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Spider-Woman #7

Posted: Friday, March 19, 2010
By: Shawn Hill

Brian Michael Bendis
Alex Maleev
Marvel Comics
Plot: Agent Brand phones in to tell Jessica to stop screwing up and Jess wisely takes a little down time before going out and looking for trouble in Madripoor again. Almost immediately. Because that's what she's doing now.

Comments: I find myself surprised and even disappointed that this is the unexpected last issue of this title. It seems, unlike in the case of Ms. Marvel, the second volume of which doubled the run of the first, Spider-Woman is going to get nowhere near volume one's 50 issues. It's doubly consternating, as Bendis has long been known to favor this character above all others and to have created downtrodden screw-up detective Jessica Jones/Jewel in her image.

Perhaps the imitation has replaced the inspiration in his mind at this point (as Jewel will soon be back in action with hopefully functional powers at last). At least it seems Alias probably sapped all the ideas he had for either Jessica, as the Pulse generally underwhelmed and this title has been stuck on repeat since it began. Bendis indicates Maleev was overloaded on the character having to also make the motion comic, and doesn't want to go on without his partner. But did he really think he was going to top their Daredevil run, as he says in his farewell on the last page? Why was that even a point? Why not just make a really good Jessica Drew comic, as he mostly did with the Luna brothers in her origin mini-series?

Despite my doubts about this stalled project and my current renewed distaste for Bendis' vile handling of many female super-characters (I couldn't be more overjoyed that Dark Avengers is soon ending given the gruesome events of the current issue), I enjoyed this issue. While Maleev's photo-realism will always seem overwrought to me, he seemed to understand the spooky sexiness that is part of Spider-Woman's repulsive attraction. Madripoor is a world into which she fits, and her inner monologue has been a really nice chance to hear the thoughts of a main character as she works out her problems.

Of course, she's a Bendis female, so she must simultaneously be compromised, be working both sides from the middle, be unsure of exactly what she's doing, be in over her head, and be self-destructive to boot.

When the New Avengers show up to bail her out, I found their arrival to be more than facile deus ex machina. She is an Avenger now and they know she's been working out her demons of having been the face of the Skrull Invasion. This is a team that protects its own. Often whether they want it or not. Carol gives her the support of an ally and Logan gives her the insight of one who has been haunted. His advice to always have a home to return to has resonance for both characters.

As does a funny line from Agent Brand (funnier than her trying too hard sign-off, anyway) reminding Jessica not to be a spazz: "If I wanted someone bouncing off the walls I'd have hired Spider-MAN." Bendis ends the issue with Jess at last coming in from the cold and that works for the series as well.



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