Alford Notes: Civil War II Amazing Spider-Man #1


csasm1-coverCIVIL WAR II: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1
I don’t know about you guys, but I am ready for this!  Spidey vs. half the heroes in the Marvel universe, a big major event, a new(ish) writer, and a lot hype.  Wait a minute, why is Spidey face palming on the cover????

 

 

 

The Devil in the Details

Writer: Christos Gage

Artist: Travel Foreman

Colorist: Rain Beredo

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga

Cover Artist: Khary Rhandolf and Emilio Lopez

Editor: Nick Lowe

Published: June 8, 2016

 

The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test

Spider-Man is fighting the Vulturions and defeats them with the greatest of ease.  We then see that a man named Ulysses is watching.  We time jump back a few hours to see Peter coming home to the Baxter Building after a late night flight from Shanghai with nothing on his mind except getting to bed.  Too tired to even turn on the lights, he just crawls in only to find a Johnny Storm in the bed who just happens to sleep dishabille*.  After a few awkward moments, Peter learns that he cannot go to sleep because he is scheduled to me Ulysses, the Inhuman who can see the future.  Ulyssess tells Spider-Man that they need to get to Chinatown to stop a murder.

Now caught up in the story, we move forward from the Vulturion fight to Chinatown where we get the murderer breaking in and Spider-Man swinging in to save the day.  Spider-Man then rewards the young Inhuman with a private tour of Parker Industries where he meets Harry Osborn Lyman and Clayton Cole who are for some strange reason working third shift despite being big wigs in the New York PI branch and then Ulysses has a vision that Clayton Cole will turn on Spider-Man.

Oh – I get the cover now!

Analysis –

I should probably mention that the only Civil War II stories I have read so far was the Free Comic Book Day Captain America issue.

cwasm1-nottrueWell, I didn’t get Spider-Man kicking half of the Marvel universe’s derrière.  Thank goodness we got the Vulturion fight.  The action is pretty sparse here and this certainly is a set up issue.  There are some ground rules applied to how Ulysses works that may be important to whole Civil War set up.  He doesn’t just see the future, he “experiences” it.  He also admits that what he sees does always (although normally does) come true.  I have a feeling that that there will be an important event that he gets wrong in the main Civil War issues that will cause them to not go with his abilities in the end.

Other than that, very little happens.  The tour of PI feels like a vol 4 101 course for people that are buying this issue for Civil War but aren’t buying the regular title.  However, it is such a dull point in the story that if I were not already buying the main title, this would not make me.  On the flip side, this does nothing to really move me to want to buy the other Civil War tie-ins or main title.

It does, though, set up plainly one of the reasons that Spidey will side with the group wanting to pre-emptively solve crime.  Ulysses got it right and Spidey barely saved the day.  If not for Ulysses warning Spider-Man ahead of time, those two people would be murdered.  The woman helped to rub in this point with talking about what a miracle it was.

cwasm1-miracle

The scene is like an anti-Five Minutes, which is a short story written by Peter David where Mary Jane guilts him into staying with her for just five more minutes when he wants to go chasing after sirens.  After a tense fice minutes, he leaves angry and gets to the fire only to see them pulling out a dead young girl.  The fireman said to him, “You’re too late.  If only you’d have gotten here five minutes sooner.”

I wish I could go into some deep insight about the writing or the art or anything, but I’m getting nothing from this issue.

What Passed –

When I started reading the comic, I was so excited to read the Vulturion fight.  Sure, who cares about the Vulturions?  I certainly don’t, but I love seeing Spidey in action.  I normally detest stories told in medias res**, but it really works for this one as the fight scenes were well written and drawn and by far the best part of this comic.  It felt like I was reading a 1980s comic and it was thoroughly enjoyable.

cwasm1-vulturions

The jokes and quips were handled well.  Johnny Storm sleeping naked in Peter’s room is, albeit awkward, funny.

cwasm1-nakedjohnny1

Try to avoid thinking what just got cropped out of this panel.

If that doesn’t warrant a spidey-sense tingle, I don’t know what should.  O.K., I know the some of you rolled your eyes when you saw this page, and you’re right.  It’s odd.  But I found it funny and this comic needs more things to make it interesting.  In fact, I think it should be a running gag in other comics where Johnny is free loading off of them and he pops up naked on other heroes’ couches and such.   The follow up reference later in the issue was equally funny.

cwasm1-nakedjohnny2

moustache2All that aside, I don’t care how good my friendship is with a buddy – that does not extend to him sleeping naked in my bed.  If I were Peter, I’d burn that pillow.

The mustache reference was nice as I could see that image so plainly in my head while reading.

And the colorist has a miscue that works much better than what it should have been.  She has the spider on his chest glowing blue, rather than green.  Now, it doesn’t make since for it to glow, but if it needs to, then blue matches so much better.  I like it so much better, that I’m offering a solution here – the glowing spider is made from the same material that mood rings from the ‘70s were and changes color depending on how the web head is feeling.

