We’re back to a #1 launch for Spider-Woman, only this time the audience isn’t dumped square in the middle of a superfluous Spider-Verse event, and we don’t have to suffer through Greg Land’s art.
A debut issue that we deserved the first time around, Hopeless and Co. jump right in and address the elephant in the room. Jess is very, very pregnant. Opening with a stellar fight sequence from Rodriguez and Lopez, we see Jess monitoring Roger Gocking (Porcupine), a former small-bit villain turned hero, as he takes out a group of powered ne’er do wells. As her friend and colleague Ben Ulrich tries to get Jess to keep a lid on her snark and not distract Roger, we get a nice little voice over/flashback of the past few months. Jess adapting to impending motherhood, Jess sharing my exact thoughts about children, and then having to put away her bike because motorcycles and pregnant women don’t necessarily go together.
It all wraps up when Roger finishes off the last of the bad guys, and Jess reveals her trip down memory lane was all a test to see if Roger could still keep his head and get the job done while being distracted. He passed. We get a farewell from Ben and Roger as they pick up Jess’ slack. You see, today is Jess’ last day on the job before she takes maternity leave. And for Jessica Drew, maternity leave promises to be as exciting as watching paint dry.
Later, at her baby shower, we see Jess weaving through her super group of friends. We learn her BFF, Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, is SUPER jonesing to be that baby’s godmother, and has been sending her high-tech protective clothing to wear while Carol isn’t around to mother hen her. Speaking of Carol, we also see her wheedle Tony Stark into thinking it’s a great idea to waltz up to Jess and ask the question that everyone is wondering.
Just who is Jess’ baby daddy/mommy?
Of course, it’s nobody’s damned business, and Tony’s way of asking it adds further insult. Jess zaps him.
But back to Carol, and leading up to the cliffhanger of this first issue. Carol is reeeeeeeeeally wanting that godmother title, and set up an open appointment with one of the best midwives in the galaxy for her bestie. Jess, bored of maternity leave, finally decides to drop in. After climbing through a rainbow portal and being being told to wait (because a medical office experience is the same no matter what part of the universe you hail from), we reach the climax of the episode. SKRULL.
Hopeless doesn’t beat around the bush with this relaunch, and there are several themes layered in before the final reveal. In the last issue of Jess’ run, we see her conversation with Natasha Romanov, with the Black Widow picking her up and “calling her out of retirement”. Essentially saying that the world as a whole is more important than playing hero on the streets. What I love about the beginning of this issue is Hopeless’ refutation of that line of thought. Saving the world is important, yes. But so are the people who make up said world. Heroism begets heroism, especially on a local scale.
Jess not only kept her neighborhood safe, but she inspired a ripple effect. Rehabilitating a former villain into a legit hero. You can’t reach in and drastically alter lives like that when you’re stuck operating on the big picture. Now Roger and Ben are a capable team and can protect the city without Jess having to be there. That’s the thing about small scale. It grows. It inspires. It transforms. Instead of Jess being a lone vigilante hero, she partnered with Ben, and then they became a trio with a mission to do good for the people around them.
Aside from this, Jess has pretty much the same attitude I and many people have about children. “Do I HAVE to?” And the narrative never shames her for this. She hasn’t magically grown to love the lump of cells growing inside of her. It’s uncomfortable, she has to give up things she loves, and goshdammit, can it PLEASE stop Irish line dancing on her bladder?
Some people just don’t want children. Some people, when confronted with the prospect, still don’t enjoy pregnancy. And that’s okay. You’re not doing it wrong if you’re not the picture of a glowing parent to be. Even better, Rodriguez isn’t afraid to draw a pregnant body being not always soft and pretty. It’s awkward and big, and Jess deals with it pretty well, but there’s still the equivalent of a bowling ball hanging out in your uterus and it doesn’t exactly lend itself to being as graceful as a gazelle.
Finally, the Skrull. For those familiar with Jess’ history, there’s no need to address why this is likely the last thing she ever wants to see. For those of you who are just tuning in? Well, to keep it short it involved a Skrull kidnapping her, impersonating her with NONE of her friends and loved ones being able to figure it out, and more or less trying to wipe out the planet. Like I said, not happy memories. So as we can imagine, surprise Skrull with guns is not going to make Jess’ day. Ever.
But, we’ll have to wait for the next issue to see how this unfolds.
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Pencils and Colors: Javier Rodriguez
Inks: Alvaro Lopez
Letters: Travis Lanham
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