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– by Tim Jousma

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   Let the subplots commence. Civil War 2 is chugging along with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man Number 1. I’ve found that with event stories such as this, some of the subplot stories that you find in other comics vary in quality. Sometimes their addition to the main event flows nicely, such as Ms. Marvel’s use in the Secret Wars event. Sometimes the results are mixed such as the Black Widow series from Nathan Edmondson.

   To start, I enjoyed this issue. While it definitely adds to the Civil War 2 story, it doesn’t feel forced in the least. It feels like a natural extension of where Brian Bendis and Dave Marquez are taking things. The characters feel real which can be tough to accomplish when dealing with people with such amazing abilities. When Peter Parker and Johnny Storm meet up under circumstances fit for a 1970’s sitcom, their back and forth throughout comes across like the banter of brothers, which based on their long time friendship through the years it is nice to see the relationship treated well.

   Peter’s time with Ulysses was an interesting read. Peter volunteered to help Ulysses get a handle on his prediction powers yet it ended up being more of an examination of Peter and how he struggled with using said power for good or using it for personal gain. There was a scene where Peter, as Spider-Man, takes Ulysses on a tour of Parker Industries. While there he offers him a job predicting the future for his company so they would be able to focus their business interests on products that would actually work. While that job offer was benign compared to what could have happened, it showed that even someone as good as Peter Parker would not be immune to such a tantalizing power. If Peter’s first reaction to this kid is wondering how he can gain from this power, it makes you wonder just how bad this war will be among friends and allies.

   One little bit of the story annoyed me. If Ulysses has the ability to see the future, why wouldn’t he discern that Peter Parker is Spider-Man? An argument can be made that these visions he has aren’t constant so he couldn’t pick and choose when to see the future yet for the amount of time at this point Ulysses has been working with the Inhumans and the rest of the Marvel Universe, something should have tipped him off to Peter’s true identity. This point is simply a nitpick more than anything that could be a major distraction.

   The art work in this issue was passable. I enjoyed the little bits of characterization the artist Travel Foreman added to characters, little actions they’d perform giving them a little personality. Some artists will make sure the characters in a scene are doing their jobs and leave it at that. When an artist is able to give a character something to do that accentuates the character, it adds more to the reading experience.

   The over reliance on action lines was distracting to say the least. You need them in comics to indicate movement of course but when there are more action lines on the page than actual characters or scenery, that is a problem. There were some clear manga influences on the characters as well which I didn’t care for. Having said that, if these are my only concerns with the art then you can categorize these issues under the nitpick category.

   Overall, this has been a fine addition to the Civl War 2 story. While it doesn’t have much so far that affects the main story arc, I loved how it seamlessly weaved the main themes of Civil War 2 by showing how Peter is struggling himself with the power that Ulysses has to offer. Previous event stories from Marvel have not always been consistent with how they incorporated the subplots of the main story. Secret Wars was a prime example of what can go wrong when you force an event onto an existing series. So far this addition to Civil War 2 has been enjoyable. 

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