CWII ASMII cover

Marvel’s Civil War II has been a mixed bag of good ideas and poor execution, but writer Christos Gage’s work on the project has generally been a notch above his peers. Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #2, like the issue before it, highlights just how much potential he has as a writer, even if some elements of the book are rough around the edges.

Here is what you need to know for CWII: ASM 2:

  • Spider-Man, tipped off by Ulysses, defeats a “quintronic man.” (The aftermath features a nice nod to Amazing Fantasy #15.)
  • Clayton Cole (aka, Clash) runs into an old henchman he knows, but rebuffs an offer to talk about working with the Owl.
  • Clayton eats a meal with his parents, who are seemingly rotten people. They tell their son Peter Parker is exploiting his genius, liken Clayton’s beard to a something a homeless man would sport, and say his girlfriend Donna (a single mother who works at Parker Industries as an administrative assistant), is only interested in him for his future earnings.
  • Donna breaks up with Clayton just before he asks her to marry him. She is worried about what will happen when her son learns about his criminal past.
  • Clayton explodes on a coworker and later becomes paranoid (with good reason) when Ulysses and Spider-Man act like gossipy high-school kids around him.
  • Spider-Man catches Clayton using an experimental device that can retroactively track and record sound waves. The two have an argument and Clayton storms off.
  • Mendel Stromm (aka, Robot Master), pitches a heist of Parker Industries to Clayton in a bar for henchmen. The plan is to frame Harry Osborn Lyman.
  • Peter tells Harry in a private meeting that he wants to make amends with Clayton, never realizing that the Tinkerer has been given a request to upgrade Mr. Cole’s “Clash” costume.

I mentioned in my first review that Mr. Gage added more intrigue to ASM in one issue than Dan Slott has in months. The good news is that Mr. Gage continues to creatively cross his ‘t’s’ and dot his ‘i’s’ in ways the head ASM scribe shows no interest in duplicating. The bad news is that as a reader it’s hard to witness Clayton’s behavior and not think, “Is Peter Parker the worst judge of character of all time?”

Consider this: Peter Parker’s ‘very close’ girlfriend tried to kill him, his inner circle lies to him and tries to work with corporate saboteurs, and his biggest investor (and secret santa) was the head of an international terrorist organization. He might want to have Doctor Strange check out that spider-sense one of these days, because it certainly doesn’t work during job interviews…

CWII ASMII

Overall, CWII: ASM #2 does a good job of getting readers to think about how hard it must be for an ex-convict to escape the long shadow of sins past. There is a nuance to Mr. Gage’s message about second chances and redemption that has always been absent from Mr. Slott’s work, and for that he should be commended.

At the end of the day, however, Mr. Cole largely comes across as an unsympathetic character due to his actions and the way artist Travel Foreman depicts his hair-trigger rage (an apology by the character afterwards does little to endear him to readers.)

Mendel Stromm

The best-case scenario for Mr. Cole is that he is using inside knowledge of Mendel Stromm’s attack to his advantage — as a hero. Perhaps he will set-up the villain to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt to Spider-Man and Ulysses that he is a good man. There will likely be confusion along the way  — a brief fight with Spider-Man, which technically will prove Ulysses was correct — but in the end Spider-Man and “Clash” will work together to take down Robot Master.

CWII ASMII SpiderMan

What did you think of CWII: ASM #2? Do you think “Clash” will be back to his villainous ways, or will he redeem himself by double-crossing Robot Master? Let me know in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: Check out the YouTube page and subscribe if you’re into video reviews and podcasts. I plan on doing a lot more of that in the years ahead.

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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.

10 comments

    1. “Maybe Gage should write Amazing Spider-Man. It seems like it could be step-up and I think he did a good job on Avengers Academy.”

      I did not read Avengers Academy, but if you liked it then I may have to check it out. Thanks!

    2. My only problem with is it that it gets interrupted by two big Marvel events and at least one aftermath one. But that’s more of a editorial thing than the writer’s fault.

    3. “Maybe Gage should write Amazing Spider-Man. It seems like it could be step-up and I think he did a good job on Avengers Academy.”

      These giant “events” need to really stop, or they need to create them in ways that won’t have **begin carnival barker’s voice here** “grand and far reaching consequences for the entire Marvel universe!”

      If you need to topple over the chess board in the middle of every game to get attention, then you’re doing something wrong.

    4. I remember being hyped for big events, but as time passed I started catching on to Marvel’s tactics and nothing has really interested me. I wasn’t around for this, but events used to mean something decades ago because they didn’t happen like clockwork every year. If you saw one in the comic book store, you probably knew crap was going to go down. Now, instead, you know that whatever does happen will only affect comics for maybe a year and be undone or replaced or tossed aside by next year’s.

    5. “I wasn’t around for this, but events used to mean something decades ago because they didn’t happen like clockwork every year. If you saw one in the comic book store, you probably knew crap was going to go down. Now, instead, you know that whatever does happen will only affect comics for maybe a year and be undone or replaced or tossed aside by next year’s.”

      Bingo. You’re right on the money with that one.

  1. Gage is a step up, but the bar is already low. I would rather see Marvel clean house and get some better talent. Gage has done some good work and he has also done some big misses. I can think of many writer that I would like to take over on ASM and none of them have been working for Marvel for a long time.

  2. Gage is writing a better Clayton storyline than Slott managed, I actually feel for the guy and his problems, and it’s great seeing Stromm again. I’ve been out of the loop with him a long while, the last story I read from him was when he had lost his memory and was inventing toys for kids.

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