Written by Seanan McGuire
Art by Takeshi Miyazawa and Ian Herring
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Gwen Stacy takes commuting to a whole new level as she enrolls into her counterpart’s alma mater, Empire State University, in Seanan McGuire and Takeshi Miyazawa’s new volume of Ghost Spider. Their previous volume was about Gwen picking up the pieces as she dealt with living life as an ex-con and the whole world knowing she’s Spider-Woman, but now Gwen has a chance to create a new life for herself in Earth-616, where she has a clean slate. This title takes the balancing act of a superhero to a whole new level as Gwen tries to juggle her roles in Earth-65 and her bettering herself with an education in Earth-616.
Ghost-Spider #1 embodies a struggle all college kids go through in their lives as they transition into adulthood. They leave one life to create another, and with this series Gwen needs to physically go to another dimension to start this life — allowing the story to feel like one giant metaphor. The issue does a good job at keeping both feet firmly planted in Earth-65 and Earth-616. McGuire creates a sense of great tension as Captain Stacy returns to work and Gwen figures out what classes she wants to take in Empire State University. The cliffhanger of the issue beautifully ties together the overall theme of the balance between two worlds with a character that connects to both Earth-65 and 616’s Gwen Stacy. It’s a great launching point for the series’ first arc.
My only significant criticism is that for a new first issue, this isn’t exactly new reader friendly. There are many story threads that were introduced in McGuire and Miyazawa’s Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider series that are explored in this premiere. It was great to see these continue as a reader of the previous volume, but they could have been explained a bit more for new readers. To be honest, it makes me question why the series needed to be relaunched in the first place — this would have been much stronger as a new arc, instead of a brand-new series.
On artwork, Takeshi Miyazawa continues to do a wonderful job at bringing his own flavor to Gwen’s world as a follow up to Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez’s original run on the character. Ian Herring, Miyazawa’s previous collaborator on Ms. Marvel, is one of the best colorists in the game, and brings the perfect tone for this series. I enjoy seeing these two work together again, and I’m glad they both returned for this new volume. They do a great job at the young adult/teen titles. Miyazawa aces the comedy and emotion from McGuire’s script as Herring’s vibrant color work brings a lot of life to the story.
Even under a new title, the Spider-Gwen creative team continues to create a unique spider tale that puts character work at the forefront. It takes a lot of inspiration from Marvel’s Spider-mythos, but Miyazawa and McGuire put their own spin on the title — which is the very element that has made Spider-Gwen such a successful franchise to begin with. Ghost Spider #1 doesn’t prove it needed a relaunch to tell this story, but is a great next chapter for readers who followed the creative team’s run on Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider.