Alford Notes: Amazing Spider-Man Civil War II #4

asm-cwii-4-coverIt’s the final chapter in the Amazing Spider-Man’s Civil War II tie-in.  Did it make the grade or fail miserably?  Did Spider-Man actually show up this time?  Will this have anything to do with the big event of the year?  All these questions (and much more!) will be answered!


The Devil in the Details

Writer: Christos Gage

Artist: Travel Foreman

Colorist: Rain Beredo

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga

Cover Artist: Travel Foreman and Jason Keith

Editor: Nick Lowe

Published: September 14, 2016

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


Either he is adjusting his mask, or he had a very awkward face palm.

Picking right up where the last issue left off, Clash has had it with Spider-Man’s holier-than-thou attitude and proceeds to kick the crap out of him.  Spider-Man tries to even use a beefed up version of the same tech he used to take Clash down way back in that great early Lee/Ditko story – oh wait, way back in that point one series by Slott.  Clash easily destroys it.  In fact Spidey is only saved because Clash doesn’t really want to kill anyone and is pretty much at a loss for what to do next.

Enter everyone’s favorite villain – The Robot Master!  – and he then proceeds to pick up on the Spidey butt kicking.  Since this All New All Different Spidey is relatively ball-less, he calls on Clash for help, but Clash is just done with it all and leaves.  Spidey, realizes at last that he is the hero of the book, rips Stromm’s remote control out and saves the day.

Then we get an ending reminiscent to Return of the King (only in that the comic appears to be over, yet it keeps on going).  Spidey, Ulysses, and Harry Osborn Lyman have no luck finding Clayton, Spidey rescinds the job offer to Ulysses, and the Inhumans make their token appearance to take Ulysses away.  Spidey pledges all his support.  Spidey goes and hangs out with Captain Marvel and pledges his support, even if it means fighting other heroes (because that never goes poorly).  Then Spidey goes and hangs out with Ulysses at New Attilan.  Then we finally see that Clash is hanging out with his old hench buddies, but now he has tons of cash thanks to a generous unwilling donation from Roxxon and is going to be his own big boss.

What Passed:

Clash’s ending is rather nice (more on that later).

Foreman’s art is growing on me.  I still don’t care for it, but it wasn’t offensive to my sense and I actually rather like the way he draws the Stromm’s robots.

We are still getting pop culture references, but this one is different in that it is a sixty year-old reference.  Stromm mock’s Spider-Man’s pleas for Clash to return by making an allusion to the movie Shane.


That comes from this movie that my dad made me watch when I was a kid.  It is apparently a classic, but I didn’t like it then, and I still don’t appreciate it now other than the fact that it was a childhood favorite of my dad, so it warrants respect for that.  Here is the annoying kid ending that is so famous from this movie:

No wonder Shane left.

It is worth watching because there is a parody of it in the Batman ’66 series episode 25 when Batman faces the villain Shame (see what they did there).  True to form, a kid runs behind him yelling, “Come back, Shame!”  I couldn’t find a clip of it without having to buy the episode, so just replay the above clip and yell, “Shame!” whenever the kid says, “Shane!” and you’ll get the idea.



On a scale of 1 (POW) to 10 (BLRKBQRKPQRBLNB), this rates a 6.


What Failed:

I feel that Clash is a bit overpowered here. He easily takes out Spidey, but was having all sorts of problems with Robot Master earlier.  I don’t know if it should really count as a fail, but I am just tired of seeing an impotent Spider-Man – especially when with his new advanced technology, he should be tougher than ever before.

The ending was way too long.  I guess Gage felt like since this was supposed to be about Spidey’s decision to join Captain Marvel’s team that he had to get some panels in on that.  The whole Clash story could have easily been told without Ulysses and this whole Civil War bit feels out of place.

The art.  I said it was growing on me, but warts grow on people too; it doesn’t mean we like them.


Well, this is an event tie-in, but it does absolutely nothing to make me want to spend my money on the main event.  It’s over.  Gage did a great job telling a story.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a Spider-Man story, but it is a great story nonetheless.  Spider-Man’s decision to join up with Captain Marvel seems a bit forced.  There is really not enough going on in this story to warrant this decision to support it so much that he would fight other heroes for it.  Ulysses and Spider-Man stopped a few crimes.  They also ruined Clash’s life (sure he has to take responsibility for his own actions, but they really did have a hand in his downward spiral).   It was only just a few issues ago that Spider-Man realized that fighting other heroes was immature and caused more problems.


Is it just me, or does it look like Foreman took someone’s face and just drew eyes and hair on it?

