I've basically ignored the Spider-books since "One More Day" - if you need to drastically retcon a character's history in order to write a good story, you have no business writing that character. However, in 2014, Marvel had a mini crossover event called "Spider-Verse," in which dozens of Spider-Men from all over the multiverse joined together to fight unbeatable foes. The series introduced lots of cool new Spideys, including one known to fans as "Spider-Gwen."
When radioactive spiders are turned loose in the lab, these scientists obtain web-slinging super powers!
On Earth-65, Gwen Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider, becoming the outstanding Spider-Woman. Gwen first tried using her powers to make money, but her father, a police chief, thought Spider-Woman was wasting her potential. She continued to attend Midtown High, where she stuck up for her best friend Peter Parker, protecting him from bullies. Unfortunately, Peter resented feeling weak, so he developed a mutagen that turned him into the Lizard. He attacked the prom while Gwen tried to protect everyone, but unfortunately died in the fight. She covered up the fact that Peter had been the Lizard, so J. Jonah Jameson declared her a menace and began calling for her arrest.
The best thing about Spider-Gwen is her costume, a super-stylish black-and-white number with magenta and teal accents. The white
pattern forms a spider laid over her shoulders, with its head pointing down her back (minorly similar to Spidey's "House of M" costume, just reversed), and the webs limited to the magenta areas. However, that's almost not what we got: Dan Slott was the one who came up with the idea for a super-powered Gwen, and he pictured her wearing a red-and-blue version of the outfit she died in. Yeah, this is a much better choice.
Her costume is topped off by a hood, lined with the webbing pattern. Her mask is pure white, with a pink spray airbrushed around the eyes. That's the sort of thing that's easy to do with computers, but would have been murder with older coloring techniques. Makes for a really awesome visual, though. If you want to mix things up, she also comes with a "hood down" piece - you just have to pull the head off
to swap them.
And you definitely will be pulling the head off. Spider-Gwen comes with a non-Spider head. "Gwen," in other words. Blonde hair, black headband, you know the deal. Thankfully, you can't put the unmasked head and the hood on at the same time - if that helps even one fan artist learn not to draw her unmasked and hooded, it will have been worth it.
Spider-Gwen uses Hasbro's teen girl body,
of course, and so has all the attendant articulation: swivel/hinge ankles, swivel shins, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips and torso, swivel/hinge wrists, elbows and shoulders, a hinged neck, and a balljointed head. Her right hand is in a web-shooting pose, and her left is curled into a ball for punching. Since the hood is a separate piece and made from PVC, it doesn't impede her head much at all. And for the first time ever, I've gotten one of these Marvel teens whose ankles both turn without feeling stuck!
The Build-A-Figure for Series 3
is the Absorbing Man, and Spider-Gwen comes with the least important part: his wrecking ball. Well, it's supposed to be a prisoner's ball-and-chain, but artists tend to forget that and draw it like a wrecking ball. Appropriate, then, that this is just Thunderball's accessory in a lighter color.
Spider-Gwen is a breakout character. She first appeared in 2014, is already on her second headliner comic series, and has inspired the pointless creation of another stupid knock-off character, Gwenpool. But most importantly, she's been made into a Marvel Legend, and the cool design has translated nicely from 2D to 3D.