Spider-Woman: Origin Book One
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed
Pencils, inks and colors: Jonathan Luna
Layouts: Joshua Luna
Letterer: Cory Petit
Originally published: February 2006
I was really looking forward to this series for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve been reading Sword and Girls and have really been enjoying the Luna brothers’ work. Second, although I enjoyed the first issue of Secret Invasion, I haven’t really liked what little else I’ve read by Bendis and I was eager to give him another chance. So far, I am disappointed on both fronts.
First, the art: it is unmistakably the Luna brothers’ style, but I think that was the problem. This looks exactly like Sword and Girls, and I don’t think it works. Those books are much different types of stories than Marvel super-hero kind of stuff, and for some reason using the same art here just doesn’t jive with me. I still like the look, but I’m not sure it’s appropriate for this context.
Second, and more important to me, is the writing. Bendis and Reed have completely thrown out the existing continuity as I’ve read it. While generally similar to what I read in the High Evolutionary stories, the plot in this first issue differs on pretty much every point. This is the worst kind of retcon because, as far as I can tell, it’s completely pointless. Bendis and Reed seem to be changing stuff just for the sake of changing it.
High Evolutionary stories: the Drew family moves to Wundagore when Jessica is a child
S-W: O: the Drews already live at Wundagore before Jessica is born
High Evolutionary stories: Jessica gets cancer/radiation poisoning from the radioactive mountain as a child, is treated with spider serum, shot by genetic laser-thing and is put in stasis
S-W: O: Jessica is shot by genetic laser thing in utero, which somehow transfers spider powers. No cancer/radiation poisoning, no spider genes (?).
High Evolutionary stories: Jessica’s nanny, Bova, is a New Man advanced cow
S-W: O: Jessica’s nanny Bova is a human
High Evolutionary stories: Wyndham is the High Evolutionary
S-W: O: Wyndham is a military general that may be affiliated with Hydra
I’m hoping that some of this gets cleared up and it starts to resemble the established chronology more, but so far I’m very annoyed at the seeming lack of respect for established story. Perhaps Bendis and Reed felt constricted by working within existing chronology, but then perhaps they shouldn’t be writing for a company with Marvel with a pre-existing universe. It’s just lazy, in my opinion, to disregard everything that’s come before.
Also, I thought the dialogue was really bad and artificial. I also hated that they made Jessica’s father into an abusive asshole.
BTW, this is set when Jessica Drew is a little girl and features a young Miles Warren, so it’s clearly not in the right spot on my reading list.