There isn't a shortage of Spider-Man influenced characters in the Marvel Universe, but Spider-Woman is currently mustering a strong case to be considered the best of any of them, including the original webhead himself. Spider-Woman #13 just adds one more pivotal piece of proof, but and works in some feels along the way.
Spoilers from here on out.
Spider-Woman #13 is a jumping on point of sorts, as it establishes a new main central plotline for the next series of issues. While it may be a good place to start for new readers, you won't get nearly as much out of it if you haven't at least spent a few issues getting to know the family contingent that is Ben Ulrich, Roger Gocking (The Porcupine), Jessica Drew, and the newest member of the team, Gerry, Jessica's young son. It's rather odd to say that characters within a book have chemistry, but that is effectively the best way to describe the organicness of their relationship.
Writer Dennis Hopeless delivers some genuinely funny dialogue in the early going, with an opening line that might as well be my life's mantra. He is able to bring in D-List villains and make them entertaining, though here he does have the chance to work with some higher villains on the food chain. While the book is full of laughs, it carries some emotional weight as well, and an unexpected turn hits you like a freight train to the stomach. After Porcupine goes to meet with a mystery contact at a known villain hangout, they hunt him down and capture him, and Hobgoblin sends his message loud and clear with a pumpkin bomb, seemingly killing Roger in the process.
Things might not be as they seem, but if they are, this will be a very different book going forward, and that is a little sad. Granted, the fact that it hits you in the feels so effectively speaks to the job the team has done with this cast and with Jessica's world in general.
Artist Veronica Fish's style is right at home here and feels like a natural extension of previous issues. Her Spider-Woman is effortless in her movements and full of attitude in her expressions, and her knack for comedy is evident all throughout the issue. The artist has changed up here a there since the series debuted, but a Fish-drawn Spider-Woman would be incredibly welcome going forward if that turns out to be the case.
Spider-Woman places its central importance on characters and humor, and issue #13 continues to build the strongest run this character has seen in some time. The issue hits hard, and if you've spent any time with these delightful characters, it hits even harder.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Written By: Dennis Hopeless
Art By: Veronica Fish
Colored By: Rachelle Rosenberg
Lettered By: VC's Travis Lanham