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Evil Geek Book Report – Spider-Woman: Agent Of S.W.O.R.D.

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There are a lot of characters in the Marvel universe I want to find out more about, but don’t always have the option to. Some of them I found don’t have their own series for a reason. Spider-Woman has been a curiosity for me lately. Admittedly, I know next to nothing about her. I didn’t want to go back to her original series from the late 70’s so when I found out that Bendis and Maleev teamed up on a miniseries, I knew I had to check it out. Loving their Daredevil run as much as I did, I couldn’t wait to see them in action together again.

Life hasn’t been very good for Jessica Drew before the start of this series. During the Marvel wide crossover Secret Invasion we find out that the queen of the shape shifting Skrull empire had imprisoned Jessica and replaced her in The Avengers to pave the way for a full scale replacement and invasion threat. Once the dust cleared, Drew had a lot of adjustments and difficulties to deal with in her reclaimed life.

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The series starts shortly after that, Jessica is approached by Abigail Brand and invited to become an agent of S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation And Response Department) whose job it is to basically monitor and in some case eradicate alien life forms that have infiltrated Earth. Drew is perfect, possessing the skills of both the S.H.I.E.L.D. intelligence agency, the HYDRA terrorist organization as well as being a private eye for many years. Ultimately, the chance to excise some personal demons by hunting down the alien race that ruined her life proved far too tempting.

Armed with a device that can detect alien life forms, a phone and her wits, Jessica heads to Madripoor to follow up on Skrull activity. The 7 issue miniseries tells an interesting story, it’s not particularly complex but still an engrossing read. It’s a story about Jessica Drew, not Spider-Woman and in that sense reminiscent of the team’s work on Daredevil.

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In essence it’s an espionage detective tale with Madripoor as its backdrop. Strangely though, there was very little actual detective work done by Drew. The way Maleev draws Madripoor is perfect, he does a great job really conveying its seediness. It gave me an idea for a Marvel ongoing series, so Mr. Bendis if you’re reading this, please take note. The book would involve different film noir type stories in Madripoor, each arc would focus on a different character ranging from new ‘nobody’ characters to established heroes and villains. Think about it, wouldn’t you like to know what Bullseye does on a bender in Madripoor?

Spider-Woman6This book gave me exactly what I was looking for. I learned more about Jessica Drew and while story wasn’t first class it was still very good. I was shocked by some of the reviews I read prior to this, mostly slagging it. When I see Bendis and espionage/noir in the same sentence chances are I am probably checking it out. He turns in an adequate performance, but the real star here is Alex Maleev. In the first volume of their Daredevil collection his art was a tad on the ugly and grim side for me, but this book is positively gorgeous. I need more of these two together. Perhaps a Moon Knight I shall seek…

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Sadly, this series was short clocking in at just 7 issues; it was intended as ongoing but time restraints and the produced motion comic that went along with this proved to be too much. It’s a shame because I think this definitely had potential.

All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners.

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About Biff Tannen

Film Noir, Pulp, Comic Books and Hitchcock.

Posted on June 17, 2013, in COMICS!, Evil Geek Book Report, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I really enjoyed that series. Spider-Woman has one of the more complicated backstories in comics – it’s an absolute mess. Bendis did the right thing by largely ignoring all that. The series was moody and atmospheric, full of brutal violence and brutal emotions. It was very good, I thought. And Maleev’s art was great.

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