Civil War II ASM 1

Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #1 came out on Wednesday, which gave Marvel fans an opportunity to see how everyone’s favorite wall crawler reacted to the Inhuman prognosticator at its core.  It is safe to say that writer Christos Gage offered more intrigue in a single issue than ASM writer Dan Slott in months.

Here is what you need to know for Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #1:

  • Peter Parker lands in New York City after a long flight from Shanghai. He crawls into bed at Parker Industries headquarters to take a quick nap and is shocked to find Johnny Storm — naked. He tells Johnny to put some clothes on or “flame on” so he can turn around. The Human Torch reminds Peter that he is scheduled to spend time with Ulysses, the Inhuman who can see and “experience” possible futures.
  • Spider-Man takes down the Vulture and the “Vulturions” over New York City. Ulysses is with the hero.
  • The two men make their way to Chinatown and stop a rage-filled man who was going to murder his ex-girlfriend.
  • Spider-Man tells Ulysses that if he hones his power, then he can help Parker Industries narrow down projects that will make it through the research and development phase — and therefore help a greater number of people.
  • Ulysses takes a tour of Parker Industries and meets Harry Osborn  **cough**Lyman**cough** and Clayton Cole.
  • Ulysses tells Spider-Man that Clayton Cole, aka Clash, will likely revert to his old ways. The Inhuman tells Spider-Man to prepare for an attack.

As I mentioned in the comments section of my review for Civil War II #1, there is incredible danger in fully embracing a man who only sees possible futures. Ulysses actually admits in the issue that his predictions “almost” always come true, but not 100 percent of the time.

What if, simply by allowing doubt to creep into his mind over his employee’s integrity, Peter Parker inadvertently plants the seeds for Mr. Cole’s recidivism?

What if Ulysses is unknowingly a harbinger of doom that can only transpire if heroes alter the “future-dominos” for him?

These are all very interesting questions, the kind of which are sorely lacking in The Amazingly Immature Spider-Man these days.

Clayton Cole Cvil War II ASM 1

Perhaps the only odd note the issue hits is the opportunistic way that Peter latches onto Ulysses and his ability. He rightly tells the young man that he can probably use his powers to affect more lives than he realizes, but the moment is ruined with a hasty job offer at Parker Industries. Readers want to believe Peter is not exploiting the situation, but it’s hard not to wonder given how petty and immature the character is under Slott’s direction.

Overall, if you’re looking for a book that gets the Civil War II ball rolling, then check out Christos Gage’s work. His effort also serves as a good audition for the role of lead ASM scribe. For the first time in many months I have not felt embarrassed for the title, and that is a good thing. I look forward to buying Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Civil War II ASM 1 Spider-Man

Exit Question: Is it me, or did this issue highlight how Peter Parker filled his entire inner circle at the company — courtesy of Dan Slott — with back-stabbers, criminals, and super villains?

  • Anna Maria Marconi: Doc Ock’s girlfriend. She went behind Peter’s back with Sanjani on Doc Ock’s nano-technology project.
  • Sanjani: She tried to strike a deal with The Ghost — a corporate saboteur — to destroy Parker Industries.
  • Lien Tang: Peter’s girlfriend tried to murder Spider-Man and traded company secrets to a terrorist organization.
  • Jacob Fury, aka Vernon Jacobs: Parker Industries’ biggest shareholder — and Peter’s “secret Santa” at the company Christmas party — ended up being the terrorist mastermind Scorpio.
  • Clayton Cole: Mr. Cole was formerly the villain known as Clash.
  • Harry Osborn: It’s really only a matter of time before Harry falls off the Green Goblin wagon. We might as well get it over with.
  • Living Brain: The robot is Doctor Octopus.
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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

18 comments

  1. I’m sorry to say Douglas, while you’ve written a well thought through review and I can see your points, unfortunately I can’t agree with the possibly of Cage taking over ASM, not after what he did with Felicia in the backup story of ASM v3 #16-18 and to be honest like Slott I just found it boring, but I will say that the reason I did is based on the fact that Slott in a sense ruined Spider-Man for me. Right now the only Spider-Man I enjoy reading the Newspaper Daily Strip, while it’s only 2-3 panels a day with 4-6 on sunday and can be frustrating sometime at least I look forward to those. Right now I can’t look forward to anything that has Slott’s as you say “petty and immature” Spider-Man.

    http://comicskingdom.com/amazing-spider-man/

    1. “I’m sorry to say Douglas, while you’ve written a well thought through review and I can see your points, unfortunately I can’t agree with the possibly of Cage taking over ASM, not after what he did with Felicia in the backup story of ASM v3 #16-18 and to be honest like Slott I just found it boring, but I will say that the reason I did is based on the fact that Slott in a sense ruined Spider-Man for me.”

