It’s finally here, the moment where Spider-Woman and “Secret Wars” collide. With Marvel putting all of its energy behind this big event, it was only a matter of time before this popular series was forced to end for a while.
After shakily launching during “Spider-Verse,” the erratic final issue comes due to another game changing crossover. Rather than giving Spider-Woman context in the Marvel universe, these events are bad bookends to a series that has proved it shines when not hindered by editorial mandates. Spider-Woman #10 strives to tie up Jessica’s story in a satisfying way, but fails to successfully end this series and doesn’t spark curiosity about the larger event of “Secret Wars.”
Hopeless wastes no time plunging right into “Secret Wars” action, with Jessica bantering back and forth with Black Widow and having seemingly left Ben Urich and Porcupine behind. After the ominous ending of issue #9, this opening is out of place. By devoting pages at the beginning to showcasing Jess’ involvement in “Secret Wars,” time that could be spent fleshing out the mystery introduced in the previous issue is lost. The non-linear storytelling detracts from the story as a whole.
Of course, we eventually get some answers about Dodge City, and one of the greatest moments of this book has nothing to do with Spider-Woman. Porcupine is given the opportunity to stand out and be his charming self throughout this issue. His humor and personality carry the whole storyline, which is great since it is otherwise second-rate. Nevertheless, this is supposedly a book about Jessica Drew, so it is disappointing that she is mostly forgettable despite being in more panels than anyone else.
Given the way the book begins, the abrupt ending should be no surprise. Still, the rhythm of the book is clearly off. The questions we were left with are only hastily answered at the tail end of #10, and I’m left wondering if this final issue has any purpose besides garnering interest in “Secret Wars.” One second, we’re getting some answers; the next, Jessica is being confronted by Black Widow. This isn’t so much a portrayal of her Last Days as it is an oddball ending to a series that’s consistently been one of Marvel’s strongest titles for months.
If there has been one consistent after Jessica’s role in “Spider-Verse,” it has been the animated, distinctive art, but for the first time since issue #5, Hopeless’ script is not supported by Javier Rodriguez’s artwork. Natacha Bustos takes over for #10 and utilizes her own energetic art to bring Jess and the gang to life. Fluid and colorful, it isn’t bad. In another comic book, I would gush about the fun style. However, it doesn’t quite fit. The backgrounds are not as detailed as Rodriguez’s, and in the process, Spider-Woman loses one of the most interesting aspects of the book.
Although I admitted with my last review that I’m not keeping up with a majority of the “Secret Wars” titles, the timing for the issue is the most baffling part. What’s the point of reading about Spider-Woman’s Last Days when the larger event is already halfway over? Most readers already know what’s going on with Jess now and probably don’t need to read a jumbled portrayal of how she ends up wearing her old costume alongside the Avengers again. It’s an unnecessary filler issue that neither “Secret Wars” fanatics nor Spider-Woman admirers need read.
This isn’t the worst Spider-Woman issue I’ve ever read, but it isn’t one that I’ll be passing along to friends. Between the disjointed story and the feeling that “Secret Wars” is bogging down a series with enormous potential, Spider-Woman #10 is a disappointing end to Jessica’s story. There is nothing about this weak ending that triggers a desire to come back for more. Even knowing it’s coming back in a few months, I can’t help but compare this final issue to the abrupt final issue of her original series; there is a rushed resolution and the feeling that Jessica deserves better treatment.
Spider-Woman #10 features a misguided story that only serves to get readers to pick up “Secret Wars” titles. Between the peculiar pacing and the unremarkable plot, this is one of Hopeless’ weakest issues since this series launched.