Spiderwoman, Agent of SWORD The Motion Comic
Written by Brian Michael Bendis (Powers, Justice League of America)
Art by Alex Maleev
Sound by Simplissimus
Editor & Producer uwan Jayati Ileke
Spiderwoman/Jessica Drew and Madame Hydra- Nicolette Reed
Until now I never really considered Spiderwoman to be one of Marvel’s best characters in their super hero pantheon. The difference is always in the writing. When you couple that with art that is compelling and complimentary that sets a gritty noir-like mood it’s what makes this new use for this medium a great viewing experience. Motion comics are a new way of using a great run of comics printed previously, joining it with music, voice actors and minimalist animation to give it a sense of kinetic propulsion. I’ve seen another motion comic; Astonishing X-Men which was nice but neither fish nor fowl and not quite successful in this form. This series though comes off quite nicely.
Bendis’ writing, as always, is brutal and elegant. Jessica Drew is one screwed over woman. This is post-Marvel Civil War and after it was figured out this was another Skrull invasion designed to destroy the cohesion of Earth’s heroes by using our prejudice and fears against us. She is tough and angry and by God there will be suffering meted out by a woman who feels she’s now replaced Wolverine as the planet’s most jacked over individual and that’s some doing. She’s lost family and friends to The Skrulls and SWORD; a department of SHIELD is going to give her a chance to hunt Skrulls who as shapechangers can literally be anybody. Bendis’ brutal writing melds with Mahleev’s artwork, all grainy and dripping with bodily fluids. The scene where she uses endorphins she generates to break down her jailer is great. First he lusts after her and then he is terrifed of her. Kind of like a relationship in a minute. Spiderwoman also beats a Skrull mimicing Spiderman to death for his attempt to manipulate her. Madame HYDRA appears in a flying car (one of my favorite SHIELD pieces of field equipment) and trys to recruit her as well. There’s a sick mother-daughter relationship going on there and HYDRA’s leader is so seductive about it that you wonder just how close are these two? It makes me want to dig up back issues to find out more.
As animation it’s low-grade anime. Mahleev’s artwork is just so engaging. You can linger on an image and a fly will move in the background to give you a sense of movement or you might get a slow zoom in on a character’s face and it doesn’t feel at all like some cheap approximation of animation. It feels like this motion comic is it’s own entity. It’s not a compromise but the best way to deliver this story.
You can find this motion comic on HULU and it’s six 22 minute episodes that replicate the original comic series. As a character I’ve come to appreciate Spiderwoman and I hope that this series is successful enough to produce another. If Marvel put this out so people would be intrigued enough to buy back issues to follow this storyline that worked as well. Civil War really shook up the Marvel universe. Captian America died, it doesn’t get more serious than that. Now one of his few friends from SHIELD is picking up the pieces of her malevolently deconstructed life and she’s sweaty, scarred and beautiful and I definitely want more of her.
by Bill Hilburn