Spider-Woman: Marvel Motion Comics


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Spider-Woman: Marvel Motion Comics


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Alex Maleev
  • Inks: Alex Maleev
  • Colors: Alex Maleev
  • Story Title: Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. Episode 1
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $0.99
  • Release Date: Aug 17, 2009

Marvel takes its first dip into the new motion comic craze.  Our first lesson: Jessica Drew is British.

Seriously, was I the only one who didn't know that Spider-Woman was British?  Maybe I'm just not up on the character's history, but she never seemed British to me.  Skrull... well, that's another story altogether.  One that is to be tied up in this new series of Marvel Motion Comics, Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D.  In the first episode, we find our titular hero alone in a bedroom, brooding about all the bad stuff that has happened in her life and wondering where exactly she fits in now that she is back.  It is then only fitting, since she was abducted and replaced by aliens, that an organization set to hunt and control aliens on Earth would come to her and ask her to join up with them.  This episode is dedicated to introducing Jessica Drew to Agent Brand and S.W.O.R.D., and of course, sending her on her first mission to Madripoor.  Because if you were her, you'd want revenge against the Skrulls too right?

Marvel tapped into an obvious creative choice for their first motion comic.  Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev have been working together for years and always show a tremendous amount of chemistry.  You can tell immediately that is in effect here too.  Maleev has always been able to capture the emotion that Bendis writes into his characters, showing them off to the fullest extent.  His colors and emotions seemingly bleed off the page, showcasing all the range that is needed to get the full impact of a Bendis comic book.  However, therein lies the problem.  What works for a comic book doesn't necessarity work for a motion comic.

If there is one thing that Brian Bendis has always been known for it is his love of dialogue; and there is good reason for that.  He is one of the best in the business at writing good, realistic dialogue.  In a comic, that dialogue can be shown on a full splash page with a long exposition given, or on a talking heads section where you can highlight the witty banter between two characters very effectively.  But after watching through the first five minutes of this motion comic, you quickly learn where it doesn't work.  And that is in two characters sitting on a bus having a conversation where they are completely static images with no changing facial expressions or movements. 

The artwork here for Brand and Spider-Woman is completely unmoving; the camera goes from mid-shot to close up (and there are far too many long lasting close ups in this episode) with the only "motion" to speak of being the rain falling in the background.  I don't need their lips moving with the dialogue, but a changing facial expression every now and again would have been nice.  One thing that DC's motion comics (Watchmen, Batman: Black & White) have done so well is to include actual motion to the characters and take full advantage of this new medium.  The good news about Spider-Woman is that after getting through the seven minutes or so of exposition, there is some good action at the end of the episode, which hopefully continues into future ones.  (The one thing that Spider-Woman does much better than the Watchmen motion comics is the voice acting.  Here every character is done by a seperate person.  How off putting was it to listen to the Watchmen voice acting and have a man do all the characters, even the females?)

Despite the issues with this first episode, I will definitely be continuing on with the series.  Why is that you ask?  Well, for one thing, each episode is only $0.99.  So for $2-3 less than an actual comic book, you get pretty much the same thing in this new medium.  Secondly, it's a quality team of talented individuals working on this. You have to believe after this first epsiode, they will make better use of the medium. And last but certainly not least, with this quality creative team will most certainly come a good story showcasing some of the lesser-known characters in the Marvel Universe.

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