Thursday, 31 March 2016

Spider-Woman Vol 2: New Duds by Dennis Hopeless

Spider-Woman Vol 2: New Duds written by Dennis Hopeless and illustrated by Javier Rodriguez is the volume of Spider-Woman that falls between Spider-Verse and Secret Wars. It is also (obviously) the collection in which she gets a new, cooler costume.

One of Marvel's best-dressed super heroes gets a whole new look — and a status-quo switch to match! Taking time off from the Avengers, Jessica Drew is back in the investigating business, with reporter Ben Urich at her side. And their first case is a doozy. Someone is kidnapping the loved ones of super villains — but no one cares. No one except Spider-Woman and Ben. With more at stake than she realizes, Jess is heading for a showdown with a new nemesis: Lady Caterpillar! But along the way, which prickly Silver Age bad guy will join Team Spider-Woman? The gang's all here, and there's work to be done — Urich's notebook is full of unsolved mysteries, all across America. There's only one solution: road trip!

The previous Spider-Woman volume was not the most exciting, and despite the illustrator switch and the promise of a pregnant Spider-Woman down the line (after Secret Wars, not in this volume), I was a little apprehensive picking this up. Basically, I didn't want to be disappointed because Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman is one of my favourite superheroes. I need not have worried. Not only is the new costume more practical, but the stories are entertaining and funny, showcasing the best of what Spider-Woman can offer.

Having quit the Avengers, Jessica Drew decides she just wants to help people solo and on a smaller scale (less world-saving, basically). But when she gives this a go, it really doesn't go that well, partly because she stopped paying attention to Avengers bulletins. But once she teams up with Ben the reporter, her efforts become better directed, if not less amusing.

I really liked the first story arc which, after an intro, was basically about the girlfriends, wives and children of supervillains. I don't want to say more, because spoilers, but this is a really great storyline. It's followed by a shorter story arc in which Spider-Woman and her new team wander into a weird Western-themed town where something is not right. This shorter arc wasn't bad, but was less awesome and lead into the start of Secret Wars (which otherwise did not feature in this volume). I am pretty sure the next volume picks up after Secret Wars (yay) and I am looking forward to eventually getting my hands on it.

I highly recommend this volume to fans of Spider-Woman and female superheroes generally. Don't be put off by the fact that this is numbered Vol 2; it's actually an excellent place to start with Jessica's career change and costume change. My only complaint is that there was no Carol Danvers, but that's a minor quibble.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published:
Series: Yes! Part of an ongoing series. Vol 2 but the first volume with the new costume and storyline, comes before Secret Wars, continues after in some form. Contains issues #5–10
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: Real-life bookshop

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