Sunday, August 1, 2010

Comic Review - Spider-Woman 1-7

Spider-Woman - Agent of S.W.O.R.D.
Publish Date/Year
Creative Team
Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev
Emotionally scathed by her abduction by the Skrulls and being replaced by the Skrull Queen who planned and executed the Secret Invasion and her subsequent return to Earth after the Skrulls' defeat, Jessica Drew is very down on herself. Thinking that her life's even more screwed over than Wolverine's.

Soon, Agent Abigail Brand, Head of S.W.O.R.D. (the alien hunting organization in the Marvel Universe), recruits her and gives her the motivation to find closure and climb out of her depression by setting her off on a Skrull hunt.

Her first mission lands her in a Madripoor jail. Altho' she could break out of jail easily, she prefers not to as she wanted learn all she can about the Skrulls in Madripoor.

Her investigating officer threatens that if she doesn't come clean with him about why she's there, she would be extradited back to USA into the hands of Norman Osborn (now head of SHIELD - see Dark Reign).

Readers are introduced to a never been revealed power - the ability to cause men to fall madly in love with her thru' pheromone emissions!

Investigating officer Detective Chong, helps her escape but is soon killed by a mysterious assailant in a flying car. Being an ex-HYDRA and ex-SHIELD agent, she suspects the occupant to be a SHIELD agent (as SHIELD, especially Nick Fury, often uses them).

The cops in pursuit are brutally killed by the same assailant - who we soon learn is the off-kilter Viper (aka Madame Hydra). Viper wants her back into HYDRA and offers her the chance to escape the cops as she's a fugitive as far as the cops were concerned. Jessica borad the car but she refuses to rejoin HYDRA.

Viper throws Jessica an incentive to do so and finds herself face to face with a Skrull captive that had been tortured by Hydra - the one who could give her info on the Skrull she was hunting in Madripoor! She confronts him and her inner demons. After her brutal battle with the captive Skrull, she makes her escape from the HYDRA base by jumping off from what looked like the tallest builing in Madripoor BUT she can't fly without her costume!

She's resourceful enough to survive the fall but ends up in police custody again to retrieve her costume. As soon as she does, the Thunderbolts (Osborn's hunting dogs) arrive to confront her.

She takes on the Thunderbolts all by herself and manages to evade capture. She then continues her search for her quarry. Her investigative skills from her days as a PI have paid off. She manages to track down the Skrull she was hunting but this time, the battle is vastly different as this Skrull, unlike the previous one, had not been starved and tortured by HYDRA. Jessica is barely able to stay 1 step ahead of being killed when the Avengers arrive, with her best friend, Ms Marvel (Carol Danvers) leading the way to save the day.

By the end of issue 7, it does bring closure to Jeccica's inner turmoil as she had been accepted by her friends once more.
Alex Maleev had outdone himself. The work is absolutely beautiful. Flawless. He is a master at using light and shadows and this is pretty evident in this series. Moreover, his colors add even more depth to his work. Brilliant!

I had fallen in love with his work from his Daredevil days (OK, OK, I admit I have not read Alias yet! The book that introduced the world to his work.) This series is best work to yet!
As a pseudo-realistic artist (with the likes of Alex Ross, etc), I really like his work because altho' technically, his panels are still snapshots, he manages to infuse so much artistry into it that they seem fluid and dynamic.

Additional Comments
What's refreshing and different is that altho this is a superhero comic, you'd expect Spider-Woman to be in costume but Jessica Drew is in civillian togs for the most part.

What's unfortunate is that this series was not intended to be a mini series but a regular one. I was really stoked to see what they would do nest as I am fairly fond of their version of Spider-Woman. However, Marvel had decided to do a motion comic based on the series. This had meant that Maleev had to do so much work between the motion comic and the regular comic that he burned out. It was said that the 7 issues together with the motion comic equalled the work of about 22 regular issues. Ouch!

I was really upset that the book had ended with only 7 issues. What more can I say, for the fans, 'Nuff Said. For those who had not had to pleasure to be acquainted with Jessica Drew, this is indeed a great arc (trade paperback) to pick up. Great stuff. Go and read it!
Get the full story here at 27% OFF!
Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D.


chee leong said...

It is definitely a gorgeous book. The plot, I found to be quite thin and suffers from "decompressed" story telling that Bendis tend to like. Makes for very slow pacing at times.

But hell, since his breathtaking work in Daredevil, Maleev has taken it to a further level here. Where the plot is slow, it allows Maleev to really show off the painted art. Just ogling at his lines and the colouring is enough to forget about the snail paced plot.

It is disappointing that this is cut short to 7 issues. Nevertheless, I have bought Bendis and Maleev's new series Scarlet. Here's to more gorgeous looking women please Mr Maleev..

-chee leong

JM Loke said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I totally agree that it's a shame that the series wasn't longer than 7 issues as was planned. =(

Maleev is just superb! I admit that I like his work even more than Alex Ross'.

Have not caught Scarlet yet but I would have preferred them to take on characters that I know and love from either Marvel or DC's stables. But, I may change my tune...Let's wait and see.

chee leong said...

I guess Maleev's art so far is quite different from Alex Ross in that he does more the gritty, ghetto and darker stuff. Since getting hooked on his Daredevil work, I do look forward to his new stuff eagerly, man.

Yeah, Maleev, Ross and Greg Land are artists that dishes out photo-realistic art and get criticism for what some people call 'photo-referencing'.

To me, gorgeous art is gorgeous art. Keep bringing them on I say. And who can say no to 'realistic' art from a certain John Cassaday as well.

-chee leong