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'Amazing Spider-Man Gang War: First Strike' #1 may please fans of C-List villains
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Amazing Spider-Man Gang War: First Strike’ #1 may please fans of C-List villains

Hammerhead’s big plan to take over starts as Marvel’s ‘Gang War’ crossover begins.

Marvel’s “Gang War” crossover officially kicks off this week in Amazing Spider-Man Gang War: First Strike #1, and it’s looking like Spider-Man is going to need to create his own army to combat threats from all sides. If you haven’t been reading Amazing Spider-Man, Hammerhead has been plotting to get all the rival gangs to fight each other, and it appears his plan has worked. My question is, will audiences generally be interested in a war between mostly B- and C-list Spidey villains? Based on this first issue, I’m not so sure.

Written by Zeb Wells with art by Joey Vasquez and Julian Shaw, this issue opens with a map of the various territories. This helps establish just how many areas are ruled by specific gangsters and supervillains. The heaviest hitter of the group as far as powers go is probably Mr. Negative, followed by Hobgoblin, but you’ll mostly know all the players. The issue opens with the heads of each territory conversing and eventually arguing. Gangsters had their men and areas attacked by folks pretending to be of a rival gang, and it seemed to be working.

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Meanwhile, Tombstone is still in the hospital, and his daughter wants to take his seat while he’s still on the mend. She recently had her wedding broken up thanks to Hammerhead’s plotting, and she was going to marry Peter’s best friend, Randy Robertson. That relationship is used against her as she must prove herself to the gangsters by killing Randy.

I can’t say I care much about these gangster shenanigans, especially since it seems pretty obvious someone is setting people up. If these gangster bosses can’t see that, or at least question if that’s what’s happening, maybe they deserve to go to war and lose everything. The stakes don’t seem all that high, especially concerning Beetle killing Randy. Given how much she’s developed over the years, it’s not like her to go full blooded murderer, especially to a guy she was going to marry just a few weeks prior.

Spider-Man Gang War First Strike

I really love this goofy villain.
Credit: Marvel

The biggest stakes may not even involve gangsters, but the weight of New York still enacting a law that makes unregistered superheroes illegal. A much bigger factor in the Luke Cage tie-in, it does weigh a bit on this issue since Spidey and Luke have a brief scene together.

This issue does feature two solid scenes. One involves Mile Morales and Peter, who aren’t on the best terms since Peter doesn’t answer Miles’ calls. They have a fun fight with a slippery new-ish villain. The second scene involves a big twist involving Hammerhead. I certainly didn’t see that coming, although I doubt many will care too much about a character that reveals themselves.

The art throughout is good, with a slightly cartoony edge. Bryan Valenza uses a bright boost of color, giving it a comic-book feel. Most of this book is focused on characters in street clothes with a decided lack of superheroes and villains, so don’t expect much in the way of wow-factor moments.

I want to like Gang War, but there’s not enough here to get you excited unless you’re a big fan of the various B-Tier gangsters that Spider-Man has grappled with over the years. The stakes never feel too high in a story that lacks Spider-Man.

'Amazing Spider-Man Gang War: First Strike' #1 may please fans of C-List villains
‘Amazing Spider-Man Gang War: First Strike’ #1 may please fans of C-List villains
Amazing Spider-Man Gang War: First Strike #1
I want to like "Gang War," but there's not enough here to get you excited unless you're a big fan of the various B-Tier gangsters that Spider-Man has grappled with over the years. The stakes never feel too high in a story that lacks Spider-Man.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
The territories map does a good job showing how many gangsters are involved
Supes being illegal factors, which is nice to see since that's an unfinished story
Competent art
The stakes feel quite low since most of these gangsters are just people without powers
There's no way you'll believe Beetle will kill her ex
Lacks superheroes and supervillain fights
6
Average
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