ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Night-Gwen #1 - But Why Tho

Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1 is written by Vita Ayala, illustrated by Farid Karami, colored by Erick Arciniega, and lettered by VC’s Cory Petit. It is published by Marvel Comics. By day, Dr. Gwen Stacy acts as a therapist to the inmates of Ravencroft Asylum. By night, she dons a costume inspired by the Squadron Supreme’s Nighthawk and fights crime as Nightbird. When a series of grisly murderers is committed across Washington D.C., Gwen must figure out who the killer is and the bond they share, as his victims are all connected to her.

The idea of Gwen Stacy as a superheroine is nothing new; as Spider-Woman/Spider-Gwen/Ghost-Spider, Gwen has found new life past “Spider-Man’s girlfriend” and “being tossed off a bridge by the Green Goblin.” Ayala takes things a step further with their script, as Gwen is shown to utilize her skills as a therapist to deal with Ravencroft’s victims in addition to fighting them as Nightbird. Gwen’s inner monologue also details the lessons she learned from her late mother, which come in handy for her dual life.

Night-Gwen also features more connections to the Heroes Reborn universe, specifically events and characters that were detailed in Marvel Double Action. Flash Thompson’s run for Congress is brought up. Gwen is friends with Misty Knight, who is still a detective under the purview of Commissioner Luke Cage. And Gwen battles a multitude of villains including Spider-Man foes Hammerhead and Mister Negative, while also treating Ravencroft’s various villains. Many of the Heroes Reborn one-shots have taken steps to make this alternate universe feel fleshed out, and this one-shot is no exception. Perhaps the most interesting deviation comes from how Gwen handles the advances of her college professor Miles Warren in a flashback. In the mainstream Marvel Universe, Warren’s obsession with Gwen led him to clone her and Spider-Man; here, Gwen goes to the dean of students and her actions lead to Warren being fired. As someone who’s always found the Jackal to be a disturbing villain, this was a more than welcome change and I applaud Ayala for going through with it.

Artwise, Karami and Arciniega add their own flair to Gwen’s Nightbird suit. While the Nightbird suit is modeled off of Nighthawk there are some key differences. Gwen’s suit features more black than blue, and she wears a mask that only covers her eyes. Karami also gets to draw Nightbird in various action sequences, including a two-page splash featuring Gwen dueling various villains. Arciniega delivers a fairly muted color palette that grows immensely dark around Ravencroft, seeming to visually signal it as a place where darkness congregates. The flashback sequences within the one-shot have a lighter, hazier color, representing readers viewing Gwen’s memories.

Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1 offers another take on Gwen Stacy as a superheroine, yet it’s one that feels genuinely fresh. As someone who’s found Gwen Stacy to have far more nuance in various alternate realities, I’m glad this story continues that trend and I wouldn’t be opposed to a Nightbird ongoing series.

Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1 will be available on Wednesday, June 9 wherever comics are sold.

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TL;DR

Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1 offers another take on Gwen Stacy as a superheroine, yet it’s one that feels genuinely fresh. As someone who’s found Gwen Stacy to have far more nuance in various alternate realities, I’m glad this story continues that trend and I wouldn’t be opposed to a Nightbird ongoing series.