Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #1 Review

Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #1
Writer: Christos Gage
Pencils: Travel Foreman
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: Joe Caramanga
Publisher: Marvel

Marvel’s new summer event comic, Civil War II has taken off and with that comes tie-ins of course.  Spider-Man, the most recognizable Marvel superhero played an integral part in the original Civil War comic, written by Mark Millar.  So it comes as a surprise to no one that with that combination that a tie-in with the wall crawler was close behind.

Tie-in comics should do what they’re defined as, a story that ties-in to the greater story, and while the start of this mini-series certainly does link itself to the main story, it’s far too contrived and meaningless to become invested in.

It case you didn’t know, there’s a new Inhuman in town named Ulysses who has the uncanny ability to seemingly predict the future.  This unsurprisingly causes a schism between the heroes of the Marvel Universe and a debate over how they should use his powers or if they even should use them at all.  So where does Spider-Man side amongst this conflict?

The comic opens with come high-flying action between the web slinger and the Vulture’s minions, the Vulturions in downtown Manhattan.  After taking down the cannon fodder, we learn that Ulysses has been tagging along with Spider-Man, as ordered by the Inhumans, so that he can teach him that with great yadda comes yadda yada you get the picture.

The biggest problem with this comic is that it comes off far too contrived and unnecessary.  It oozes with editorial mandate to create a story so that a Spider-Man tie-in series to Civil War II can be sold on the shelves.  We are never given any reason or excuse as to why it’s Spider-Man’s turn to look after Ulysses and no reason as to why he isn’t just staying with the Inhumans.  And when Peter is interacting with Ulysses, he comes off as a carpetbagger and opportunist.  It’s distasteful and makes the character unlikable.  The comic doesn’t progress the story or characters and the entire issue feels like as a waste of time.  As it’s not till the final panels when there’s a vague synopsis on what the conflict this mini-series will center on.

With an abundance of negatives there’s a few shinning positives fortunately.  Writer Christos Gage has had plenty of recent work on Spider-Man and collaborated with current Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott.  Therefore Peter’s dialogue comes off naturally and genuine.  There’s some good laughs and humorous moments, the highlight being the Peter Parker/Johnny Storm scene.  Again though, all those flashes of joy are bogged down by a pointless story that’s far too improvised to become invested in.

If you can stomach a bad story for some stellar art however, this might be a comic for you.  Penciler Travel Foreman’s work is well detailed and has a visually pleasing style.  It’s reminiscent and close to current Spider-Man artist, Giuseppe Camuncoli’s so it won’t be a jarring turn for regular Amazing Spider-Man readers.  Ulysses has a youthful innocence and uncertainty to him, someone who’s unsure of what to do or which direction to go.  I really like how they show Peter’s costume taking damage when on patrol, it’s a nice touch of reality that superheroes aren’t perfect and make mistakes.  Also the expressive facial expressions play in well to the humorous scenes.  Rain Berendo’s colors complement nicely with Spidey’s bright-colored costume when in contrasted to the shadowy night.  The use of the tech-updated costume really pop as well.

Final Verdict

Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #1 is an unfortunate misfire tie-in.  Christos Gage has proven in the past to be a talented writer and he does his best to make this an enjoyable read with its quippy humor.  However the story is too contrived and Peter’s response to the situation is too opportunistic to engage the readers.  It’s a meaningless tie-in that simply attaches a popular character to a popular event with no substance or reason to exist.  Regrettably, this is attached to some really stellar artwork but that’s not enough to save this comic.

Score: 2 out of 5

Review by Eric Bradach

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