Amazing Spider-Man #41 is published by Marvel, 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. The Kingpin has returned to New York to talk with Tombstone as both their children fight for territory.
With all the chaos around the crossover, this issue brilliantly uses a parallel story to narrow and intensify the plot. In one location are the older characters. Kingpin and Tombstone have an old-school gangster showdown, flanked by Hellfire soldiers, Spider-Man, Typhoid Mary, and She-Hulk. Elsewhere, The Rose and the Beetle have a brawl of their own with individual alliances there too. There’s nervous energy, to begin with, constantly threatening to teeter off the edge into pure violence.
Kingpin has been away from New York for a while, but with him comes a sea of danger and fear. When the violence erupts, it happens in both places and is phenomenal. The variety in characters makes the battles unique to each location. The pacing is rapid but allows the symmetrical stories to breathe in their own space. The actual story isn’t advanced as far, nor as quickly, but it felt richer than previous chapters. The menace and the danger of the crossover rise when the characters that actually know how to wage war land in Manhattan. Many aren’t appearing for the sake of it. They have a connection and a reason to be there. Amazing Spider-Man #41 features some drastic surprises, highlighting the ruthlessness that Wells possesses.
The characters and the dialogue between them are fantastic within the story. The most improved figure is the protagonist, Spider-Man. Where he was overly grum and rather dull in the first issues of the crossover, now he joins in with the fun more. His connection and banter with She-Hulk are brilliant, being the only true heroes within this group of crooks, gangsters, and outright murderers. Parker isn’t back to his wise-cracking best, but it’s much better than before. She-Hulk is a marvelous and powerful inclusion, containing unrivaled confidence beneath that jade skin. She knows how powerful and amazing she is and does not try to hide that belief.
But, yet again, the villains steal the show. Two old and experienced men hold a meeting, both with an unwillingness to back down and admit defeat. Maybe either leader would bow if it was just about money or land. But this is also about protecting their children, which means that a truce can never be accomplished. Their offspring appear to have not just inherited their fathers’ pride and thirst for power but magnified it. Beetle has a squad of powerful and capable partners and is growing much more confident in herself, whilst Rose is cooler and more calculated. The other notable inclusion in the comic is Typhoid Mary, who is an absolute wildcard. She’s flirtatious and dangerous in the same breath, and the enmity that is building between her and She-Hulk is hilarious.
The art is incredible. Romita Jr and Hanna reach new heights within the aries as two enormous figures go toe-to-toe. The brawl between Kingping and Tombstone is the main event, with other skirmishes around them in the scene and other parts of the city. Fisk and Lincoln just go for each other in a remarkably visceral exchange of blows. They bite, headbutt, and go for the nuts. They leave nasty injuries on each other, displaying the vicious nature of the comic. Around them is just as much chaos as Spider-Man and She-Hulk take on Typhoid Mary and her minions.
She-Hulk may be much stronger, same as Spider-Man, but they are outnumbered, and Mary can inflict huge amounts of pain. Then, with Beetle, things are just as bizarre and intense. The Rose brings the Digger, an undead creature, to his side to battle, and his design is gloriously disgusting. Beetle has Electro and Lady Octopus backing her up, leading to adaptations of classic costumes. All the fights are held within tight, enclosed spaces, reducing the chance of escape and cramming all of those bodies together.
The colors are amazing and pivotal to the storytelling. The visuals are what influence emotions. When Tyhpoid burns her enemies, that intense orange and red is really startling and seems to fully encompass the body. Similarly, the blood streaming down the faces of Tombstone and Kingpin is a demonstration of how far they’re willing to go. There is a lot of green in the comic, but Digger has a sickly tone that causes revulsion. The lettering not only maintains control within so much carnage, but the variety in sizes and SFX is extremely dramatic.
Amazing Spider-Man #41 is the best issue of Gang War so far. It puts distance between the generations whilst determining their similarities. The fathers are just as violent and thuggish as their children, but there is a clear love and sense of protection that Kingpin and Tombstone feel for their progeny. The fights were brutal and brilliant within an unrelenting issue where the art has well and truly stepped up. It is these battles that will change the power struggle within the war, with real authority stepping in now.
Amazing Spider-Man #41 is available where comics are sold.
Amazing Spider-Man #41
Amazing Spider-Man #41 is the best issue of Gang War so far. It puts distance between the generations whilst determining their similarities. The fights were brutal and brilliant within an unrelenting issue where the art has well and truly stepped up.