Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Spider-Woman: Agent of SWORD by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev

Spider-Woman: Agent of SWORD written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Alex Maleev was a short run of seven issues featuring Spider-Woman and her work with SWORD (which is basically the interstellar version of SHIELD).

Ripped from the pages of Secret Invasion and New Avengers, this explosive saga follows the new adventures of the gorgeous and mysterious Jessica Drew — a.k.a. Spider-Woman — as she reenters a society she did not an AGENT OF S.W.O.R.D. Containing new story and artwork not available in any other format, this is the start of a major chapter in one of the most high profile characters in all of Marvel Comics!

This is a relatively dark story, illustrated in a very particular style (see cover for an example). Spider-Woman has recently returned from horrible things being done to her by the Skrull (aliens) and feels that everyone must hate her because of said horrible things, which included a Skrull taking on her appearance. Basically, she thinks she's the most screwed up person ever (as she tells us up front). When SWORD comes along with a mission for her, she accepts, especially because it will allow her to get some vengeance against the Skrull.

Most of the story is set in Madripoor, a dodgy (and fictional) city somewhere in South-East Asia that, by this stage, I have encountered in Marvel before. The universe backdrop for this comic is earlier in time than any others I've read so far, with the US under the Green Goblin's control and the Avenger's replaced by a less patriotic/moral group. The actual Avengers we know and love are still around, though, and show up for a bit.

Apparently this was originally created as a motion comic, which is why it stopped after only seven issues. I found a trailer for the motion version on YouTube, which I have embedded below:

I have no idea where one might access it in full, but in any case, it should give you a further idea of the art style (although obviously the printed version doesn't move, and neither did the digital version I read).

This was an interesting read and I remain interested in Spider-Woman's back-story. This only deals with a small part of it, though it does explain some more of her earlier life. I plan to read more about it if I can. I would recommend this volume to fans of "gritty" superhero stories and, I suppose by default, fans of Spider-Woman.

4 / 5 stars

First published: 2010, Marvel
Series: Full run of Spider-Woman: Agent of SWORD, containing issues #1-7
Format read: Digital
Source: Marvel Unlimited subscription

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