So Apparently The Motion Comic Didn’t Kill Spider-Woman, Scarlet Did

Alex Maleev Cover Art for Scarlet

Which I’m fine with.  I’d rather have a great new book by Bendis and Maleev (their new book Scarlet, forthcoming from Marvel ICON) than have the fairly lackluster Spider-Woman anyway…I guess.  But mostly I just hated the idea that the motion comic…something I despise and don’t think works on ANY level, killed a book that had some potential…and one of the only superhero books at Marvel with a female headlining.  It’s particularly a bummer because while I’m confident Spider-Woman will pop up elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, Abigail Brand’s future is less sure.  With S.W.O.R.D also officially dead, I have to hope that she gets some love elsewhere.  Which it looks like Kathryn Immonen is doing in Heralds…I just hope that’s only the beginning for Brand.

In case you’re coming late to the party, Marvel’s Spider-Woman title by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, ended abruptly after the first story arc ended in issue number seven.  Included in the issue was a one page explanation by Bendis, letting readers know that the motion comics turned out to be FAR more work than Maleev had anticipated and meant he had to draw about four times the material for each issue than he would normally draw…turning a seven issue book into more like 28 issues…which, in fairness to Maleev is A LOT.  So Maleev after so much time spent with Jessica Drew (aka Spider-Woman) and likely in part due to having to draw similar things repeatedly in a not too wildly interesting story to begin with…felt burned out on the character.

And with that, though I don’t blame Maleev, one of Marvel’s only headlining female superhero books…dies.

David Mack's Scarlet

Now, Spider-Woman wasn’t great.  In fact, though I personally liked it, part of that was due to having never read the character before.  So I mostly didn’t mind that Bendis was taking it slow…really slow.  However most readers seemed to have real problems with the molasses-like pacing and the storyline which produced little driving action.  By the time Bendis got to issue five, I have to agree that I, too, was getting weary of the pacing.  It picked up for the finale, however, Drew, the star of the title, essentially had to be bailed out both figuratively and literally in the title by The Avengers.  Which is not a good sign…for the character or the book.

So, since Spider-Woman was already dead, apparently killed by the motion comic, I’m excited to see that that may not be ENTIRELY true, and that it may have also been Bendis and Maleev’s creator owned book Scarlet that helped kill her.  Too bad we can’t have both…but if we can’t then I’ll take a great creator owned book by Bendis and Maleev over editorially controlled characters any day.  If it sounds like I’m hoping for another Alias, and another character as wonderful as Jessica Jones, you’d be right.  Bendis has gotten a lot of fan criticism in recent years, which I think is fairly common when a writer explodes as he has, but he’s also been called out for having some sexist and misogynistic storylines…I generally haven’t read the stuff in question, so I don’t know how accurate those complaints are, but I can say that Jessica Jones remains one of my favorite female characters ever created, so I’m fairly confident Bendis and Maleev can hit that same magic once again.

So…consider me excited for Scarlet, mourning Spider-Woman, and hoping motion comics soon die the horrible pointless death they deserve.


  1. Jonathan Nolan’s avatar

    Scarlet? Is it possible to generate energy by being derivative? Because if so, we’ve finally found something Bendis is good at. He can power a small city.

  2. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    Yeah, I’m not a fan of the name…but did you read the pitch? Sounded kind of interesting…like they were going to play with breaking the fourth wall and meta textual stuff. We’ll see. I always have mixed feelings about fourth wall breaking, but done well it can be great. I also like that the series is not going to be an ongoing. It has a definitive beginning, middle, and end. I like that. Who knows…but I’m still hoping for a new Alias.

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