*BEFORE WE BEGIN, WARNING THERE MAY BE POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*
**SERIOUSLY, THIS IS A COMIC REVIEW THERE’S BOUND TO BE SPOILERS COMING**
***LAST CHANCE TO TURN BACK IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE SOME SERIOUS SPOILERS***
I can’t claim to have been a massive fan of Spider-woman, my only real exposure to the character came from Brian Michael Bendis’ tenure as writer of the Avengers, where for the most part she was in fact a shape shifting alien impostor. That being said I did come across the character in the recent Spider-verse crossover event, and I was pleasently surprised at the way the character seems to have been developed since. So when I got an absolute fortune in Amazon vouchers for Christmas, I decided I would catch up with some of the latest exploits of Spider-man, and the various other spider related super heroes such as Silk, Spider-Gwen, and yes you guessed it Spiderwoman.
So when I picked up Spiderwoman Shifting Gears: Volume 1, Baby talk, and about 30 other different comics, one of the first things that struck me about this volume was that its very, very rare for there to be a pregnant superhero. Superheroics are not something that goes together with the idea of a pregnant woman. Spandex is not something that goes well with pregnancies, nor does the idea of acrobatic fight sequences with alien super fiends.
However, that being said this is volume is actually pretty close to my recollections of being around a pregnant woman, admittedly I’ve tried repressing those nine months of my life, but like a war vet with PTSD those memories just keep coming back to haunt me. Things such as the diabetes inducing levels of niceness that people subject pregnant women to, to the way being pregnant just seems to invite strangers to make all sorts of, way too personal and way too condescending, questions about the state of your life and how completely unprepared you are for this massively life changing situation you know find yourself in.
But if you discount what the story does get right, it does leave a lot that even superpowers wouldn’t explain away. Most glaring is the super powered fire fight with alien invaders just moments after going through a non anaesthetised emergency cesarean section. The mother of my child could barely lift a cup of tea for a week after receiving the above procedure, even after receiving a boatload of morphine, somehow I don’t think irradiated spider blood would do much to change the situation.
The writing, by Dennis Hopeless, is rather smooth and flows nicely, it doesn’t rely too much on established continuity, which is good for the casual reader like myself, it doesn’t really need you to have read every issue that Jessica Drew, our ersatz Spiderwoman, has ever appeared in, but it does have a few little treats in store for those that are devotee’s of Miss Drew and the wider Marvel universe.
The Art Provided by Javier Rodriguez is fantastic, its a lot less cartoon like than has become the norm in many Marvel books at the moment (Spider-Gwen I’m looking at you), colour wise the book seems to focus on some nice pastels for backgrounds which contrasts nicely with the sharp colouring used for the foreground and characters, it gives the book a whole vibrant look, that makes the action scenes pop and even lends something extra to the quiet character driven moments.
Overall I would recommend the book and would give it a 4.5 out of 5 starts. The only reason it does lose half a point is that the last issue of the collection, issue five (the volume collects issues #1-5), feels a little rushed, it seems that it is trying to set up a new status quo for the character before something new begins. The next volume may make the payoff of this more apparent, but until I read that, I won’t know, and that, is where I feel this volume lets itself down.