Multiverse travel is weird, folks. Weird enough for Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #2 to give a new meaning to “conflict with oneself.”
Gwen remains stranded in an unknown alternate universe after the events of Spider-Geddon #2. She’s also reuniting with some familiar faces, though everyone seems to have played a bit of a role change in this alternate world. The result is a tense working relationship for Gwen as she tries to find the one person who can help her get back to her own reality.
The book’s subtitle, The Ballad of Gwen Stacy, fits the theme of the issue well, with about a quarter of the book spent recounting the fates and struggles of this new world’s Peter, Gwen, MJ, and Harry. Still, the writing from Seanan McGuire is tightly focused throughout Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #2. Everything serves to move the plot forward, while allowing characters enough emotional space to build pathos.
I did have some minor gripes about the characters’ actions. Namely, Gwen and the natives of this world seem overly-reluctant to help one another.
On the one hand, the reader could understand why these people would endure pain from being around one another. Another part of the problem could be Gwen’s single-minded focus on reminding other characters that her friends are in danger on her own world. However, interactions are standoffish and even hostile, especially between Gwen and MJ. It’s to the point that they seem almost like enemies forced to fight a common threat.
The characters’ attitudes don’t really hurt the larger narrative, though. Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #2 maintains the fast-paced storytelling of the previous issue with an interesting and engaging alternate universe story.
Rosi Kampe’s artwork carries the same momentum as in our last issue. Each frame carries a sense of animation, with figures that jump right off the page. The close-up frames, in particular, showcase how great Kampe is at capturing facial expression.
The work is nicely stylized throughout Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #2. Backgrounds tend to bounce back and forth between intricate detail and starkly minimal. That’s not always a compliment, as in the hands of a lesser artist, it could be gratingly annoying. However, it reflects the storytelling nicely here, with no small help from colorist Ian Herrin.
Colors are used throughout as an expressive tool to highlight the emotional pitch of each frame. The more somber first half of the book is dominated by subdued green and purple hues. However, as the tone changes, more oranges and lighter colors take over the backgrounds.
Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #2 continues on the strong trajectory set by the previous issue with tight, punchy writing and eye-catching artwork. I highly recommend you add this one to the pull list.