      Was Gage the one who came up with the mandate that Felicia be the “Queenpin” of crime, or was that Slott? I honestly don’t know because she’s not really one of my favorite characters. All I do know is that she is out of character. If Gage was given a set of parameters and told, “Write what you want, but it must be within these confines,” then I think you’re being a bit unfair to him.

      The same thing goes for Civil War II. He’s been put in a box and told to play within the box. He can’t go against Bendis’ plans for Civil War II and he can’t upset Dan Slott’s apple cart.

      Also, saying someone has put forth a good audition for a job doesn’t mean that he would be my top choice. I’m just saying that he should be proud of the work he did, given the task at hand. If he were given the book, then I would have reasons to be optimistic.

  2. In a way you are right, due to the consensus being that what happened to Felicia was both a Slott and Editorial mandate, my statement might appear unfair. It’s just that every piece of work I’ve seem from him has been as a co-writer or under the direction of Slott and so unfortunately I can’t help not liking what he writes, even if it is his own work, because as far as I know he started under the tutelage of Slott, so his style would be in a way Slottesque and that has made me biased. Plus I usually don’t forgive such a character assassination, to the level that he could write something 5 years from now and it might be best writing ever, there always be that stigma of what he, whether it he himself who did it or under the direction else.

    So, until someone else comes in to write ASM, that has no connection to Slott, I doubt I’ll ever feel what I use to towards the character.

    1. If the guy is “under the direction of Slott” as he tries to make a name for himself in the industry, then I’m going to cut him some slack until he breaks free and finally gets to do his own thing. If the Felicia character assassination was not his call, but he was given an assignment on the book, then I refuse to hold it against him.

  3. I did enjoy the issue slightly more than animehunter (and I’m a guy who normally considers everything post-OMD non-canon), but I did not take to the Peter and Johnny antics at all, it felt like crude comedy designed to poke and trigger tumblrites urging the two to get a room for completely different reasons. I won’t be judging Peter using Ulysses gift for Parker Industries own ends just yet because for all I know the temptation to do that could be a major plot point of the series.

    And yes, Animehunter’s endorsement of the daily newspaper strip is backed by me, as I’ve talked about it here several times, the pace and occasional plot developments can be frustrating, but by god it has become the most honest depiction of Spider-Man in nearly a decade plus, the older strips from the 70s and 80s are also being collected on the “Hell Yeah Web Swinging Avenger” blogs and they’re a great read. I feel like I’m reading Spider-Man for the first all over again with that, learning about the likes of Carole Jennings (a girl Peter wanted to marry ahead of MJ, even if she got his attention by acting like her), as well as some really terrific stories with the Kingpin and the Cult of Loomis.

    1. You know reading some of this overview I can’t help but notice, “I don’t see anything that requires Peter being single.” Indeed there are plenty of stories one could do with Peter running a business while being married to Mary Jane.

      Heck it could have a been a nice moment, where the Inhuman meets the couple, looks at the possible futures and sees nothing but them together and sighs happily with a “so there are some constants in the universe.”

    2. “It could have a been a nice moment, where the Inhuman meets [Peter and MJ], looks at the possible futures and sees nothing but them together and sighs happily with a ‘so there are some constants in the universe.'”

      Nate, how dare you propose something fans would really enjoy! No. Just…no. This cannot stand. Say something about Tom Brevoort coming up with a “bold” new idea, like Peter really killed Uncle Ben and the guilt he feels is over getting away with murder. Remember: “It’s bold!” 😉

    3. “I did not take to the Peter and Johnny antics at all, it felt like crude comedy designed to poke and trigger tumblrites urging the two to get a room for completely different reasons.”

      I thought the exact same things in terms of the Tumblr crowd. In a way, that’s more of a sad commentary on them. I think it’s weird how they can’t see two male friends together without feverishly shaking at the possibility that they might do something sexual. It’s weird. It’s demeaning. It’s insulting. Readers have two complex characters with rich histories and the Tumblr crowd wants to strip (no pun intended) them of everything but their sexuality. They have issues.

  4. Who in the real world thinks an open invitation to come over translates into “sleep in my bed naked whenever you want without asking if it’s okay first?” I just hope Johnny changed the sheets first, and Peter changed them after.

    If this is a prank, it’s not very funny nor has a point IMO. Most people don’t need to see their friends’ junk on display. We already know our friends have genitalia, good for them. Especially not in such an aggressive manner, invading one’s bedroom. It’s not about having issues with nudity, it’s about the context of that nudity.

    It’s a weird scene, because it’s obviously meant to pander to SpideyTorch shippers. It serves no other story purpose.

    I agree Gage’s work is an improvement on Slott. However, IMO it’s an improvement in the way an 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass is an improvement over the 1971 Ford Pinto. Nothing in the issue made me see red, but nothing made me think “Wow, interesting. Can’t wait to see what happens.” Clash and/or Harry going bad, it doesn’t take Ulysses to see that one coming.

