Saturday, June 30, 2012

Marvel Media Mania: Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D.

Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. is a motion comic originally released for download on iTunes in 2009. There are five episodes. They have been collected and are now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Bendis is Spider-Woman's #1 fan.

The storyline selected for this motion comic is a bit of an odd choice that leaves me scratching my head a bit. Who is the intended audience for this motion comic? Sure, I know why they chose this limited series - it's Bendis and Maleev. But the story itself isn't exactly accessible to folks who don't religiously read new comics every week. It's set in a very specific time in Marvel history - directly following the defeat of the Skrull alien race in "Secret Invasion." Jessica Drew was replaced by the Skrull queen (Skrulls are shape changers) and her reputation is ruined. You get little flashes of this during the story but I can't say the background is explained enough for those who never read the comics. But why would people who read the original comics want to buy the motion comic? As a storytelling vehicle, the original comics do a better job than the motion comic which could be described as "underdeveloped" at best.

Because of everything Jessica Drew's been through we're not presented with the typical Spider-Woman. This Spider-Woman is out for vengeance and contemplates doing some "dirty deeds" such as torturing/killing a captured Skrull warrior. Once again making this storyline an odd choice for a motion comic. Why not choose something a bit more representative of this character?

The overall tone of these motion comics is very dark and gritty. Spider-Woman finds herself in a shadowy game of intrigue. Maleev's art naturally lends itself to the seedy, dirty settings. The violence isn't presented as cartoony flashes of energy. Every fight Spider-Woman gets into is a knock-down, drag-out brawl. When Spider-Woman falls ten stories onto a car she doesn't walk away - she wakes up in the hospital.

While Maleev's art is great, I still have big problems with the motion comic format. At best it seems like a glorified PowerPoint presentation. Sure, they added in some CGI effects such as the flying cars. Those add some genuine movement to the story. And it is actually an improvement in this one that the characters mouths don't move. In other motion comics they just can't seem to get it right. But the end result is equivalent to a fancied-up puppet show.

So in conclusion, although the source material is certainly enjoyable, the motion comic fails to make the story accessible to casual fans and disappoints visually.

1LR REVIEW - 8 out of 20! It's a Miss!

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