Welcome to an all-new edition of Parlay Points, the comic book review blog to the ODPH Podcast!
For this entry, we’re getting ready for the next BIG story involving your friendly neighborhood SPIDER-MAN! The wedding of Janice Lincoln (Beetle) and Randy Robertson was ruined. Janice’s father, Tombstone was left for dead. A crime vacuum has now opened in New York.
With other figures poised to make some power moves, the Big Apple has become a powder keg ready to explode. Its’ only hope: the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!
Amazing Spider-Man: Gang War First Strike #1 by Zeb Wells, Cody Ziglar, Joey Vazquez, Julian Shaw, Bryan Valenza and Joe Caramagna (MARVEL COMICS) prepares readers for what is sure to be a much-talked about event in the Spider-Man mythos.
Let’s take a closer look and see how things shape up for the upcoming battle, shall we?
*** POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING ***
The story begins in the Bronx. A Who’s Who of the Criminal Underworld is in attendance. Owl, Crime Master, Black Mariah, Hammerhead and Shang Chi lead the notable names.
The conversation sharpens as everyone appears to be making claims for Tombstone’s territories amongst others. Suddenly, a new player has emerged to the meeting: Janice Lincoln (Beetle).
Lincoln states her case for her father’s seat. Hammerhead leads the voices against this move. They claim Lincoln hasn’t earned it. He throws down a challenge for Janice to do.
If she completes it, she’s in. The mission: Kill Randy Robertson, who’s working with Mayor LUKE CAGE to repeal Wilson Fisk’s law outlawing superheroes in NYC.
All the while, Spider-Man (Peter Parker) is attempting to stop Slyde. Luckily he has help from another Spider-Man: Miles Morales!
Their conversation is more tense than expected as Miles addresses Peter’s disappearance months ago. With more guilt added on, Peter listens to Miles’ plea to help clean up Fisk’s mess.
Can Peter save the day? What of the future of Randy Robertson? Can Janice fufill the assignment?
At this stage, the opening salvos are thrown. The action speeds up as a choice is made that becomes the first domino to fall. Secrets are revealed as a major player makes a shocking debut.
What other actions was this figure behind? Who will align with them? With one thunderous strike, Spider-Man is forced to act quickly leaving readers with a last image that leaves no doubt war has been declared!
The writing of Wells and Ziglar wastes little time in setting up the key players upcoming conflict. Janice is written as a conflicted character. On one hand, she is wanting to rise in the ranks of he father. In another, the situation posed throws an internal conflict to her feelings. This is an easy connection to readers as Janice seems to be trying to find level ground to stand on throughout this issue.
The rest of the story plays out much like a great true crime tale. Readers see there is very little loyalty amongst thieves. This tension builds heading into the closing act.
The writers also throw a solid reveal in the mix which becomes a game-changer. Spider-Man’s time in the story also steps back to allow the other players ample time to set the event in motion. This leads to a superb final page which leaves readers excited to see what happens next.
The art of Vasquez and Shaw paces itself quickly throughout the issue. Hammerhead’s mannerisms play into the dirty deeds he’s pushing on the other criminals involved. His non-stop smirk amplifies his evil ways.
This plays into the reaction to Janice’s assignment. Once that resolution begins, Shaw’s art takes a more sinister look. This feel plays into a big moment in the book which becomes the catalyst for the upcoming war.
The art reflects the dangerous world this story is based in. Once the main villain explains their motives, readers see a superb visual breaking down each crime family stance after hearing another boss has fallen.
Even with the limited Spider-Man time, the art gives our hero enough time to become involved. This leads right into a closing image that leaves no room for mis-interpretation.
FINAL POINT: 8 OUT OF 10
The first die has been cast in a battle where New York City hangs in the balance. Strong writing of Wells and Ziglar light the match with solid visuals from Vasquez, Shaw and the team finishing the explosive start to the next big Spider-Man event fans will be talking about. You won’t want to miss this on New Comic Book Day.
Hit me up on ODPH social media and let me know your thoughts on Amazing Spider-Man: Gang War First Strike #1. Thanks for reading Parlay points on Nerd Initiative!