Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D.

4.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Art: 7/10

Sometimes very good art

Sometimes art isn't so good, poor story

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Spider-Woman (Volume Three)

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis

Artist:  Alex Maleev

# of Issues:  7

Release Date:  2011


Spider-Woman (3) #4

Reprints Spider-Woman (3) #1-7 (November 2009-May 2010). Jessica Drew’s life is in shambles. No one trusts her since the Queen of the Skrulls used her form to lead the secret invasion of Earth. but Spider-Woman has been offered a second chance to redeem her name and exercise her demons. Agent Brand has signed up Jessica as an agent of S.W.O.R.D. and now Jessica is headed to Madripoor to track a Skrull. When Spider-Woman arrives in the dangerous city, she discovers herself being hunted not only by Skrulls, but by her old enemy Madame Hydra, and the Thunderbolts.

Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. reprints the short lived Marvel series.  Featuring art by Alex Maleev, the series was also produced as an animated comic film.

I loved Brian Michael Bendis’ Alias series which starred Jessica Jones who was presented as a Jessica Drew substitute until Bendis helped revive the new Jessica Drew. With a love of Alias (and Powers), I had a lot of hope for Bendis’ Spider-Woman plans. I know he loved the character, and with a strong love of the character, I expected much more.

Bendis reinvented Spider-Woman in Spider-Woman: Origin which preceded this story. Bendis claimed he wanted to streamline Spider-Woman’s origin, but instead, I felt he made it uninteresting plus wrecked the continuity of other characters in the process. Jessica no longer was raised by Bova the cow woman of the High Evolutionary and no longer was tricked into believing she was a spider.  It wasn’t that convoluted and it could easily have been remedied by a short page or two retelling of her origin instead of washing thirty years or so down the drain.


Spider-Woman (3) #7

Here, Bendis just got in too over his head.  Sometimes I love Maleev’s art, but other times it does appear rushed.  As Bendis says in the end of the collection, he and Maleev got all backed up on projects with things involving Daredevil etc., and the Spider-Woman series fell to the wayside.  This approach to a series and a character is a poor attempt and ruins the character for others to write her since Marvel will be more hesitant to take another chance with her.

This is Bendis’ take, but I think that the series just wasn’t doing well.  In this collection, virtually nothing happens that you can’t sum up in a few sentences…and that takes seven issues?  Not enough happened, and Jessica is better than sitting around moaning if she has friends or not.  The back-up of work feels like a bit of an excuse to cancel a series that many quickly turned away from.

I love Spider-Woman, but I wish she’d get another fair shake.  The first twenty or so issues of her original series are great, and I’d love to see her more in that context…I didn’t even mind in the ’90s when Jessica was simply a private eye.  Spider-Woman is staying visible and it will be interesting if she remains a major player in the Marvel Universe and what that could mean for future big screen movies involving the Avengers or Spider-Man.

Related Links:

Essential Spider-Woman—Volume 1

Essential Spider-Woman—Volume 2

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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