Previously in Spider-Woman #12
Spider-Woman #13 – “Scare Tactics, Part 1” | Writer: Dennis Hopeless | Artist: Veronica Fish | Color Artist: Rachelle Rosenberg | Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham | Cover Artist: Javier Rodriguez | Publisher: Marvel
I had to take a few days before writing this review, which will contain spoilers for this issue. I had no idea I would come to care about Roger as a character, or that it would affect me so when he died in the final pages. This issue was great, and not just because of that shocking ending. Hopeless cultivated this unconventional relationship between a hero and a (ex)villain, and pulled off some impressive world-building in the process.
I love that this issue visited something I’d wondered about in prior reviews (how Roger’s role in Jessica’s life affected his personal life) by having Jessica visit Moon’s Hollow, the town in which Roger’s wife and daughter live. The women there (all exes of low-level villains) promised to stop extorting their partners and make an honest go of maintaining the haven they’d created. To make sure they are holding up their end of the bargain, Jessica stops by and eventually encounters Roger’s daughter, Kalie, and her mother Olivia. Kalie is happy to see Jessica, but Olivia? Not so much. Jessica notices and it troubles her.
This is important because earlier that day, she thought Ben was acting a bit odd when it came to Roger and whether or not Jessica would give Roger a hard time for passing off his babysitting duties to take care of a personal issue.
Just what is this personal issue? Roger drops by a bar whose clientele is typically of the law-breaking variety, and asks to speak to the boss. That night, while presumably waiting for this boss, Roger is confronted by Ben, who reveals he knows Roger is in love with Jessica, but he hopes that Roger will not say anything or act on it for fear of adding more stress to Jessica’s life – she’s still not speaking with Carol, Bruce is dead, etc. Roger promises he can live with things as they are, but before he can truly convince Ben he forces the reporter to hide.
Instead of the meeting he’d hoped for, Roger is beaten up by his ex-colleagues. They know he’s been working with Jessica and whatever Roger had planned, they’re not interested in making it easy. Finally, the boss, The Hobgoblin, arrives and kills Roger while Ben watches in horror from the shadows.
Ben arrives at Jessica, shaken, and about to tell Jessica what happened, but from the way her face breaks when she asks about Roger, it’s clear she already suspects the worst.
This issue unfolded beautifully. It made sense that Jessica, who’s no dummy, would pick up on something being off, but not really act on it because she admits to being effective only because she deals with the current task at hand while blocking everything else out of her mind. When she’s with Gerry, she’s not thinking about work, for example. To have to put together the pieces of how Roger felt about her and why Olivia was giving her the stink eye after finding out about his death is going to be rough.
I love that this series continues to feel like the most realistic fantastic story; not just by making this superhero a single mom, but also by making her continue to face real problems like regular folks do. I’m sad to see Roger go, but I also admire the guts it took to deal this kind of blow to the main character and the unique dynamics of her personal and professional life. And I appreciate that the art, while definitely showing signs of being Fish’s own style (been really enjoying her work in Archie as well), also still feels like the comic I’ve come to love. – oh, and the colors are still simply gorgeous.