“And trust me, there’s no one who has less faith in him than him.”
Yeah, I know I’m a week late. That’s on me. But this comic’s on Marvel.
My jokes are terrible.
Civil War II: The Amazing Spider-Man #2
Writer: Christos Gage
Pencils: Travel Foreman
Inks: Travel Foreman
Colors: Rain Beredo
Editor: Nick Lowe and Devin Lewis
Today we see Spider-Man fighting off against Quintronic Man. (I smell editorial mandate. Cuz Crossover time, said Quesada.) We learn that Spider-Man is a bit more competent than Slott would have us believe, taking out the Quintronic and preventing New York from exploding. After he congratulates Ulysses, they head back to Parker Industries. (You’re still here?! You’ve ruined the comic for me!) After we watch Peter and Ulysses talk about Clayton Cole, we then cut to Clayton himself, who is about to have the single worst day a human being can experience. His parents are still rude to him, his girlfriend breaks up with him, and he soon learns that Spider-Man and Ulysses are spying on him because of the vision Ulysses experienced. As if that doesn’t get any weireder, his old henchman buddy is the single person who seems to even give one about his well-being. (It’s almost like we’re in a Marvel event. Weird.) Clayton, fed up with everybody constantly breathing down his neck (Finally, somebody I can relate to!) decides to learn what Spidey and Ulysses are saying about him. Spidey catches him and Clayton disproportionately overreacts, quitting and going off to drink with his old gangsta buddies. (Because when you’re angry, alcohol is always the solution!)
Clayton is then approached at the bar by Mendel Stromm. (Oh yeah, remember him? Because it’s been forever since I’ve heard even Wikipedia talk about him.) Stromm offers him a deal, and while Peter remorses his choice of words wth Clayton, the former con puts on a new Clash costume (and shaving no less! Boy, what a role model!) and asks Tinkerer how fast he can expedite his gear shipment. (Wait, don’t you already have sonic gear? You were just using it in ASM #3!)
I know somebody’s going to shoot me down, but… I really like this issue.
Sure, Peter doesn’t really have a big role in it and it mostly focuses on Clayton, but for the most part, it’s actually very well put together and well-written, especially coming off the heels of Slott’s most recent work.
Mark said I could elaborate further on the art. And I suppose I should. It’s not necessarily bad in form, but it still suffers drastically from the same problems that I talked about previously. While the form itself and the action is all done very well with a good use of motion blur on Travel Foreman’s part, sometimes it gets a little too hectic, especially during places where characters are usually static in movement but have motion occurring. The problem lies in that Foreman’s ink lines are a bit too thin and he tries to compensate with quantity over dimension.
Foreman also seems to suffer in a massive overuse of cross-hatching and shadow. Where lines don’t need to be or could just be easily given shadows in something like rigging in Adobe Photoshop, he constantly overuses cross-hatching to create an illusion of shadow. And this is where his line work also comes back to nip his butt, since the thin lines always make the shadows, which are somehow always black instead of just a darker tone of the color he’s shading, and this is really off-putting. Sometimes Rain Beredo does do the darker tones for shadows, and the random shift between the two formats is jarring in some aspects.
For reference of a slightly biased preference on my end, here’s one of my drawings of recent vintage. It’s of my current drawing style.
Notice how I prefer drawing characters with distinct, clean lines and small patches of shadow that are just enough to give a sense of dimension. Foreman’s lines are patchy and seem to try and compensate for thinner lines, but just doesn’t seem to look right in my eyes. Maybe it’s just the anatomy is that of a My Little Pony: Equestria Girls sequel, but from an artist’s perspective, it just seems to fall into Uncanny Valley territory.
The writing, on the other hand, is a much needed update from some of the work I’ve had to read previously during my tenure on this site.
For once, we have characters that we can relate to, and a flowing narrative that doesn’t really rely on contrivances and Slott-ex-machinas to maintain a sense of progression in the story, as well as a fitting character analysis. Unfortunately, the story should be about Peter, not Clayton, and as much as I enjoyed analyzing Clayton as a character, it doesn’t make me worry about Spider-Man’s involvement in the main event (which has been delayed beyond any reasonable length of time) or explain how he gets dragged into the conflict.
That said, Gage’s character analysis of Clayton is well done, showing that because of a screw-up, Clayton’s life has turned into a living hell. It’s a sad day when Peter does regret his accusations and inability to acknowledge context for Ulysses’ visions, and this does not reflect in the main book. Clayton is relatable to a lot of ex-cons and has a lot of real-life reflected in him, that only his former cohorts are the only ones who understand him. In this, I see a lot of heart put into Gage’s work that shows he understands how the real world works.
Were this Clash’s own miniseries, I’d probably say that this was A worthy material. But unfortunately, as I already stated, this is supposed to be a Spider-Man story and explain how he gets dragged into Civil War. And in that respect, it does tend to falter, as it does with art, but it does pick up with well-written characters and a cohesive, self-contained story that does make me want to pick up the next issue.
Final Grade: B+