Amazing Spider-Man #39 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Zeb Wells, pencils by John Romita Jr., inks by Scott Hanna, colors by Marcio Menyz, and letters by Joe Caramagna. This is part of the Gang War event. Spider-Man and a team of heroes start to clear out the gang bosses who are warring across New York.
Now firmly within the throes of war, the plot becomes a matter of speed and ferocity. There isn’t time to settle in and have prolonged fights with individuals. Instead, the plot is moving thick and fast, showing the gravity of the situation and the spread of the crime wave. It also shows the players involved on the side of the heroes and signs of the scale of the villains. But the rapid pacing also means that moving through the groups will lead to a quick turnover, and not all those involved will have their claim to power for very long. But the nature of this gang war means that if a power vacuum opens up, there is someone there to take their place. It adds fluidity and instability to an already volatile story.
Characters are crawling out of the woodwork to attack one another, making plays against territory whilst the heroes try to battle them and protect the civilians in the middle. Alliances are made that can only lead to disaster or could be what it takes to bring the war to a close. Even with all the chaos, the story is very easy to follow due to taking the territories one at a time and splitting them off. And the first glimpses of the action are phenomenal. At first, it appeared that Gang War would purely be a street-level conflict, featuring gangsters and superheroes that aren’t extremely powerful. Whilst that is the case to start, a host of different beings and powers are being drawn into the conflict, creating a hodgepodge of potential appearances.
Amazing Spider-Man #39 has a lot of characters throughout the book, and this is barely a glimpse at what the crossover will contain. Even within this issue, Wells is controlling the cast beautifully. The walls of the issues are open, allowing characters to enter and leave when they like into their own tie-ins. The book feeling like a piece of a puzzle is helping because it’s not compacted into one story. The comic also benefitted by being bumper-sized, giving the carnage room to breathe.
The characters are all given moments to express their personalities. Spider-Man rarely gets a chance to lead a group like Captain America but is doing an excellent job at trying. But his teammates aren’t all cozy with the man, especially Miles. Spider-Woman is also grouchy, and there is a feeling that many of them want to break off and settle personal grudges. Additionally, the individual gang leaders get to display their voices. Many of them have made alliances or are working with a group in order to gain power, giving weight to each claim to power.
The art uses the talents of one of the most famous names in comics, one who is extremely comfortable with illustrating chaos. New York has fallen into an onslaught of violence, and Romita is superb at displaying those skirmishes. It’s an art style that could be off-putting to some, but it is undeniably iconic. Many of the characters and costumes look phenomenal, some visible in this style for the very first time. Although, there are a few, such as Spider-Woman, where the proportions look strange. Romita’s method of drawing faces sometimes works better in frantic and distressing moments, as the panic looks intense. And when someone is beaten or injured, The artist makes sure to turn their faces into a gory mess, showing the consequence of damage and violence.
The colors are certainly interesting, blending natural tones with the inevitable vibrancy of a superhero comic. The burning city is prominent, with the orange flames often visible in the background. There are a lot of red characters, which are brighter than the fire, as well as other tones from heroes and villains alike. But aside from those, the colors match that of New York buildings at night, dark and gloomy. The lettering is clean and effortless to read.
Amazing Spider-Man #39 is controlling the chaos. This event has unleashed its full power, with heroes and villains everywhere in a power struggle that stretches over an entire city. And yet, with everything erupting, the story is captivating and keeps the exposition from overloading. It’s clear what is necessary for that scene and for the story at that particular point. Anything else can wait, or it’s moved to a tie-in. The cacophony of noise is actually a symphony being led by a calm composer. When it comes to experience, this is a creative team with acres of it, especially the art team.
Amazing Spider-Man #39 is available where comics are sold.
Amazing Spider-Man #39
Amazing Spider-Man #39 is controlling the chaos. This event has unleashed its full power, with heroes and villains everywhere in a power struggle that stretches over an entire city. And yet, with everything erupting, the story is captivating and keeps the exposition from overloading.