Saturday, 17 February 2018

Spider-Woman, Volume 2: New Duds Review (Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez)

Jessica Drew may be taking a break from the Avengers to pursue a career as a Private Investigator but her superhero past isn’t taking a break from her! Someone’s blackmailing Z-list supervillains into committing crimes and the unlikely duo of Spider-Woman and Daily Bugle star reporter Ben Urich are on the case.

Spider-Woman, Volume 2: New Duds isn’t a bad comic, it just lacks convincing antagonists, solid stories and a point. I know that sounds like a back-handed compliment but, considering the circumstances, Dennis Hopeless did well to write a fairly decent book – I definitely wasn’t ever bored reading it. 

Still, it’s hard not to be underwhelmed once the flimsy bad guys and their feeble motivations are revealed behind both storylines. That said, I’m sure it didn’t help that this series sprang out of an event and, poetically, ends with another event after just two volumes, so Hopeless didn’t exactly have acres of room to manoeuvre with the kind of stories he could’ve told. And he does write Jess really well, showing the character’s potential and appeal, and for the most part it’s a breezy, fun read, albeit largely unmemorable. 

I really loved Javier Rodriguez’s art. As well as appreciating his skill and lush visuals, as a red-blooded male I very much enjoyed how Rodriguez drew Jess! Superheroes always look generically ripped but maybe it’s the more realistic, girl-next-door way that Rodriguez draws Jess or her new outfit but, damn, Spider-Woman has never looked sexier than she does in this book! The all-star art team is rounded out by Alvaro Lopez’s perfectly complementary inks and, my favourite colourist, Muntsa Vicente, who instantly improves any book she’s put on. 

Also, ignore the numbering of this volume – this works fine as an accessible standalone Spider-Woman book, so you needn’t read the first volume if, like me, you’re not a fan of Greg Land’s (f)art. Overall, it’s a bit too light for my taste but New Duds is an entertaining-enough read.

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