 

What Failed –

The plot.  I want to read a story, not a set up – especially at $3.99 a pop.  My fear (o.k., fear is a bit strong – how about my financial concern) is that each of these four issues will merely set up issues until the last one and that will be centered on Clayton Cole.  I wasn’t inspired to pick up his point issues the first time around and I’m loathe to pay for them now.

What the heck is going on in Peter’s mind?  Here he has a guy who is being looked at by the Avengers for stopping crime before it happens and he wants to offer him a job at PI in order to spot projects that won’t make it to market in order to save money?  I don’t care how he spins with their medical projects, this just seems greedy to me.

The art is odd.  Foreman has a rough style and it appears that he’s inked in lines that normally would have been erased in clean-up.  The faces are off (some quite literally – see below). The first time we see Peter, his head is some odd cone-like shape.  Much like Camuncoli, the costume scenes are fine, but the people scenes are off.  However, I can recognize all of the characters without someone having to say the name.

cwasm1-art

Speaking of saying the name, is Harry correcting everyone about his name part of a new Spider-mandate?

 

Extra Credit –

This is the new and improved Marvel Try-Out Book, folks.  Just draw in your own faces and hair for Ulysses and color in the Blue Man Group off to the right!

cwasm1-extracredit

Final Grade –

C-

Your Turn –

What grade do YOU give it?

 

What’s Next?

swasm2-previewUlysses made a shocking prediction that someone in Spider-Man’s life would turn traitor … and it isn’t who you’d expect! The folks at Parker Industries already had one mole in their midst, another could destroy everything Peter’s worked to build!  Good thing Peter’s got his old pal Harry Osborn by his side, right? … Right?

My thoughts on this preview – one mole?  That’s it?  The chief mechanic (and Parker girlfriend) fed information to Zodiac and tried to kill Spider-Man, Scorpio was lead stock investor, Sanjay betrayed him multiple times, the Living Brain is really Ock manipulating things, and even Anna is working on projects directly against Peter’s wishes.  It isn’t who you’d think?  I guess that means that it must not be anyone who has ever worked for PI?  Plus, someone needs to tell marketing that it’s Lyman – not Osborn!

 

 

*dishabille – unclad, naked, nude, unattired, starkers (for our British readers)

** in medias res – when the story starts in the middle 

(6) Comments

  1. Jason

    The one thing which stood out in this issue was Peter’s offer to Ulysses. This seems so uncharacteristic. The Peter we know isn’t out to be a millionaire and certainly doesn’t seem like the type to take advantage of someone’s ability for personal gain.

  2. Al

    I'm sorry, but is Peter really this situational? Is he really going to look at this one time he got there in time to save someone just before the stuff hit the fan and say yes this is a good idea nothing bad could happen and no miscarriages of justice could ever occur? Is he really going to forget basic logic, the law and his sense of responsibility over a few incidents like this?

  3. xonathan

    Nah don't worry. It's been on my nightstand for ever and I've been postponing to read it. Looking forward for your article

  4. Mark Alford - Post author

    @Chase the Blues Away - I agree that the lack of reasoning for the awkward moment hampers the impact, but in comparison to the blahness of the rest of the issue, I'll let it slide. @xonathan - read the story. I'm sorry to spoil it for you, but it is still a good read and shows how to do conflict in the Parer marriage - uh, I mean in the Parker committed relationship. I'm going to do a Cobwebs on this book in a few months, so get reading so I won't spoil anything else!

  5. xonathan

    Dude... I had just bought The Ultimate Spider-man novel and was waiting to read "Five Minutes" but now I don't have to read it. Good, because comic books have shortened my attention span with prose. :) Sounded like a sad story and I don't like sad

  6. Chase the Blues Away

    The Johnny thing could have been funny if there was any reason for ithe scene to be in the story. But it doesn't move the plot along, does nothing we couldn't get from the scene with the Inhumans. It's nothing but fanservice for Spidey/Torch (Sporch? Tidey?) shippers. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But the set up was so...stupid. Johnny is at the Baxter Building because Peter wants to spend time with Ulysses and Johnny is hanging with the Inhumans these days - but Johnny says he wasn't expecting Peter for hours. So why did Johnny arrive so early, especially if he was so tired?! He doesn't text, he doesn't send an email, he doesn't phone, just crawls into Peter's bed nude to sleep until Peter shows up?! That's not rational behavior in any universe, nor was it played as if it were a prank. I just hope Peter has a regular housekeeping service. I agree about Peter's offer to Ulysses - no matter how one tries to spin it as altruistic and benefitting humanity, it comes off as crass and skeevy. And by this point, who employed by Parker Industries ISN'T a mole/terrorist/saboteur?! Not at all impressed with this outing from Christos. Dialogue is better than Slott's - barely - but the plot is just as irrational and just as OOC as a Slott book. C- is exactly where I'd grade it, too.

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