In 2016 the story presented in Spider-Women crossed between the Silk, Spider-Gwen and Spider-Woman titles, uniting three women with different spider-related powers and skills. If that wasn’t enough, other-dimensional counterparts are also introduced.

The three lead characters first met during the Spider-Verse crossover, and that Spider-Gwen’s from an alternate universe hasn’t stopped them getting together since. Her universe differs from the familiar Marvel Earth (no Avengers for a start), and there’s a criminal mastermind by the name of Cindy Moon who’s been tracking her. The opening chapter sees the main cast trapped on Spider-Gwen’s world while Cindy Moon, not so coincidentally the counterpart of Silk, is free to plunder Earth.

Much of Spider-Women’s first half is events keeping one step ahead of the cast, a sort of frustrating chase, and the best moments are those that take the characters away from that. In her own continuity Silk is desperately hunting for her missing parents. On the alternate Earth they’re easily tracked down, as is Jessica Drew’s counterpart. Spider-Gwen’s often bemoaned her super powers, and now there’s a chance they may be removed. These are clever devices for throwing the cast into disarray, but countered by others, such as the intrusion of the Black Cat, that serve little purpose other than prolonging the story artificially. On balance, however, there’s far more that’s good than not so good. After all, it’s not your average crossover where a primary concern is finishing all superheroic endeavours before the babysitter’s time is up.

All the artists involved work in an appealing loose style, filling their backgrounds and supplying some emotional gravitas to the cast. The sample page is the work of Vanesa Del Ray, but Bengal, Tana Ford, Jöelle Jones and Nico Leon share the same general sensibilities, with Ford and Jones’ work being that little tighter.

When we get to the crux of the evil Cindy Moon’s motivations it’s a clever revelation, and the use of stolen technology works well. Also good is seeing one element of the plot resolved through logic and common sense rather than a smackdown. This is, however, a superhero story, so a smackdown is compulsory, and it pays off, being suspenseful and dynamic. So, a decent adventure overall, the friendship between the three lead characters works well throughout, and a few clever twists are thrown in. Spider-Women may not be an absolute keeper, but it’s a fun read.