Spider-Man Gang War Creators: Writers- Zeb Wells and Cody Ziglar, Artists- Joey Vazquez and Julian Shaw, Colorist- Bryan Valenza, Letterer VC’s Joe Caramagna
Its time for the latest big Spidey event as we return to the streets, some more familiar Spider-Man foes and the continuation of Marvel’s recent trend of reusing old storyline names in the hopes that lightning can strike twice.
There’s a lot happening this issue as we knock over the dominos set up in Amazing to set this whole kit and kaboodle off. We get a lot of good character moments, especially with Janice Lincoln, the new Beetle, Tombstone’s daughter and former fiance of Randy Robertson. It’s mostly a talky talky which is fine because at least its mostly good talky talky that progresses the plot. The issue ends with things just about to go full blown action, Spidey musing about needing a team and the real mastermind of the event being revealed.
I think this was a lot better than the last few stories we’ve had. I do have some issues. Particularly the conversation between the two Spider-Men. Here we see Peter being dressed down heavily by Miles. I’m never a big fan of seeing Peter portrayed as the incompetent hero who needs to be told off by anyone, but especially not his protege. It makes Miles seem unreasonable and Peter seem like an idiot. I think this conversation was perhaps needed from Miles perspective but it didn’t need to be so ‘teacher telling off a bad student’ vibe.
I liked the scene of the gangsters gathering a lot, but I felt a bit lost in terms of who each of the characters where. Some of them aren’t referred to by name and could maybe have used a small caption box to state who they were. I’m also not 100% sure who people like the new Crime Master is. You can’t expect every reader to know everything and that’s me saying that who knows far too much about Spider-Man.
This issue reminded me of the great crime centric stuff Howard Mackie and John Romita JR did back in Spider-Man in the 90’s. Stories involving Hammerhead, Jimmy 6, Silvermane and others but…not quite as good.
I agree with Glenn on much of the issue, but I had a different take on the interaction with Peter and Miles. While Miles is certainly bold in this conversation, I think Peter’s response speaks to his character. He is not above reproach. He can look at a situation, or a critique, and accept his responsibility in how he handled it. Exactly what happens here. It reminds me a bit of my time in high school administration. There are times when a student has a good idea, or a point of disagreement where I must accept that they are right and move on. I feel like that is exactly what happens here.
The scene with the crime lords meeting to discuss who owns what part of the city was good. However, not sure why Shang Chi was there, unless it is infiltration. I haven’t read his book lately so I’m not aware of his current status in the 616, but this seemed odd. The addition of Janice at the meeting added the necessary stakes for the issue. Would she kill her former fiance Robbie to take her place at the table. Of course we knew the answer to this, but it did provide the drama and heart for the rest of the issue.
By the end, New York has exploded. It will be interesting to see where this goes. I hope it doesn’t become a giant royal rumble that events typically do, losing the heart that makes Spider-Man great.
I’m not too familiar with the artists here who seem to be some of the batch of Marvel ‘everymen’ we’ve seen over the past few years. Very talented people who the company swap around to wherever they’re needed while never being pushed as particular ‘names’ or ‘stars’.
It flowed well, everything looked great and it had a close enough likeness to McGuiness to have some good visual continuity from the last arc. The emotions when needed where portrayed very well and every scene flowed well. Nothing massivingly mind blowing but all very strong and doing what was required of the story.
My biggest issue with the art is I think Marvel should be treating its artists better. My mind goes back to how they stated that a number of artists don’t ‘move the needle’. I feel they could do more to promote the talent they have so if the needle statement is accurate, that can change.
There is no doubt that the artists on this issue did a servicable job. The pacing is good. The layouts are good. The “acting” by the characters is good. My only wish with this story would be to have a grittier artist. There are a few scenes, especially when we find out who is behind the whole mess, and her subsequent beat down of Hammerhead, that would be more effective with a more realistic, less cartoony, artist.
Some quibbles but a LOT better. This whole run still is of course weighted down by its own bad decisions. They would either need a completely fresh start or something mind blowing to shake that off and whole this was good, it wasn’t mind blowing.
I really liked the issue as a whole. Wells and Ziglar have placed many threads to handle as they move forward. One bright spot is the ending. It seems that Spider-Man is putting a team together, hopefully placing him firmly in the Marvel Universe again.
Glenn: 3 Webshooters
Steve: 4 Webshooters
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