It’s no surprise; Spider-Woman is now nearly unrecognizable from the first issue that came out months ago, and it’s for the better. Though Jessica Drew’s inherent characteristics have remained the same, the jokes are timed more perfectly, her successes and failures are more convincing, and she now has an ensemble that underscores why we should appreciate this comic.
Dennis Hopeless deserves some real praise for what he’s done with Spider-Woman #6. I’ll admit that I didn’t have much faith after reading his first issues, but just two issues into this rejuvenated comic, I’m convinced he’s the right choice for the book. He manages to create both silliness and realism without losing focus on the purpose of the arc. Jessica hanging around villains stealing alpacas somehow seems totally hilarious and totally normal while also giving us clues to how many villains are being blackmailed. Moreover, his pacing, though a bit slower than #5, keeps the new arc mysterious and exciting.
The issue really hits its stride when Ben Urich appears. Ben functions well as a supporting character by demonstrating his agency without stealing the limelight. Despite her experience as a detective, Jessica doesn’t have all of the answers, which is why her new partner fits in so nicely. He approaches problems differently, encourages her to think before jumping into a situation, and can dish out enough sarcasm to ensure that Spider-Woman isn’t the only funny one in the group. While this is her book and there’s the potential for Ben to take away from Jessica’s power, she sparks to life when she plays off of others.
Not only is Urich a great foil to Jessica’s brashness, the D-list villains that appear are also engaging throughout issue #6. These are not villains who should impress anyone. They are not masterminds, they aren’t committing any atrocious crimes, and they wear costumes that resemble things like porcupines or kangaroos. However, for people that should be forgettable, they round out the supporting cast exceptionally well. The villains bumble around, but also have a lot of heart. They care about others, which in turn makes Jessica care about this case. Of course, they don’t make it easy on her. Between their understandable hesitance in trusting a hero and their desire to get their families back, the villains make all the wrong decisions. Luckily for us, these poor choices lead to some quick quips from our heroine and an ending that promises future answers to this mystery.
In addition to the impressive story, Javier Rodriguez’s art continues to add dynamism to this comic. Jessica is an energetic woman who acts first and thinks later, and Rodriguez grasps this with the spirited movement he features in most panels. There’s also a clear attention to detail, from ketchup containers to labels on boxes, that makes his backgrounds both realistic and interesting. His vibrant coloring complements it all by seeming both lighthearted and mature. Unlike the sultry art and coloring normally associated with Jessica, Rodriguez provides us with a fresh yet accurate depiction of her. While Greg Land’s art and D’Armata’s coloring worked well for the old Spider-Woman, the character now needs someone like Rodriguez on board to enhance the vivacity of this revitalized woman.
Though nothing new is uncovered about these disappearances being investigated, there are significant elements set up that should help unravel the mystery soon enough. For a book that initially felt weighed down and serious due to “Spider-Verse,” it’s quickly transformed into a humorous comic that still has some depth to it. The execution is leaps and bounds superior now, and anyone looking to become acquainted with this woman should jump on now for what’s bound to be an exhilarating ride.
Spider-Woman #6 continues to establish the mystery discovered in issue #5 while also highlighting the absurdity of Jessica Drew trying to help a bunch of villains. With Javier Rodriguez providing fresh, fun art and Dennis Hopeless writing with hilarity and intrigue, the plot points established here hint at future answers to this dilemma.