The last issue of this tie-in was the best one of the bunch, but can Christos N. Gage and Travel Foreman continue the streak? Is it good?
Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #2 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? The official Marvel summary reads:
Ulysses made a shocking prediction that someone in Spider-Man’s life would turn traitor… and it isn’t who you’d expect! The folks at Parker Industries already had one mole in their midst, another could destroy everything Peter’s worked to build! Good thing Peter’s got his old pal, Harry Osborn by his side, right? …Right?
Why does this book matter?
This is one of those conundrum type plots where it’s not clear if the chicken came before the egg or vice versa. Gage properly introduced Spider-Man and Ulysses’ relationship in the last issue with the big reveal that an old foe would make his return. That sent Spidey in a panic since the guy is on his payroll. This issue delves deeper into Clayton’s life effectively explaining how a man who turned it all around could go bad.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
That is a beauty of a page.
And it thoroughly succeeds! Gage opens us to Clayton’s parents (who probably sucked to begin with considering he became a supervillain), his love life, and even his co-workers. We get to read in between the lines with the pressures from his parents, but also subtle things going on in his day to day life at work that edge him in the direction of becoming a baddy. Gage does a good job balancing the more obvious motivators and the subtle ones. This all builds to a believable turn to the dark side. The fact that Spider-Man even talking to Ulysses is what spurred it on gives the issue a philosophical tilt that is interesting to chew on.
It’s not all Clayton though, as Gage gives us some wickedly fun Spider-Man action in the opening pages. It works to cue us into what happened before, but also how Ulysses can save lives when used effectively. This further reminds us the civil war that’s brewing harbors effective arguments for both sides. Some might argue this tie-in isn’t necessary, but I think it is because it allows Spider-Man to learn first hand that the ability of Ulysses maybe shouldn’t be used regardless of the outcome.
I blame T Swift for everything!
The art by Foreman is quite good and I particularly like how he draws the characters outside their costumes. The thin pencil work gives Clayton an extra sense of weakness and vulnerability that suits the story. Spidey has just the right amount of bendability and he looks good too. The colors by Rain Beredo help add to him too, especially the glow in his eyes. The biggest win by the art team is Clayton’s emotional outbursts. He comes off as a man on the edge and when he snaps you feel a bit for him. It helps that when he’s getting dragged through the mud you can relate to his pain.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It’s a wordy comic that’s for sure and you’ll need to hunker down to read it; the slower pace made bits here and there a bit of a slog to get through, but overall it’s a great experience.
Love those glowing eyes.
Is It Good?
So often comic books have good guys turn back with the flip of a switch and barely any explanation or build up. This is turning out to be a great delight for those of you frustrated with that experience. Gage and Foreman are delivering an effective and believable take on the good guy going bad story. There’s a lot of value here too as the issue takes a while to read and is fascinating to read as we dig deep inside Clayton Cole’s head.