Marvel Comics’ Review & Spoilers: Amazing Spider-Man 16.1 By Gerry Conway, Carlo Barberi, Juan Vlasco & Israel Silva

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Amazing Spider-Man 16.1

Gerry Conway, writer and the guy who killed Gwen Stacy

Carlo Barberi, penciler

Juan Vlasco, inker

Israel Silva, colors

16.1? I never really understood Marvel’s decimal numbering system. Seeing an issue of Amazing Spider-Man numbered 16.1 leads me to believe that it details some behind the scenes or supplementary stories for last week’s Issue 16. That’s not the case here though as this is a completely separate plot. Why not just call it Amazing Spider-Man: SPIRAL? Meh, anyway . . .

Numbering quibbles aside, this is a fairly straightforward Spider-Man in the midst of a gang-war kind of story arch. With The Kingpin out of the picture again, criminal bosses, both super and non-super, are maneuvering to fill the void. Based on the cover, five separate groups / individuals will be vying to become the new Kingpin of Crime. In this issue, we get arguably the least interesting of the five, Tombstone, kind of taking front and center.

Unfortunately for Tombstone though, he’s taken down before the gang war begins as the police and Spidey wrap him up thanks to some self-serving help from Mister Negative. The arrest comes at a price though as NYPD Captain Yuri Watanbe’s (a.k.a. The Wraith) friend and mentor is shot and eventually killed in the shootout. Thanks to a corrupt judge though, Tombstone is released, and Captain Watanbe vows revenge.

Part One ends with Spider-Man trying to keep Watanbe (as The Wraith) from going too far, but she’s clearly made her choice for now.

My Thoughts

The first couple pages make it clear this story is taking place in the days immediately following Spider-Verse. Unlike his battle with The Iguana in Issue 16 though, Peter shows no ill effects from having some of his life force drained by Morlun. In fact, he seems to be operating at 100%. Also, while Spider-Senses for all Spider-People were supposed to be diminished, again there’s no sign of that here. So much for any lasting consequences from Spider-Verse.

Supporting characters here are a rather mixed bag.   Some are mostly, one-dimension, stereotypes: By-The-Book-Police-Chief and Grizzled-Veteran-Cop. On the plus side though, working behind the scenes is Mister Negative, who might be one of the only good things to come out of Brand New Day, and one of the better recent additions to Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. Also, there’s plenty of The Wraith, which is good. I assume the “Spiral” mentioned in the series title is referring to her choice of avenging her mentor, rather than handling things in a more legal manner.

My Recommendation

A bit of a tough call. This book seemed too short for the normal $3.99 price tag. I do like the Wraith and the story of her moral dilemma. On top of that, I love a good old-fashioned Marvel Comics gang war story. Gerry Conway has a pretty good, straightforward tale going, but if you miss this, then you probably won’t be at a loss. On the other hand, more interesting villains will appear in future issues, to include The Circus of Crime . . . which as ridiculous as it may sound is what persuaded me to pick this series up in the first place

Personal Note

Happy belated Saint Patrick’s Day to all. March 17 is an especially lucky day for me because that’s the day I met my future wife.   For seven years this wonderful woman has always been there for me (and even accepted my geeky love of comic books.) Happy Anniversary Vicky.

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