By Murphy Obershaw, A&E Editor
I finally finished the Spider-Gwen comic series at the end of August, and let me tell you: It was good.
The series is about Gwen Stacy, who is the Spider-Woman for Earth-65 in the Marvel comic multiverse (referred to as the Spider-Verse). In this universe, Gwen receives superpowers by getting bitten by a radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker, who is Spider-Man in the regular Marvel universe.
While there are interesting elements throughout the comics, such as varying art styles and expletives expressed by random symbols, the best thing about the series is the storyline and how relatable it is.
Gwen is a 19-year-old drummer who cares about her band, The Mary Janes, but another responsibility distracts her from her commitment to them — her responsibility of being Spider-Woman. The longer she is Spider-Woman, the more she sees that as her identity, but it takes her away from fully living her life.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of us out there don’t have spider powers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t relate to Gwen.
Many people find their identity in the job they have or the titles they hold, and even if they love it, it may start to take them away from their passions and their friends, like what happens to Gwen.
Bad things happen to Gwen all the time. Actually, really bad things happen to Gwen all the time, but she keeps soldiering through. She starts by carrying around the loss of her best friend, Peter Parker, who died. That’s just the pain that she starts with.
We all face a lot, especially in 2020. It seems like even people’s personal lives are on fire along with everything else that has happened and is still happening, but we all keep trying to move along. It’s not graceful, and we can find ourselves in dark places. But Gwen certainly wasn’t graceful at all, and she found herself in some awfully dark places.
One of the main villains that Gwen faces is Matt Murdock. Yes, Matt Murdock is a villain on Earth-65 instead of the superhero Daredevil.
Murdock is the best represented villain I have ever seen in a comic. Somehow, the writers and artists were able to create a character that made my skin crawl. They make you afraid of him, hate him, feel sorry for him and hate him again.
Everything about this guy, from his fleet of secret ninjas to his lawyer business card that reads “The devil you know” just screams “run away,” but he is everywhere. He stalks Gwen, threatens her family, makes her do his dirty work and tries to corrupt her and turn her evil like himself.
Murdock even tricks her into infecting herself with Venom, an alien symbiote that enhances negative emotions like rage, and he tries to make her think that is who she really is.
All this sounds horrendous, but it matches the struggles that people face daily. The actual devil is always trying to trick people and make them use their gifts for things that aren’t right. The devil tries to trick you into thinking that you really are the bad things you’ve fallen into, and it takes a strong person to say enough is enough, get a hold of everything, set things right and restore harmony again.
Have you ever had to do this before? Well, it’s ugly. Just look at Gwen. But she does it and is all the better because she does.
That’s the thing about comics, especially good ones like this one. They show you fantastic situations that are really just analogies, metaphors or personifications of what regular humans deal with everyday.
We may not be Gwen Stacy, but we know what it’s like to be her. We know what it’s like to struggle, get hurt, mourn and feel like we’re no good. But we also know what it’s like to keep going and to rise above, even when it’s not graceful, because it’s worth it.
PHOTO: Murphy Obershaw, A&E Editor