    Unlike when he is written by Slott, Peter doesn’t act like an manchild who thinks work is hard. But he does act like an unethical CEO who instantly grasps the business advantages that having a success prognosticator on his team would bring. With Great Power Must Also Come Great Profits for Me Me Me, right, Pete?

    1. “It’s a weird scene, because it’s obviously meant to pander to SpideyTorch shippers. It serves no other story purpose.”

      Agreed. I’m sure the text balloons will be altered to have them saying all sorts of sexual things. I would have made a bigger deal of it in the review if Peter behaved out of character, but at least Gage had the good sense to not to do that.

      “I agree Gage’s work is an improvement on Slott. However, IMO it’s an improvement in the way an 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass is an improvement over the 1971 Ford Pinto. Nothing in the issue made me see red, but nothing made me think “Wow, interesting. Can’t wait to see what happens.” Clash and/or Harry going bad, it doesn’t take Ulysses to see that one coming.”

      Zing! I can’t really argue with that point, either.

      “Unlike when he is written by Slott, Peter doesn’t act like an manchild who thinks work is hard. But he does act like an unethical CEO who instantly grasps the business advantages that having a success prognosticator on his team would bring. With Great Power Must Also Come Great Profits for Me Me Me, right, Pete?”

      It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the free market, but I thought Peter’s reaction was kind of gross. It was framed in an altruistic way, but most people would have the common sense not to go there.

  5. Isn’t this story-line being driven by inexplicable stupidity?

    (1) Most of these guys have enough surreal experiences to know that prophets in the MU are unreliable. They could be pawns of darker forces, like Dormammu or Loki or Dr. Doom.

    (2) the existence of a multiverse make all prognostications suspect. The guy sincerely thinks he’s hearing WNEW, visionarily speaking, but he’s actually listening to WABC from two universes over on the dial.

    (3) Many of them know how law enforcement works. She-Hulk certainly knows this. You do NOT arrest someone, or attack them, or even charge them before they’ve done anything.

    (4) The military also knows about when and when not to do preemptive strikes. Carol Danvers certainly knows this. You never do preemptive strikes without rock solid intel. Colorful visions inside a guy’s head do not even count as soft-marshmallow intel.

    (5) Most of them have lived through crazy stuff. A guy like Ulysses could be re-living “previous realities.” Or be a sentient little piece of a cosmic cube, or be one of the Beyonder’s toes, or something equally nuts.

    (6) Any Avenger that’s ever had anything to do with Dr. Strange should automatically go onto wariness alert with this sort of thing. You would think that none of these guys have ever even heard of Dr. Strange.

    (7) After having nearly all killed each other several times during the last ten years, the “good guys” in the MU should have a standing agreement by now that they will as a matter of habit and policy NOT punch / zap / web / transmute each other.

    The MOST credence they could lend to Ulysses is to treat him as a potentially useful, but not infallible, CI. You set up a few extra surveillance cameras, or send a squad to watch a warehouse.

    Marvel for a long time has been writing its characters as if they are all imbeciles.

    1. “Most of these guys have enough surreal experiences to know that prophets in the MU are unreliable. They could be pawns of darker forces, like Dormammu or Loki or Dr. Doom.”

      This has been one of my main concerns and why I said from the get-go that I’m firmly on Team Stark with this one. Predictive policing is a real thing, so I do like some of the ideas this story will explore. My problem, as you highlight, is that like the first installment of Civil War there will be a group of heroes that come off looking stupid or evil.

      In the Civil War II preview there was a fellow student of Ulysses who was also an Inhuman. She turned into some demonic-looking creature and flew away. Why on earth would anyone in their right mind rush to call this guy the answer to all the world’s problems?

    1. Thanks for sharing, Animehunter. I appreciate it. 🙂

      Here’s the part that struck me:

      “This Mary Jane is a stranger to me, this is someone who seems to have lost something within her, a fire that shone so bright that wherever she went people would smile, but I digress, given what she’s been through, thanks to a certain writer and I’m not saying who, I can see why she turned out this way, I can only hope her run under Bendis will go far into bringing back that fire all of us Mary Jane fans grew to love.”

      I think the “stranger” feeling is something a lot of readers can identify with these days, whether it’s with Steve Rogers, Peter Parker, or Mary Jane. The silver lining as it pertains to Mary Jane is that at least she just needs to have that “fire” return. As you mention, she’s been through a lot due to certain editorial mandates and weird decisions at Marvel, so on some level her behavior makes sense… Thank goodness that it will only take one writer who truly gets her to make things right.

  6. It’s head-scratching the fact that when Peter offered the job for Ulysses he could have simply said :

    “Hey we’re working on a cure for cancer and with your powers we can see some of the possibilities for the results of the cure to insure nothing bad comes out of it. You Know like when a scientist tried to grow his limb back but turned him into a giant lizard man.”

    If Gage had made Peter said that it would have made Peter look better and more responsible than what we are saying about him now that he just wants to profit from Ulysses’ powers.

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