying to take advantage of Spider-Woman’s status quo. McGuire was smart not to make Man-Wolf out to be just another villain of the week type antagonist. The villain is much smarter than we were led to believe in his first appearance as Man-Wolf is looking to fill the void left by Matt Murdock in the underground of New York City.
Also, having Man-Wolf’s plot be based around making sure Gwen is stretched far too thin makes him out to be a much more conniving. This goes on to spotlight how Gwen will be able to appropriately manage her time everyday. With everything she has going on it all looks to be setting Gwen up to grow up even more as she will need to realize that she has to take things more seriously to be successful as Spider-Woman and Gwen Stacy.
Another sub-plot I’ll be interested to see play out is what is going on with Gwen’s powers. It looks as though Gwen’s powers are not working appropriately as her spider-sense did not initially warn her about the gang attacking her from behind. As the fight with the gang went on her spider-sense seem to come back. With how much McGuire is subtly emphasizing that the symbiote has a life of its own it’ll be interesting if there is a bigger plan in place for this aspect of Gwen’s life as Spider-Woman.
Takeshi Miyazawa is a great fit for Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider. He gets across how Gwen is still figuring out what she should do next. She is juggling so much that her carefree nature is the thing that is helping her through that. Miyazawa puts over that aspect of Gwen’s character well with how she reacts to the different conversations she has throughout this issue. At the same time, there is a good flow to the way Miyazawa draws Spider-Woman during the action sequences.
The Bad: The one minor nitpick I have for Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #6 is the fact that we aren’t seeing Gwen change her identity. After making such a big deal about Gwen changing her superhero name to Ghost Spider that just seems to be forgotten now. It is nothing that affects Spider-Gwen in the long term. It just makes the whole Ghost Spider name looks to be redundant soon after being introduced since Gwen is sticking to being Spider-Woman.
Overall: Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #6 is a great issue that sets up various aspects of Gwen Stacy’s life. Seanan McGuire emphasized what Gwen Stacy’s status quo is now that everyone knows she is Spider-Woman. In doing so there are several intriguing sub-plots that are developed that can all grow into their own spotlight stories down the line. If you are a Spider-Man fan I highly recommend picking up Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #6. It is in contention for being the best Spider-Man titles on the market.
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