Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #1

When Ulysses -- the newest Inhuman -- was last seen in "Civil War II" #1, his newfound precognitive abilities were at the center of a decision that led to tragedy for two heroes. As a result, Spider-Man decides to keep the fledgling superhuman around in Christos Gage and Travel Foreman's "Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man" #1, a largely pointless issue that reiterates both the benefit as well as the ethical dilemma around the character's powers. The issue retreads ground already covered in the first issue of "Civil War II" and does little to further the character, while making Peter Parker look like an opportunist looking to capitalize on Ulysses' talents.

Khary Randolph and Emilio Lopez's standard cover utilizes several standard motifs (two opposing characters standing back-to-back, split apart by a striking broken glass effect, with a forlorn-looking Spidey in the foreground, head in hand); it makes for an eye-catching image, but ultimately oversells what's found within. There's no such emotion in Gage's story; instead, it's a rather uninspired sequence of events that involves Spidey dispatching some high-tech bad guys, using Ulysses' powers to prevent a rather unimaginative murder attempt and trying to sell Ulysses on how his abilities can benefit Parker Industries. The very end of the issue establishes a vague premise for the rest of the miniseries, but the events leading up to it don't exactly sell it.

There's no solid motive established for Spidey wanting to keep Ulysses close, or at least why it couldn't have been any other hero taking on this task. Peter makes the inevitable mention of great power and responsibility, a possible reason for keeping an eye on Ulysses, but one that could logically be applied to any young character with emerging powers in the Marvel Universe. The best case Gage builds for Peter is how the boy could foresee which technologies at Peter's company will ultimately succeed; Peter bills it as a world-changing and life-saving benefit, but -- as put forth by Gage -- it comes across as selfish and just a little too cunning.

Foreman gives the story some style; his art is attractively detailed, from the Vulture's technology to the New York skyline to Ulysses' own appearance, and he gives the issue a distinctive look. Ulysses' youthful uncertainty and inexperience is captured nicely, as though Foreman modeled him after an actual person. His Spider-Man is lean and fluid, and touches like Peter's hair protruding through his torn mask add a sense of realism to a story that's otherwise unrealistic. Colorist Rain Beredo uses a variety of rich tones throughout; it's a little dark in spots, but highlights Foreman's art and keeps the story moving visually, even if there's not much script-wise.

As an unnecessary tie-in to an event that already comes across as manufactured, "Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man" #1 is about as optional as a comic can get. Those who opt in will find a faulty story wrapped in an attractive package.

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