Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #576

 Posted: 2008
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)

Story 'Gangsta Trap!'

As Spidey is incapacitated, Hammerhead tells Anthony and Harold they must join Mr Negative – and then the other city gangs will fall in line too. At that moment, the floor in the apartment collapses. Spidey manages to get out with both Anthony and Harold. His jaw is aching and, later, he discovers his pockets have been picked by the duo – including his tracers.

At home the next morning, Peter is battered and tells Vin he was researching a piece on gangs – but got too close to the action. At Front Line, Peter tells Ben Mr Negative is recruiting gang member. Ben allows Norah to try to find a gang member who will speak.

Elsewhere, Hammerhead is getting patched up by one of Negative's helpers. Negative says some gangs have already come into the fold as word spreads.

Peter follows the tracers and he and Norah stumble across Harold. He says his brother has been taken by Hammerhead, who wants to meet in some train yard. Peter abandons Norah and goes off. At the yard, it is a set-up by Anthony, who is waiting for Spidey with guns and goons aplenty.

Spider-Man manages to talk them out of shooting him – but then Hammerhead shows up. Spidey unleashes some webbing, then gets the upper hand by disproving his earlier theory that a dislocated jaw is worse than a dislocated hip. He hits Hammerhead in a weaker spot – his hip. Norah meanwhile gets the story of Spider-Man breaking up Hammerhead's private army.

As they dissect their front page, Norah tells Peter she'll let him take her out for dinner.

General Comments

As with the last issue, another coincidence – the floor falling through – is a big part of the story. Without that happening, would Spider-Man have escaped on his own? I just think that when you start building stories and incidents on coincidences, it's simply because you couldn't come up with a better idea.

Secondly, over the last year or so, in New Avengers – Marvel's flagship book at the moment – The Hood has spent his time building up the gangs to work for him. So who are these gangs Hammerhead is apparently targeting?

Also, as with the last issue, we were told BND was to bring forward new ideas. But a NYC Gang War has been done before in Spider-Man – a few times!

Throughout the entire first issue, we were told the importance of this being a new Hammerhead – a new fearsome opponent instead of the constantly-beaten villain he was before. Yet, by the end of this issue, he's back to the same status he was before. So, what's the point?!

My final gripe is the willingness of both Ben and Peter to put Norah in harm's way. No sooner has Vin given Peter a talk about how dangerous gangs can be, than Peter is leaving Norah in the company of a guy who not long previously had picked his pockets. A guy whose gang had just been run over by Hammerhead the previous night and was clearly involved in trouble. Would Peter, or anyone for that matter, really leave a vulnerable young journalist in such a dangerous position? And that's not to even mention Ben allowing her to do the assignment. First he told them what a mess the city was in after Kingpin was deposed and the gangs ran wild – then he sends Norah out into the middle of it! Why wouldn't he go himself?

All that said, there are some nice bits. Joe Kelly's dialogue is again good. And the inner voices of Pete being shown on his shoulder was a quality moment.

Overall Rating

Nice touches – but the bad outweighs the good so heavily, it's just too tough to overlook.

 Posted: 2008
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)