Comic Review – Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #1

Spider-Gwen Ghost-Spider #1 Cover

Across the multiverse, a story is played out continually. An intelligent teenager is bitten by a mutated spider. The bite gives them the proportionate strength and speed of a spider as well as an adhesive touch and a precognitive awareness of danger. They go on to use their new powers to try and help others.

In this time and this place, the teenager is a young woman named Gwen Stacy.

Gwen has done a lot and seen a lot more in her short life. As Spider-Woman, she contended with super-spies, mad-scientists and ninjas. She’s fought the government and even traveled to other dimensions. She’s also a recently released criminal, who did time as penance for when she failed to use her powers responsibly and felt she needed to pay the price for it.

Now, Gwen is trying to figure out what to do with her life. With the whole world aware of her once-secret identity (and, annoyingly, calling her Spider-Gwen instead of Spider-Woman), she’s not sure if she can go back to being the hero she once was. Unfortunately fate (and a pushy little pig-man from another reality) aren’t giving Gwen any choice in the matter. The world-spanning evils she fought once before have returned and Gwen will be ready to face them. She just wish she had a better code name to take into battle.

Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #1 is that rarest of all gems – a comic-book event tie-in that doesn’t require any previous knowledge of the character or the events of at least three other comics. That is doubly impressive given that this is also the start of a new Spider-Gwen series and the first not to be handled by Spider-Gwen’s original creative team.

You would never know it, however, as Seanan McGuire and Rosi Kampe pick up right where the last Spider-Gwen volume left-off. So if all you know about the character comes from her appearance in the trailers for Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, rest easy. This one volume will give you everything you need to know about Gwen Stacy and Spider-Geddon in one handy book. They even explain Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham, who somehow manages to not be the strangest thing in the book by a long-shot.

Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #1 does everything a first issue should. It introduces us to Gwen, revealing her as a funny, brilliant and self-depreciating hero. It gives us the broad particulars of her life since the last series but doesn’t bog us down with continuity. And like all great the great Spider-Man comics of yore, it gives us a bit of action and a little drama amidst the punchlines while setting up one heck of a cliff-hanger. The artwork matches the story beat for beat, flowing smoothly from panel to panel. The colors are suitably eye-catching and there’s one heck of an awesome new villain who should prove quite the interesting foil for Gwen in the coming issues.

Bottom-Line: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #1 is a fun, easily accessible superhero book that is as friendly to kids as it is to new readers. It’s well-written, well-drawn and you’ll want to beat the rush to get it now. Face front, True Believers! This is the real deal.

10/10

Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #1 releases on October 24, 2018!


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

The Hellish History of Hellboy

Image result for hellboy movie poster david harbourIn 1991, comic book writer and artist Mike Mignola created a concept drawing of a demonic creature, that he called Hellboy, for a pamphlet for the Great Salt Lake Comic-Con. Although it bore little resemblance to the current incarnation that many fans now know and love, nevertheless it was the beginning of one of the most unique and distinctive looking comic book superheroes in the last 30 years.

Then his first full-color appearance was on the cover of “Dime Press” #4, an Italian Fanzine, in March 1993. Finally in August of 1993, Mignola published a short black-and-white comic book story for Dark Horse Comics in “San Diego Comic-Con Comics” #2, featuring the character as a paranormal detective, along with his characteristic red skin, in “John Byrne’s Next Men” #21.

Hellboy’s first story arc was the mini-series “Seed of Destruction” in March 1994, which featured his origin story and the first appearance of the B.P.R.D. (the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense), along with characters Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman, which was conceived of and illustrated by Mike Mignola and scripted by John Byrne. Supposedly Hellboy was primarily based on Mignola’s father, a gruff, working-class man, who always came home with many injuries, but just shrugged them off with his dry humor.

In 1944, the original founders of the bureau began with three members of the British Paranormal Society, a group of highly educated paranormal investigators including Professor Trevor Bruttenholm and a special unit of the United States army, infiltrated a small island off the Scottish coast known as Tarmagant Island, interrupting the Nazis “Project Ragnarok.” As part of that experiment, the evil sorcerer Grigori Rasputin opened a portal and inadvertently summoned a baby demon, later to be found by Prof. Broom, who named him “Hellboy” and officially adopted him in 1946.

Hellboy’s true name is Anung Un Rama, which means “upon his brow is set a crown of flame,” he has cloven hooves and his right hand, known as the “Right Hand of Doom,” is made of stone that was given to him by his father, the demon Azzael. Originally supposed to bring about the end of the world and the Ogdru Jahad.

Featuring Mignola’s simplistic, yet hauntingly surreal-style, Hellboy became a long-running series which lasted until 2011, when Hellboy supposedly died at the end of “Hellboy: The Fury.” With that, the story of Hellboy seemed to have come to an end until in 2016, Mignola released the 10-issue mini-series “Hellboy in Hell,” in which Hellboy wandered through the afterlife, having adventures and fighting demons, but also coming to terms with the end and to let go of his old life.

Hellboy would go on to appear in many mini-series, one-shots and crossovers, as well as returning to the B.P.R.D. comic books in the 1950’s retro-series. Since his appearance the character has appeared in two live-action movies starring Ron Perlman, two animated movies and three video games, as well as a new upcoming reboot in 2019 starring David Harbour from the “Stranger Things” Netflix series.