Well, it’s officially Civil War II time and that means… tie-ins galore! And just like the last Civil War crossover event, Spider-Man gets his own tie-in title and plays a huge role in the big time superhero battle royale. If you’re like me and haven’t been reading the .1 issues in between the main Amazing Spider-Man series, then this is the first time in a long time that you’re reading Spider-Man not written by Dan Slott.
The first chapter of Spider-Man’s solo Civil War II adventures focuses on his request to be the first to mentor the new Inhuman, Ulysses (who is at the center of all the events leading to this Civil War thus far). This kid is a pretty much a blank slate and before anyone else starts influencing him, Spidey wants to instill some hero morals and mentality into him. Spider-Man gets a first hand experience of what Ulysses’ power is, how it works, and how valuable it may be in saving people’s lives. He also suggests a different route in which to use his abilities to save lives within the employ of Parker Industries.
However, at the end of their day together, the young Inhuman gets a vision of a Parker Industries employee returning to their former villainous ways and betraying Peter Parker. In classic Spider-Man fashion, Peter is faced with one hell of a decision to make about his social circle that will undoubtedly play a huge part in what side of this Civil War he decides to stand with.
With the grand scale of Civil War II having just kicked off last week, this issue was a wonderful little slice of the overall pie. Christos Gage cooked up a powerful tale, forcing Peter to come face to face with the pros and cons of Ulysses’ future-sight abilities and how to utilize them (or not to). Personally, I have a very love/hate relationship with Dan Slott’s seemingly endless run on Spider-Man books, but overall I like him just fine.
Gage doesn’t paint Spidey as a different hero in any way, but he’s able to get the character across to readers with less work; which allows for other characters and elements to breath more. The story of Civil War II: Amazing Spider Man #1 is heavy in drama but extremely light in execution, which makes it very easy for readers to digest. Spidey’s interactions with every single character in this issue are absolutely perfect, especially the scene between he and Johnny Storm.
The artwork is also a different approach than that of the Slott Spider-Man series. The darker, dirtier, less cartoon-ish approach accents the weight of the story splendidly. The motion of the characters in each panel moves fluently without forcing the reader to retrace their steps; the comedy bits also owe a lot to the illustrations. Much like the writing, the artwork gets the same amount of Spider-Man story and action across with seemingly less work. This simpler, but still detailed approach is refreshing for an Amazing Spider-Man book. I am in no way stating that the Amazing Spider-Man series is anything less than iconic (although sometimes frustrating), but it’s nice to have a break while also moving forward with the character.
The first issue of Spider-Man’s solo adventures during Civil War II leaves readers anxious to see not only what will happened next to our web-headed friend, but how it will affect his role in the crossover event and which side he will find himself on. Not only is Ulysses a blank slate as a character in this universe, but to readers as well since he has literally done nothing but show up and have an ability. This issue provides the first insight as to who Ulysses is and why he’s worth our time and money, and if he’s all right in Peter’s book so far, he’s alright in mine.