“Took me a long time to get used to it.”
Civil War II kicks off conveniently in time for Civil War: The Movie, and Ulysses gets visions that will really make no sense.
Civil War II: The Amazing Spider-Man #1
Writer: Christos Gage
Pencils: Travel Foreman
Inks: Travel Foreman
Colors: Rain Beredo
Editor: Nick Lowe and Devin Lewis
Not-Slott-Plot (Thank God):
Our issue starts off right off in the middle of the action. Peter is fighting the Vulturions (Combaticons, merge into Bruticus!) and he defeats them because he’s competent. (I shouldn’t be surprised by this. Why am I surprised by this?) We learn that the entire thing was watched by Ulysses, the new Inhuman who can experience possible futures.
The comic then jumps back two hours at the Baxter Building, where Peter has just arrived from Shanghai (Almost like he belongs here) to get some sleep. (All of these apartments Peter has makes me ask whatever happened to his Tribeca apartment. I liked that one) However, when he gets in bed, he awakens next to Johnny Storm naked. (First off, nude joke. Hurr hurr hurr. Second off, how did Johnny get in there?) Johnny explains that it’s Peter’s turn to work with Ulysses (see the first paragraph), who has had a vision in Chinatown with the Royal Family (Inhumans. As big of a fad as Orange Crush Poptarts!)
So after stopping a murderer from killing his ex and her significant other, Peter and Ulysses head back to the Spider-Cave(-I-mean-Parker-Industries) so Peter can offer Ulysses a job at Parker Industries to forecast usable technologies. (Because if there’s one memorable trait about Peter Parker, it’s his blinding greed!) Ulysses points out that he hasn’t even graduated college yet (I’m pretty sure you need one of those degree things to get a job with most major corporations, but then again I work out of my home), and Peter waves it off, introducing him to Harry (Osborn/Lyman, cast your votes here). He also introduces him to Clayton, who has been working on improving SHIELD’s flying car tech with sonics. (Okay… that car is pretty cool. I’ll be honest, we should be hating it, but let’s be real, we would all buy one.) Spidey and Ulysses leave to Peter’s office, and Ulysses experiences a vision of Spidey and Clash fighting, closing our issue.
I know what I want to say. I want to say it’s the worst comic in the world, and that it doesn’t deserve another issue.
But I can’t really say that while being honest. Because it’s good. Not great, but good. I actually kind of enjoyed the setup for Civil War, but I’ll discuss that in a bit.
The first plus for me was the standard cover art. Something about the cartoony nature reminds me of the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon only more streamlined and adult, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy something in that style of art. Khary Randolph really hit it out of the park with this one and that was one of the things that gave me some reason to read it.
The interior art is hit or miss. Travel Foreman suffers from the same problem as Camuncoli, that he can draw masked people just fine, but he has a tendency to draw clunky faces. His lines are also a bit sketchier in some panels, and his hair seems a bit too clumped. He also suffers from drawing humans like Slenderman, often making them taller at the expense of a significant amount of width. When he does action scenes or wide panels that don’t focus on a single person, however, he truly shines. The sketchy lines he draws work great in the action environment, but while the figures themselves are awkward, the action is still drawn relatively well in comparison.
The writing is even okay. It’s practically evidence that whenever Gage isn’t trying to leash Slott in, he can actually write something decent. It’s a nice refresher from constant Globe-trotting Peter to see him back home and doing some actual crime-fighting rather than fighting a terrorist organization or proclaiming his atheism. I dunno, the simplicity of Spidey fighting the Vulturions and then fighting some crime kind of just gets to me considering the massive scale we’ve been getting from the Slott-fest. While Parker Industries is still kind of a groan, but they do handle it nicely and show Peter genuinely trying to handle his company with some dignity, unlike Slott!Peter, who seems as determined as possible to make it fail. While his sudden greed moment took me out, it wasn’t issue-shattering.
The major problem, however, is one that Mark gave a very good lip service to: this issue is basically set-up for both later issues and Civil War II. Granted, there comes a decent silver lining to this flaw. At the very least, it appears to be self-contained, seeing as we haven’t heard jack regarding Clash’s role in Civil War II. I’ve run across many a franchise that have relied on supplementary material to exposit everything in that material as opposed to explaining in the actual product. Halo 5: Guardians and Destiny both suffer from this as they have no context going in as to who the protagonist is or what they’re doing, taking out two of the five major story elements. This at least has it’s own small micro-universe where not much outside of the catalyst leading up to this event is outside of the ongoing. And for current-day Spider-Man, that is a very large feather in the cap.
For once, I actually enjoyed reading Spider-Man this year. The art may have been cringey in places, but for the most part, Gage was able to entertain, and because he wasn’t having to rein in Slott, he was able to present something enjoyable that serves as a decent set-up for Civil War II, but suffers from editorial mandate when this could have been a decent Spider-Man story without the editorial necessity. I can faithfully give this issue a…
Final Grade: B