Remember that one extremely controversial variant cover to Spider-Woman #1? The one that featured its titular heroine , as our own Darren Franich put it, “Thrusting her posterior high in the air, as one does”? That was a pretty embarrassing moment for the character, yeah? Well, if you read this week’s Spider-Woman #5, you’d find that Spider-Woman totally agrees with you.
Spider-Woman #5 made headlines long before it came out last Wednesday for marking the debut of a new look for its hero—a rad button-up motorcycle jacket and pants combo replaced the highly sexualized, practically painted-on tights that Jessica Drew had been wearing for years. In this issue—which is fantastic, by the way—writer Dennis Hopeless takes a moment to have Drew crack wise about last summer’s much-maligned cover.
“I once lost a week of my life shame-Googling ‘Spider-Woman Butt,'” she says as she’s goes about beating up who she presumes is a super-villain that doesn’t recognize her. It’s the sort of metacommentary that superhero comics actually engage in all the time—take a look at last month’s Thor, for example—but doubles as a sort of admission that maybe that cover was at odds with the book’s mission.
Which makes it worth repeating: Spider-Woman #5 is great. Effectively a soft reboot of the series—the first four issues were tied up in the Spider-Verse crossover, which is kind of a mixed bag—this issue focused on hero Jessica Drew after she quits the Avengers and all their apocalyptic universal gallivanting in favor of helping normal people. While writer Dennis Hopeless certainly has his fans, I suspect that there are many people who don’t know that he’s secretly one of Marvel’s best writers, crafting consistently funny, thoughtful, and well-paced scripts, most recently in the excellent Avengers Arena and Avengers Undercover.
New series artist Javier Rodriguez’s work is just as laudable—it’s gorgeous, clean stuff that makes fantastic use of color and light (which makes sense, since most of his credits on superhero books have been as a colorist). I hope he stays on the book for a long time; his work goes a long way toward giving Spider-Woman a unique visual identity to stand proud alongside Marvel’s idiosyncratic solo books like Hawkeye and Black Widow. But with Secret Wars on the horizon, who knows what will happen.
If you haven’t been reading Spider-Woman, go ahead and ignore that #5 on this week’s cover and dive right in. It’s pretty much a brand-new series, and one totally worth getting on board with.