Alford Notes: Civil War II Amazing Spider-Man #3

coverWill Clayton Cole betray Parker Industries?  Will Peter be able to assuage all of his adult angst?  Will Robot Master actually not be a loser this time around? They made us wait an extra two weeks to get these answers.  Was it worth it?  Read on to find out!


The Devil in the Details

Writer: Christos Gage

Penciler: Travel Foreman

Colorist: Rain Beredo

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga

Cover Artist: Travel Foreman & Jason Keith

Editor: Nick Lowe

Published: August 17, 2016

Quick Recap

The Inhumans have a guy who can see the future and he just told Spider-Man that Clayton Cole was going to use his Clash costume to beat the crap out of Spidey.  Cole, meanwhile just had the worst day of his life when Mendel Stromm, the Robot Master decides to offer him a chance to get rich by socking it to Parker Industries.  Clayton accepts the offer.

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

robot masterPeter is about as angsty as he’s ever been, sitting in his office worrying about how he drove Clayton away by not trusting him.  Harry does his best to console him. Meanwhile, Clayton shows up at Stromm’s house dressed for business.  However, Clash turns on Stromm’s robots only to find that they have been sonic proofed.  Clash gets his butterbean beaten all while causing lots of property damage (going to need superhero damage insurance).  Spidey swings in, quips a bit, and then beats the living crap right out of Stromm.  Clash in turns takes out all of the rest of Stromm’s robots by being smarter in how he uses his sonics.  Thinking they were good, Clash tries to celebrate with Spidey, but Sidey gets all holier-than-thou on him and tells him no more sonics ever.  Clash has had enough of that and blasts Spidey into the next issue.


Clash does his best Angry Michael Phelps

What Passed:

We have some good quips.  “We’ve met, right? I’m great with half faces, but with names…” plus a lot of old age jokes against Stromm.  Stromm and Clash, meanwhile, don’t fight for the punch line, which is a nice change from the main title.

I love the sound effects of Clayton’s suit.  When there is a noise already present, it amplifies it and we get that in the image.


There is a fight scene against Stromm that takes up most of the issue, which is nice to have once in a while.  Too often in the main title we get a build up for a fight that either fizzles out or takes place off panel.

OOTI (Onomatopoeia of the Issue)


On a scale of 1 (POW) to 10 (BLRKBQRKPQRBLNB), this rates an 8

What Failed:

spideycomicThe big reveal that Clash is really going to turn on Stromm instead of joining him was ruined by the cover, especially since last issue ended with a picture of this cover.  It should have been a good moment, but it fell short because of it.  After that, it’s the usual stuff – the art, while not as bad as Amazing Grace, is still messy.  It’s not too distracting in this issue, and maybe I’m just nostalgic for the old days when there was a set method for how they wanted the comics to look, but it just doesn’t appeal to me.  Again, this is not so much a Spidey comic as it is a Clash comic.  We got great character development from Gage last issue and the ideas started there finish here, but I want to read about Spider-Man.  Plus, as a mega event tie-in, this fails.  There is no real connection to Civil War II.  Sure, Ulysses tells Spidey that Cole is going to go all Clashy soon, but none of that is needed to make this story work.  In fact, Ulysses doesn’t even appear in this issue.  We could easily have gotten this whole story without a single Inhuman.  Also, there is no reference to anything happening in the Civil War – not even a newspaper headline in the background.  Don’t get me wrong – I have little interest in what is happening in the CW right now, but I would think that since we are slapping CIVIL WAR II on the cover, this would be a smidge about Civil War II.  The other weird thing that I’m not really sure I should put it in a fail is that at one point Spidey needs to go take care of Stromm, but is worried about leaving Clash in the hands of a couple hundred robots.  Clash looks over at him and says something to the effect of, “I need you to trust me!  Can you trust me?”  Felt a lot like the Mary Jane thing, except at least this time Spidey was going after the big bad guy himself.  Does it mean anything that the sae concept was used twice close together or just coincidence?  Editor oversight?  More than likely.  I’m not quite sure what the Spider book editors are really doing as part of their job editing the book.  Seems like that is something that should have been flagged.


This comic does progress Clayton’s story along and shows that Gage is a competent writer (even if it is a character that I don’t really want to spend $4 a month (or so) to read about).   Peter can’t seem to stop dumping on Cole.  He is all upset over not giving Clayton some benefit of the doubt and just after Clayton saves (or at least risks his life to do so) PI from yet another attack, he drops this on him.


This shows me Gage understands Peter as a character (the little bit that we get from him), but I still found it annoying.  Harry patting him on the back was a bit much.

All in all, it is a simple issue that really only lacks in the art and the subject matter.  Unfortunately for Gage, that will be enough for many readers to not see that he has good writing skills on display.

Extra Credit:

Foreman took the time to put names on these robots.  However, I don’t remember Stromm ever naming them before.  An extra bonus to you for figuring out what they mean and telling us in the comments section.

robotnamesI’ e got CYCL, LOGA, and GR3Y plus one other that looks like it starts with a B, but it is obscured.  Gage or Foreman is doing something clever here and I just didn’t get it.

Final Grade:

I this were the Clash Crawlspace, I’d give it a B+ (maybe even higher if I hadn’t paid $4 for it), but it’s not.  For every good the issue has, it has some negative.


Your Turn:

What grade do YOU give it?

Plus, what do you think?  Should Spidey have a nose so sharply defined in his profile?  Sure it adds a touch of realism, but I think I like the Voldemort look better.nose


What’s Next?

Civil_War_II_Amazing_Spider-Man_Vol_1_4_TextlessThe effects of Ulysses’ prediction are felt as CLASH ATTACKS SPIDER-MAN!


Wow.  That’s it for the blurb??  It appears that even Marvel Marketing isn’t too into this story.


‘Nuff said!

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(4) Comments

  1. Jack

    Thing is, Clash is a convicted felon. Him putting that suit back on is like a guy on parole being found with a loaded gun. So Peter's directive to Cole at the end were logical, even law-abiding.

  2. Evan

    Wow, good call on the X-Men love triangle, Calvin Ng.Mark, I love how you said, "...while not as bad as Amazing Grace..." I imagine many issues in the years to come will have that going for them, at least. It makes me wonder which will one day prove the exception. RRNCH!

  3. Calvin Ng

    Think Gage is alluding to the Love Triangle that once was great for the X-Men i.e. CYCL = Cyclops, LOGA = Logan, and GR3Y = Jean Grey. Could be wrong though.

  4. Cheesedique

    Clash would be a lot more interesting if they just let him be a villain already.And the whole Would-be Ally: "I need you to trust me!", Spidey: "Duh--Ok" has become the new Spidey lifts something heavy trope within the space of a month.

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