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Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #1

Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Travel Foreman
Publisher: Marvel

Spoilers ahead for Civil War II #1

Following the cliffhanger in Civil War II #1 with Rhodey’s death and She-Hulk on the hospital bed in critical condition, the first tie-in comic in this series is a bit lighter in tone. In it, Spidey teams up with newcomer Ulysees, the precognitive Inhuman and catalyst for this superhero conflict, for a night of crime-fighting. After Ulysees’ visions lead to him and Spidey preventing a murder from taking place, the web-slinger takes his new future-seeing friend to Parker Industries for a visit. After introducing him to Harry and ex-nemesis Clayton Cole, Spidey proposes that with Ulysees’ help they could take the company to new heights. Yet it isn’t long before Peter Parker’s bad luck catches up with him, and Ulysees has a vision of a presumed ally going bad.

First off, in addition to the main Civil War II comic, I would highly recommend reading Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl before delving into this book. Based on this first issue, it reads like a sequel to that series, as well as a continuation of Dan Slott’s run in general. Christos Gage captures the nuances of Spidey well, from his quick-witted remarks to his moral struggles with utilizing Ulysees’ powers. While the first main issue in this crossover established the basic philosophical debate of whether or not to stop crimes before they happen, here we see the racial profiling allegory brought to the forefront in an early scene. When Ulysees sees a man whom he had a vision of murdering people, Spidey is hesitant at first to pursue him, unsure of whether a possible glimpse of the future is enough to justify capturing this guy. Gage is able to explore this idea in several instances without beating it over the bush, while also incorporating a substantial amount of Spidey-esque humor. A scene with Johnny Storm and Peter is especially great.

Foreman’s pencils also do a nice job of coinciding with the tonal aspects of the story. It’s different enough from that of Humberto Ramos’ and other longtime Spidey artists, but still feels like a nice homage to all their work. Also since we’ve still seen very little of Ulysees so far, both Gage and Foreman do a great job of exploring who he is as a character in this issue. In spite of his extraordinary and in many ways dangerous powers, he’s still just a kid who’s not even out of college. This provides a nice gateway for a student-mentor relationship to foster between him and Peter. I’m generally hesitant/apathetic about event spin offs, but this is one that just feels like a good, organic Spider-Man story.

-Kevin Schaefer for Ultimate Comics