Writer: Seanan McGuire
Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Jorge Molina
Variant Cover Artists: Joe Quesada, Kevin Nowlan, and Richard Isanove; Carlos Gómez and Morry Hollowell
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Gwen Stacy wants to go to college, and she wants to do it without the super hero strings attached. Unfortunately, in her Earth-65 dimension, she can’t attain that since everyone knows she is
Spider-Woman Spider-Gwen Ghost-Spider. Instead, she enrolls at Empire State University on Earth-616 with the help of Peter Parker. Peter has also been helping Gwen figure out why she temporarily loses her powers when jumping through dimensions. Everything is coming up roses for Gwen, right?
Well, unknown to Gwen, her dad (returning to the NYPD after a health scare) is faced down by Mayor Jameson who demands the release of his son who was captured in his Man-Wolf form. Gwen’s “Mary Janes” bandmates are also less than impressed about her seemingly abandoning all of them. And, apparently, she might not be as anonymous on Earth-616 as she might have hoped.
Ghost Spider #1 is a fun, quick read for fans of the Spider-verse of all ages. It does a lot of setting the stage for upcoming issues — enough so that it could justifiably have been an Issue #0, but regardless, you finish the book with a good idea of who Gwen Stacy is and all of the upcoming drama in her life (as much as she wants to avoid it). It did seem like Gwen had it fairly easy in this issue with not a lot of tension, but the book does tee-up a lot of interesting conflict that you can see coming. There’s the obvious showdown with Mayor Jameson and the (no spoilers!) mysterious figure at the end, but even more so, the underlying tension about Gwen essentially ignoring her friends and her responsibilities to her dimension in favor of (selfishly?) getting a college degree without the drama grabs your attention. You can’t blame her for it, but you also want her to do the right thing. But what is the right thing? That’s what makes this a relatable dilemma.
The artwork and coloring from Miyazawa and Herring matches perfectly with McGuire’s smooth writing. As familiar as the outfits of Spider-Man and Ghost-Spider might be, it’s still entirely refreshing to see that duo swinging around the streets of New York City. Also entertaining are the brief glimpses of what makes up Ghost-Spider’s suit (hint: starts with “s” and ends with “piders”). Cowles also gets creative with the lettering, especially when we have to know in which dimension we are currently reading since that jumps back and forth a bit. You can also tell they had a fun time putting together the title page.
Ghost-Spider #1 sets up a lot of external and internal conflict for Gwen Stacy which might not be what she’s looking for, but it’s exactly what we as the readers are here for. It’s a fun read for all ages, especially those of you returning to school or college.