She’s probably the strangest decision Marvel have ever made. And Spider-Gwen may be their best one, too.
Background to Spider-Gwen
The story starts just a few months ago, in the build-up to ‘Spider-Verse.’ [Marvel](channel:932254) were planning the ‘Edge of Spider-Verse’ miniseries that would give writers an opportunity to have some fun – no more so than Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez, who picked up on the idea of a reality where Gwen Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider!
The idea had started out with Dan Slott (no surprise), who – while bouncing around ideas – had jotted down a line that said, “Gwen Stacy as a Spider-Woman.” Slott passed it to Editor Nick Lowe, who mentioned it to Jason Latour. Latour was a trifle unwilling, but it was really Gwen’s new presence in the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ films that persuaded him the character now had the popularity to catch the public eye. And he was right.
Robbi Rodriguez’s design became an internet sensation before the book had even been published. In fact, the name ‘Spider-Gwen’ was the hashtag that trended on Twitter! Rodriguez and Latour attended New York Comic-Con just as ‘Edge of Spider-Verse #2’ was published, and were blown away by the fan response!
Just in case you've been sleeping under a rock, Spider-Gwen is the Gwen Stacy of another reality, one in which the radioactive spider bit her instead of Peter Parker. In her reality, Peter went on to become the Lizard, and died; ‘Edge of Spider-Verse #2’ is the issue that picks up shortly after, with Spider-Gwen feeling intense guilt.
But, of course, Spider-Gwen was originally created as part of a multiverse-spanning epic, Dan Slott’s ‘Spider-Verse,’ and she’s been traveling between realities throughout that story. Soon, Marvel intend to have Latour and Rodriguez reunited and launch an ongoing!
That’s where this gets really strange.
Spider-Gwen's Secret Wars Problem
Think about it: Marvel are launching a new alternate-universe book right when they’re about to collapse the Multiverse. At first I’d assumed that the new ‘Spider-Gwen’ ongoing might somehow avoid ‘Secret Wars,’ but Marvel have been insistent that everything is headed for this. Everything.
What’s more, Spider-Gwen appears on the teaser image for ‘A-Force.’ Now, I don’t really expect all the women on that image to appear in the book, but the point stands; I reckon we can say for certain that Spider-Gwen is going to be a part of ‘Secret Wars’.
The Future of Spider-Gwen
At first I thought that this was a bad idea. After all, we’re just going to be getting familiar with Spider-Gwen and her world when she gets thrown from one multiversal plotline to the next! But maybe the point is, Marvel don’t want us to get too familiar.
In the aftermath of ‘Secret Wars’, Marvel are combining the 616 and Ultimate realities, as well as – and this is the crucial point – fragments of other realities. So, what if the aftermath of ‘Secret Wars’ were to bring Spider-Gwen (and probably her dad?) into the main Marvel continuity? I rather think that’s the direction things are headed in.
And here’s the irony; Sony have been watching Spider-Gwen with interest. Almost as soon as the design started to trend on Twitter, rumors began to emerge that the female Spider-character Sony were planning to give her own film was not the Black Cat. No, they were being tempted by Spider-Gwen.
Now, I’m not saying that’s the way things are going to go; but, considering Gwen Stacy was killed off in 1973, I think the future’s pretty bright for the character!