This Spider Doesn’t Go Through the Motions

440px-SwomanMore and more everyday, motion comics are insinuating themselves into the comic book world. Intent on bringing this new type of drama into the online scene, Marvel has finally struck gold. Spider-Woman is an underrated character in the vast Marvel universe and she finally has the well-deserved spotlight through this burgeoning medium.

The story opens directly after the secret war involving the Skrulls. It seems that whatever the Skrulls have done to Jessica Drew, she has now replaced Wolverine as “the most screwed over human in the history of the entire world.” She is then recruited by S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) operative Abigail Brand (Stephanie K. Thomas) who claims that aliens shouldn’t be allowed to be on Earth. Brand wants Spider-Woman to hunt down alien life – particularly Skrulls – and take care of them by any means necessary. From there, Drew is headed to Madripoor to fulfill her first mission.

The plot is well thought-out. Michael Bendis uses Drew’s history to flesh out the current storyline. From the references to Wolverine to her first assignment, we see that this isn’t a reinvention of Spider-Woman. No, what Bendis does is use Drew’s job as a private detective, her previous life in Madripoor and the trauma she suffered at the hands of the Skrulls to begin a new chapter in a continuing story – and a well done one, at that.

As motion comics go, this isn’t a rehash of a miniseries or a previous successful storyline set to music with questionable voice acting; instead, it is something completely new. The storyline is original and with the first issue being launched online, will be viewed by a much broader audience by catching the casual comic-book reader as well as Spider-Woman fans.

It is only 10 minutes long and you will find yourself viewing it repeatedly because there will be things that you will miss. Because of Alex Maleev’s artwork and motion done by Motherland, it will by no means bore you. What it will do is make you wonder how this team brought a concept originally meant for the page have so much life. Part of the credit for successfully pulling this idea off, needs to go to the voice actors Nicolette Reed (Spider-Woman), Thomas and Geoff Boothby, who make this motion comic so convincing.

Reed has the perfect English accent. Reading the comics, audiences tend to forget the origins of Spider-Woman. The voice in your head undoubtedly carries the enunciation of wherever you are from. But with Reed’s inflections and tones, it makes her delivery believe that we are dealing with one of the most tormented beings in Marvel. Thomas also has the perfect liaison type of annoyance in her voice that a reader finds on the page. For every piece of information Brand gives Drew, you know that she is holding something back.

Music and the background sounds in different scenes can also kill a great concept or help it soar. In this case, both are perfectly appropriate to each scene. In the opening, when Drew is having her quiet meltdown, the music aptly emphasizes her state of mind. Also once she is in Madripoor, both music and the noises of the country are in tune with each other – making the scenes real and vivid.

Perhaps audiences have been over-saturated with the likes of the “X-Men” and poor incarnations of other Marvel characters in film that have popular comic titles. In that case, this new genre of media will shine a light on Marvel characters that have not had a chance for their voices to be heard. It is a great idea to get these characters, which have been minor players or dei ex machina off the shelf and give them stories of their own. And with Spider-Woman, there can be many stories to tell.

About Donna-Lyn Washington 611 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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