Best Shots Review: SPIDER-GWEN #25

Spider-Gwen #25
Credit: Robbi Rodriguez/Rico Renzi (Marvel Comics)
Credit: Khary Randolph (Marvel Comics)

Spider-Gwen #25
Written by Jason Latour
Art by Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10

Credit: Robbi Rodriguez/Rico Renzi (Marvel Comics)

Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez’s run on Spider-Gwen has all been leading to Gwenom, where a spider’s sense of responsibility becomes clouded with vengeance. Spider-Gwen #25 follows the "Marvel Legacy" mantra with its new reader-friendly tone and escalating emotional roller coaster for fans following the character since Edge of Spider-Verse.

The issue opens up with a recap on how Gwen stumbled onto becoming Venom, which was nice for the readers jumping on board with Marvel Legacy. But it also reminded old fans of the emotional journey Gwen has been going through as Spider-Woman, even if some of it comes off as exposition. Both Gwenom and Spider-Woman are fueled by guilt, and her father’s coma is the last straw. Gwen’s raw anger surges through these pages with Latour’s powerful dialogue and Rico Renzi’s darker color palette. The wildness of these pages show Gwen reaching her breaking point, which builds for some nice tension. These scenes are electrifying to read because Latour truly makes you question if Gwen will go against the spider code and kill.

Credit: Robbi Rodriguez/Rico Renzi (Marvel Comics)

Spider-Gwen #25 not only embraces Gwen’s journey, but the world of Earth-65 by giving ample page time to multiple supporting cast members, including Mary Jane, the Parkers, Matt Murdock, and the Punisher. Mary Jane’s appearance was one that stands out the most, as she try to help her missing bandmate from the sidelines. In a world of secret identity drama, it’s a nice twist to see Mary Jane know Gwen’s alter ego and still try to protect it from others: “Lots of people hated Spider-Woman even when she was all clean and bright and trying to do right,” she says. “If they start thinking Gwen’s this Venom thing… I don’t even want to think about what happens then.”

Meanwhile, the subverted expectations continue with other side characters, as well, such as May and Ben Parker following their own mantra by taking responsibility to find Gwen is a refreshing detour, one that’s complicated by their own acknowledgement of Gwen’s ties to Spider-Woman. The Punisher, meanwhile, helps out in a more direct way: Frank Castle has been a thorn in Gwen’s side since the beginning of the series, but is now realizing Matt Murdock’s manipulative game. So in that regard, it’s both ironic and somehow heartwarming to see this natural soldier wedge himself between Gwenom and Rhino, preventing Gwen from becoming a killer like himself.

Credit: Robbi Rodriguez/Rico Renzi (Marvel Comics)

Spider-Gwen #25 is heavy and dark, and that new shift is represented deep within the visuals, such as where Gwen walks into a bar looking for Rhino. Renzi shifts the color palette to black and pink capturing the series’ vibrancy with a darker color scheme. Rodriguez has Gwen wearing her classic hoodie style, but creates a moodier scene by having Gwen hunched down using shadows to hide her face as she wears clothing that matches the aesthetic of her Venom symbiote.

Spider-Gwen #25 is a solid start to its "Marvel Legacy" storyline as it embraces all of what’s come before with a bold, new direction. Latour and Rodriguez bring an emotionally-driven narrative by muddying Gwen’s sense of responsibility with the engulfing guilt of the choices she’s made as Spider-Woman.

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