When it comes to the Marvel universe, there’s always the tendency to keep characters and story lines new and exciting. Recently, Marvel Comics decided to revive Spider-Man’s dead girlfriend Gwen Stacy as new superhero Spider-Gwen.
The new character is technically Spider-Woman, but adding “Gwen” to the name is supposed to add an entirely new angle. While the idea of bringing back Peter Parker’s love interest is gripping, in reality, it may not be the best move.
For those less familiar with the story, Spider-Man lost Gwen — his first serious girlfriend — in a battle with the Green Goblin, and her tragic death was an iconic moment in comic book history that illustrated the frustrating reality that the protagonist cannot always succeed.
Before delving into the Spider-Gwen phenomenon and why it wasn’t Marvel’s greatest idea, it’s important to first understand the following:
- The original Gwen in the comic book was not portrayed in the most interesting fashion. While she may have been sweet and beautiful, she lacked personality. It wasn’t until The Ultimate Spider-Man that Gwen was given a richer personality — similar to what you see in Emma Stone’s portrayal in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
- Gwen’s death devastated Peter Parker and it wasn’t until he met Mary-Jane Watson that he felt his life begin to brighten up.
- Spider-Gwen didn’t come out of nowhere. She was first introduced in Edge of Spider-Verse No. 2.
The new superheroine is not meant to be an addition to the already existing plot. She is a separate storyline where a radioactive spider bit her instead of Peter. In fact, in this world, Peter is trying to become The Lizard in attempt to be “special” too.
The buzz around Spider-Gwen originated with artist Robbi Rodriguez posting designs of the character’s costumes on his Instagram. From there, it just blew up.
Gwen Stacy was already a great character in itself and was arguably one of the best elements of the Spider-Man series. While her death was unfortunate for so many reasons, she has already been dead for approximately forty-some years and to revive her now is prolonging a story that should just be laid to rest.
Admittedly, she does have a kick-ass costume — possibly even better than the original one — but that’s probably the only cool facet. The idea of a female Spidey is compelling, but it’s not like they’re changing the character up in any way, which conceivably is a good thing depending how you look at it.
According to Nerdist, this version of Gwen holds very similar desirable characteristics in the classic Peter Parker — “sarcastic, quippy, overall likable and saddled with tons of personal problems.”
Peter has always been the staple spider-hero and creating an alternate storyline of it is slightly worrying. It’s not that there isn’t potential for an exciting new series, it has more to do with pushing and forcing this to a point where it becomes tacky.
To be clear, this is by no means an argument that a female heroine isn’t a good idea. After all, Marvel is assembling the first-ever all new female Avengers team which will be an interesting addition to the comic book franchise. Besides, it’s about time that more heroines were brought to the forefront.
Spider-Gwen is part of an important movement to better represent women in superhero comics. But other than that, Gwen Stacy is a storyline that should be left to rest in peace.