Ghost-Spider Vol. 1: Dog Days Are Over by Seanan McGuire, Takeshi Miyazawa & Rosi Kämpe

with inks by Ig Guara, colors by Ian Herring, letters by Clayton Cowles and covers by Jorge Molina.

My first introduction to Spider Gwen or, as she prefers to be known, Ghost-Spider, was through the excellent Into The Spiderverse animated movie that introduced many of us to all the different Spider-people of the multiverse. I knew she had a solo book, but I hadn’t had time to take a look until this volume was nominated for the Hugo for Best Graphic Story.

Combining issues 1-5 of the ongoing series, Dog Days Are Over follows the Gwen Stacey of Earth-65 as, tired of her notoriety, she decides to enroll at Empire State University in Earth-616, where Peter Parker is a teaching assistant. He proves more than helpful in getting her into school and into the right classes, as well as providing her with solutions for her slight suit problem (also, kale chips are delicious, you weirdos!)

At first, Gwen is happy to be your semi-typical college student, even if things in this dimension are just ever so slightly off from her own. It’s just a relief to be able to focus on her studies here in relative anonymity, before poking a hole back into her own dimension to patrol the streets and make it to band practice on time, no matter MJ’s huffiness.

Things get complicated when Man-Wolf is released from prison back on Earth-65 and Miles Warren hatches a plan to get rid of the Ghost-Spider for good. But the Miles Warren on Earth-616 has other plans when he lays eyes on Gwen Stacey once more. As dimensions collide, will Gwen be able to juggle her responsibilities in both and keep safe the ones she loves?

I really enjoyed being able to catch up on all the goings-on with Gwen and her dad and the MJs (and Peter!) in this fun and beautifully illustrated trade paperback. I genuinely could not tell the difference between Takeshi Miyazawa and Rosi Kampe’s work on a casual look-through, which really helped make for a seamless read. This is no doubt in large part due to Mr Guara’s inks, which tie the art together nicely. I loved how college-appropriate everyone was, too, and I’ve long been a fan of Gwen-65’s awesome costume and clothes.

I do think the book would have benefited from slightly better pacing, tho. I wanted to see more of Benji, and the ending, while satisfying, felt too rushed. I think this story arc overall would have felt more fleshed out if it had been given one more issue to tell its tale. Like, what exactly was Benji’s deal? And while I’m sure Miles-616’s obsession with Gwen is explained in an earlier book, it would have been nice if that reason had been mentioned even in passing. This was above average for a Marvel book, but it felt like there were too many gaps in the story told here to be more than passable entertainment for the new reader, especially for a book that touts itself as a first volume. Like, we don’t need primers on Peter Parker or Doc Connors to enjoy the story, but exploring the motivations of the Big Bad beyond “ew, what a creep” would be germane. This book has charm in loads but could definitely use a little more story.

Ghost-Spider Vol. 1: Dog Days Are Over by Seanan McGuire, Takeshi Miyazawa & Rosi Kämpe was published February 18 2020 by Marvel and is available from all good booksellers, including

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