Peter severs his working relationship with Ulysses.  He gives two reasons.  The first I felt was rather … less than … well, dumb.  Peter tells Ulysses that it wouldn’t be fair for him to have a person who can see into the future.  Fair?  Fair?  That’s akin to saying that it wouldn’t be fair that my corporation has more talented employees.  It’s not fair that my corporation has more money to spend on product research.  It’s not fair that I have buildings all over the globe, giving me access to markets that other companies don’t have.  The second reason is a bit better.  He says that mistakes are a part of the development process and not pursuing projects that Ulysses doesn’t see succeeding, takes away that mistake potential that often yields unexpected results. O.K., at least that has some logic to it.  Whatever the case, we no longer need to worry about Ulysses ever popping up in a Spider-Man comic.  That works for me.

He then goes into a responsibility lecture because, you know, do as I say, not as I do.

Clash’s ending, though, really piques my interest.  He just robbed Roxxon of their bribe money that was undeclared and tax-free.  It sounds like Clash is going to use his new gang to attack corrupt groups.  It reminds me of Leverage and I would love to see this “bad guy” group develop (in the background) in other titles doing bad things, but for good reasons (and profit, of course).  This would be a great moral dilemma villain for Miles, Silk, or some non-spider themed character.


Extra Credit:

It appears that the burglar (and Ulysses at times) suffers from macrodontia under the pencils of Foreman.  What is this ailment and can New U fix it when they bring him back?


Final Grade:

As mentioned before, it is a good story, but it is not truly a Spider-Man story and the Civil War II ending really took away from this.


aaRemove the CW II panels and tighten this up to two, three issues max, and you have a great story that could be remembered later in comic history.  As it is, it will be no more memorable than any of the Atlantis Attacks tie ins.

Your Turn:

What grade do YOU give it?


What’s Next?

Nothing!  Well, I guess you could start reading the main Civil War title, but I feel as if I’ve spent more money on CWII than I wanted to to begin with, so I’m out.


‘Nuff Said!

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(10) Comments

  1. Mark Alford - Post author

    Ha! That description is great! There was a problem with that and with posts automatically popping up on Facebook, but I think BD fixed it yesterday.

  2. hornacek

    Regarding Atlantis Attacks, I can barely remember anything about it (other than that it existed) so I looked it up in Wikipedia. That effort was worth it for this from the description: "The title itself is misleading, as Atlantis and its then-leader Attuma only play minor roles in the story as flunkies for the real masterminds: Deviant leader Ghaur and Lemurian super-villainess Llyra." So the crossover name is one big lie. --- Also, I haven't gotten any "subscribe to this thread" emails when I've posted here. Is there a problem on the site?

  3. Mark Alford - Post author

    @ Yvonmukluk - I never read Avengers Academy - thanks for pointing it out! @ Jack - I'm O.K. with it until we see Clash in a milk bath. @ Hornacek - I liked the old Shane reference too, even if the movie is a dud to me. That leg is a more modern pop culture reference - the stanky leg. I stand corrected - Atlantis Attacks is a hallmark of Marvel greatness. You made a believer out of me. @ Evan - I fixed the OOTI - thanks for pointing it out. The computer has a BSOD while posting the review and I lost somethings, but it was not in any particular pattern. I thought I found them all. A+ to you for the extra credit! It's amazing how much Spidey and crack cocaine is connected lately... @ Al - "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." - Solomon in 3rd century BC

  4. hornacek

    @Al I hope I'm not looking back at these comments a decade from now, thinking "We thought the state of Spider-Man comics was bad back then, we didn't know how good we had it in 2016. Who knew Slott would stay on the book for 10 more years?"

  5. Al

    "Spider-Man being forced into an out of character direction where he has to fight other heroes whilst going against common sense and all of his beliefs? My God, I've never seen this before!" -Me in 2006

  6. Evan

    Macrodontia = large teeth Can New U fix it? No, but crack cocaine can, I'm sure. What does BWHOOOM rate on a scale of POW to BLRKBQRKPQRBLNB? I think some of the OOTI assessment is missing from your post. Another great review, Mark!

  7. Hornacek

    Agree with everything you said about Shane. That movie was so boring, I hated that kid, and that "Come back, Shane!" seemed to go on forever. Skip Shane and see Pale Rider instead. It's the same story, it's a much better movie, and it's got Clint Eastwood as a preacher who (SPOILER) might already be dead (this seemed to happen in a lot in Eastwood westerns). That said, I liked the use of "Shane" as a pop culture reference. It still works years/decades later because it's an established thing. It's not using the flavor of the month, whereas Slott's "crazy town banana pants" and pokemon references are already dated. What is up with that Spidey drawing with the "HONK" and "RATTATAT" sound effects? I understand how perspective works, but his right leg looks like it's as thick as his waist. How DARE you badmouth Atlantis Attacks! It involved Atlantis, and they were attacking, and ... yeah, I got nothing.

  8. Jack

    Doesn't this seem like Black Cat redux? Reformed villain is hurt by Spider-Man; vows revenge by becoming a crime-boss.

  9. Yvonmukluk

    It's worth noting that Clash's line from the first image is one that I think Gage recycled from Jeremy Briggs, the antagonist of the oft-forgotten Avengers Academy series.

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