By Brian Michael Bendis (Script) and Alex Maleev (Art) w/ voice work by Nicolette Reed (Spider-Woman/Jessica Drew/Madame Hydra), Patrick Bosold (Philli Natu), Andrew Edlin (Detective Wang), David J. Murphy (Paladin), and Anthony MacKenzie (Detective Chong)
Some Thoughts Before The Review: While the motion-comic format definitely has a number of positives, I can’t help but feel that, at times, Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. is being held back a bit because of it.
The Story: Jessica Drew confronts Madame Hydra’s Skrull captive, Philli Nutu. Not long after, she soon finds herself back in a Madripoor prison with an opportunity to get back her gear…
The Script: There certainly isn’t anything wrong with Brian Michael Bendis’ script, but something about it just doesn’t really do it for me. The dialogue and storytelling is solid (and the ending is pretty cool), but I think the reason the script leaves me wanting more is because, three issues in, it still feels as though Bendis is working to establish both the main character and the Spider-Woman series as a whole. Now I’m assuming that Bendis’ approach will work perfectly fine once the story catches up in print, but it leaves the motion-comic feeling as though it’s moving forward at a fairly plodding pace With only six motion-comic episodes scheduled (from what I understand), the pacing is starting to dampen my enthusiasm for the format a bit. It seems as though it makes a slow arc feel like an even slower arc.
The Artwork: A few scenes look a bit too dark at times, but as a whole, Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. is another fantastic looking motion-comic. Alex Maleev’s artwork is a perfect fit and does an excellent job of capturing both the tone of the series and the mindset of Jessica Drew. Artistically, I really couldn’t ask for a whole lot more.
The Voice Acting: Nicolette Reed is really starting to sound comfortable as Jessica Drew. I think Reed is a nice fit for the character and her voice work in episode three is the best it’s been. Also, I really like the fact that Reed seems to have toned down her take on Madame Hydra a bit. Hydra no longer sounds like a cartoon villain and it makes it easier to take the character seriously.
The supporting cast gets the job done. Nothing more, nothing less. That said, if I had to single anyone out I would have to say that I wish Patrick Bosold’s Skrull voice was a bit more alien.
The Motion-Comic Effect: Thankfully, the motion effects are much better than they were in the second episode. In fact, I can safely say that nothing really sticks out in a negative way. The brutal fight scene is really effective, Drew’s vibrant pheromone powers help bring a more passive ability to life, and the more computer generated stuff fits with Maleev’s artwork in a much more natural way.
Conclusion: Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. is an entertaining chapter of a solid opening arc for a series, but I can’t help but feel that Marvel might have been better off launching with the Astonishing X-Men motion-comic instead.