Spider-Gwen Just Became Marvel’s Ultimate Symbol of Redemption

Warning: Contains spoilers for Spider-Gwen: Shadow Clones #5!Spider-Gwen has seen her share of scrapes, but facing down a coalition of her clones takes «strange» to a new level. Gwen-Ock (a hybrid of Gwen and Doc Ock) sacrifices herself to save the others, leaving Gwen to grapple with the idea of redemption. The not-so-evil clones leave behind lessons in balance and friendship that she needs to handle ongoing threats.

It would be simple for the clones to fight Spider-Gwen since they were made for that purpose alone. However, in Spider-Gwen: Shadow Clones #5 by Emily Kim and Kei Zama, they turn on their creator, and Gwen-Ock ultimately chooses to defend Gwen Stacys from across the multiverse instead. The clones embrace their good and bad qualities equally, proving that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. It’s a vital lesson for Gwen as she struggles with the idea of being a villain in someone else’s story.Related: Spider-Man’s Infamous ‘Clone Saga’ is Being Done Right With Spider-Gwen

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Spider-Gwen’s Clones Make Their Own Decisions

Gwen Ock Sacrifice

Lyla Bennett, an Earth-65 scientist working on cloning technology, was unlucky enough to be in her lab while Spider-Gwen fought Earth-616’s Sinister Six members. Bennett’s husband became collateral damage, and his death sent Lyla into a spiral that culminated in her creating hybrid clones of Spider-Gwen and the Sinister Six. Lyla’s mission goes beyond destroying Earth-65’s Gwen, and she reveals in Spider-Gwen: Shadow Clones #4 that she plans to eliminate all Gwen Stacys across the multiverse with a multidimensional transmitter. Two clones, Gwen-Ock and Sandgwen, disrupt the process. Gwen-Ock sacrifices herself to overload the system, effectively saving the lives of every other Gwen in existence. As her parting words, she reminds Gwen, «You’re not a villain. But we all have a little bad in us. Who says that’s so wrong?»

Gwen Stacys Everywhere Owe Their Lives to a Villain

Gwen Ock Dies

If Bennett’s plan was allowed to succeed, every Earth would lose its Gwen Stacy. The implications would be cataclysmic, yet it is all thwarted by someone created purely to be bad. Gwen-Ock possesses all the qualities of the notorious Doctor Octopus along with Earth-65 Gwen’s memories and aspects of her personality. The result is a formidable combination of intelligence, confidence, and a shrewd grasp of reality. It’s the perfect recipe for a villain, yet she has a free will that even Lyla admits she didn’t fully account for. It makes her more than simply the sum of her parts, just as Spider-Gwen is more than the sum of her mistakes – even if those mistakes sometimes ruin lives.

Gwen’s relationship with the clones, along with Gwen-Ock’s sacrifice and parting words, shows her that everyone deserves a second chance and the opportunity to be themselves. Embracing that means she doesn’t have to face the world and every battle alone. She learns that it’s not just okay, but necessary, to have people by her side that care. She isn’t defined by her missteps, even when others dedicate themselves to punishing her for them. It isn’t an easy lesson to learn, but taking it to heart may be the only way to face Lyla Bennett and the pain she blames on her. Spider-Gwen and her clones prove that redemption isn’t just possible, it’s deserved.

Spider-Gwen: Shadow Clones #5 is available now from Marvel Comics!

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