“What if my being in that fight could turn the tide of the fight?”
Spidey has nightmares and debates the ethics of Civil War II! With special Netflix guest stars!
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
ARTIST: Nico Leon
COLOR ARTIST: Marte Gracia
LETTERER: VC’s Cory Petit
COVER ARTISTS: Sara Pichelli & Jason Keith
TITLE PAGE DESIGN: Nicholas Russell
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Devin Lewis
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
STORY: Miles has a dream about the Hulk smashing. His parents can’t sleep either as they discuss the private investigator Gloria hired. Unable to fall back asleep, Miles goes on patrol and comes across Bombshell stopping a crime. They have a heart to heart about current events in the 616. Miles later falls asleep in school and when he goes outside for air he encounters Marvel’s Luke Cage and Marvel’s Jessica Jones.
THOUGHTS: She might not be on interiors again this issue, but Pichelli is present for this issue’s cover, providing a somber look at the titular hero. The bold Civil War II on the cover lets us know Miles is torn up about the event. As a reader, I wish it was over, not extended an issue with its delays causing shipping schedule rifts across the line, but what’re you gonna do in this, the Marvel Age of Unending Events?
Speaking of said event, Bendis opens the issue in an epic James Bond/Indiana Jones style pre-title sequence with Miles surrounded by the ruins of the city, presumably dead heroes scattered about haphazardly. There’s no reference as to when this is occurring, but I had a hunch it was a dream, a hunch that proved to be correct in just a few pages.
Dream or not, Nico Leon provides some great layouts and a very effective two page splash of a Hulk lumbering toward a petrified Miles, with a ripped apart Iron Man in one of his hands. Leon’s art makes it easy to believe in Miles’ fear, even after he wakes up screaming.
Cutting over to Brooklyn, Rio and Jefferson are laying awake in bed, with recent worries keeping Rio up. Bendis demonstrates just how well the two know each other as Jefferson can tell her mood by her ticks. Bendis writes their relationship well and Nico once again sells their emotions with his pencils. If this is a fill in, this team is really gelling. Rio recounts her run in with Jessica Jones and Jefferson asks if Jones was a mutant, recalling back to when Jefferson seemed to have something against those with abilities back at the beginning of Miles’ tenure as Spider-Man. I had to laugh when Jefferson implored Rio to stop talking to her mother, who thankfully doesn’t make an appearance this issue. It was sad to see none of their worry wash away by the end of the scene, with the couple sleeping at opposite ends of the bed facing away from each other.
Miles and Lana catch up as they fight crime. I’m not sure who they’re fighting, but they have both Hydra and what looks like Goblin Nation tattoos. I loved how Lana and Miles don’t break stride in their conversation as they deal with the gang. For the first time, I really do buy that everything is getting to Miles.
Not being the most conscientious of heroes, I liked how Miles pointed out the absurdity of Bombshell blowing up a van to stop a simple robbery caused by non-powered criminals to her. Still, it’s her attitude that allows her to give Miles the advice that maybe he should stay out of the impending conflict. Tony Stark asking Miles and the sociopolitical ramifications of that aside, what this internal conflict boils down to is just the age-old Spider-Man dilemma of having power and the responsibility to use it appropriately.
Miles is very torn by this conflict. So much of what could happen is just variables and possible futures. Is Bendis going meta when Miles asks “what if?” over and over? Lana points out it’s a rich, white dude asking him to do something. When the subject of profiling came up in an earlier issue, the subject of race/ethnicity was very much on his mind, but in this instance he defends Stark, calling him a “good dude”. Whilst I’m not sure if Tony is a “good dude” when it comes to these Marvel Civil Wars, he is someone that Miles is awestruck by, and Miles certainly doesn’t want to let Iron Man down. Plus, being in a reality now with his predecessor still around in the suit, I would imagine he feels an extra level of pressure worrying what Peter would think and if continuity is still the same, the last time a Spidey joined Team Iron Man it didn’t exactly go well for the one wearing the webs.
Back at the Brooklyn Visions Academy, Bendis, I mean, Miles’ teacher, is lecturing about authors and their perspectives, how two people experiencing the same thing can have totally different conclusions based on prior events in their lives. The meta lecture gets interrupted by a wad of paper flicked into Miles’ gaping, drooling mouth by Ganke. Miles gets kicked out when he wakes up screaming about the Hulk, fortunate that he didn’t snap the desk like Ultimate Peter Parker. He switches to his Spidey togs as he tries to calm down his anger towards Ganke for getting him in trouble. On the roof, the moment Miles has been dreading comes when he gets the call from Iron Man, a call interrupted by Netflix’s rising stars, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Miles seems a little boyish in his posturing as he sits down to take the call compared to how Pichelli has been rendering him for this series, an effect that is heightened by Luke and Jessica looming over him in the story’s final panel.
I enjoyed the issue just fine the first time I read through, however I did have a few interruptions during it. I got a lot more pleasure out of it the second time, where I could slow down and take in the story and art. I see that Leon is back again for the next issue and I am VERY okay with it. His style suits the book well and he and Bendis seem to collaborate effortlessly together based on the final product. I may be waiting for this event crossover to be over, but Bendis provides a quiet, introspective tie-in to the main series, giving the characters’ doubts and motivations a chance to breathe.
MY GRADE: A
JAVI’S HUH?: Given how threatening Luke Cage and Jessica Jones come off and how startled Miles is, their arrival doesn’t set off his Spider-Sense?