Story: Dennis Hopeless
Art: Natacha Bustos
What They Say:
The Last Days of Spider-Woman. Spider-Woman’s road trip across the country continues, as she pays a visit to the Alamo! Not even Spider-Woman and her ragtag crew of Ben Urich and The Porcupine are safe from Secret Wars, though.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Spider-Woman draws to a close for this particular volume, though it’ll return post-Secret Wars, and what we get here finally finishes out the Last Days arc and drags poor Jessica into the fold for the end of the world. The Last Days arc hasn’t done much to really set itself apart but rather just finish out the storyline that’s been running with Jess and the crew she’s become associated with. This works out in a sense because it ends on a decent enough note and there’s a sense of closure about it. It also kind of sucks in a way because it was just more of the same and nothing special that would deal with how she’d cope with things coming to an end like they are. Instead, it’s just more of the silliness we’ve had for the bulk of the run once we got past the Spider-Verse material.
This issue provides a reverse bookend for what’s going on with Secret Wars as it starts off with Jess having been brought back in by Black Widow to help transport some scientists. Jess’ reluctance isn’t a surprise but with the scale of events it feels very, very wrong with how she’s acting. It makes sense when we get the scenes before this at the end of the book as she’s not aware of what’s going on, but it all really left me not liking Jess as a character in this interpretation, both as she diminishes her own abilities and contributions but just keeps going on about it over the space of five or so pages combined. That she does get involved is a given, but it’s a pretty poor sendoff for the character from this particular perspective.
The bulk of the book takes us to the small town with the National Beef storyline that’s going on which is just inane. It’s the kind of subplot that even Black Widow calls out as D-List level. And it really is. Which isn’t always a bad thing to get involved in but the result is that it feels incredibly weak for the character and marginalizes her. That’s not to say there aren’t good moments as we get some fun action bits for her and even Porcupine gets to stand up and fight for himself in a solid way. But with the false drama of Ben being injured and then oh my god they introduced Hulk irradiated cows, well, this was pretty much one of those last straw moments for me that made it clear that I won’t be coming back for the next run. As much as I love the character of Jess and some of the nudges here to set her on a new path, I think it pretty much faltered heavily and then collapsed amid the Last Days arc.
The end installment of Spider-Woman is one that has its moments, particularly from guest artist Natacha Bustos, but in the end it manages to turn me away from the book under the main team. The series had – and still has – the potential to do some fun things with Jess that takes her away from the world ending events and multiverse elements. But they swung far too far in the other direction and ended up scraping the bottom of the barrel and making Jess into someone that wouldn’t step up for the big event without being shoved into action for the most part. Hopeless had some good dialogue for her early on and I enjoyed her adventures in the Spider-Verse, but once Hopeless got past that it felt listless. I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for Bustos though as she did a solid job here with layouts and the overall dynamic, especially with the Black Widow pages.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: August 26th, 2015