Posted - June 2, 2013 | Updated : August 10, 2015
Civil War : Amazing Spider-Man
Spider-Man is the most famous turncoat of the superhero Civil War. He starts as a Pro-Registration hero and participates in at least one major battle on the side of those forces. During the course of the event, Spider-Man rethinks his position and nearly dies as a result - saved only by the timely intervention of the Punisher. Moving from his Stark-provided 'Spider Armor' to his more familiar and, quite frankly, better looking, original red and blue costume, Spider-Man ends the war fighting beside Captain America's forces. In Civil War : Amazing Spider-Man we take a look at the details of what went on behind the moves Spider-Man made in the main Civil War series. One caveat though, this is not by any means a complete picture of Spidey's activities. What we have here is what is presented in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. There is another Spider-Man series called Civil War: Peter Parker, Spider-Man that completes the Spider-Man/Civil War picture.
The collection starts with Peter Parker working for or hanging out with or whatever it is he's doing with Tony Stark. Take a look at it . . .
Maybe I should say this is Peter Parker being a toady of Iron Man. Come to think of it 'toady' is the perfect word - sort of like Magneto and the Toad. I am not a big fan of this relationship. I don't like seeing Peter, no, I don't like seeing Spider-Man, being Iron Man's no. 2.; or whatever this is. It gets worse . . .
First of all I love the art in this panel. I'm definitely a fan of Ron Garney. Not only is the linework excellent but the color coordination between Iron Man and Iron Spider is definitely great to look at. I realize that Iron Man usually stands and Spider-Man usually crouches but I find Spider-Man's pose symbolically subservient. This is not you, Peter.
The inevitable part comes when Tony Stark confronts Peter with the necessity of unmasking. This panel perfectly evokes how Peter feels about it initially.
Tony doesn't force this on Peter. He gives Peter a choice.
Of course, if he chooses not to sign, he'll be hunted down like the others - that goes without saying.
As a point of trivia, we also find out how much money Peter has in the bank.
Pretty soon we have the unmasking of Spider-Man, which was one of the big events of the main series.
What we do get here is more of what J. Jonah Jameson thinks of the whole thing. Take a look at these panels.
What a bunch of baloney! Peter is Spider-Man and suddenly J. Jonah launches into a spiel that pretty much says he treated Peter like a son all these years? Jonah treated Peter like crap, just like he treats everybody else. I don't hate Jonah, I've read enough to know that at core, he's a good guy - but that core lies very deep so we'll only get to see that good guy rarely.
The biggest big deal of all is that every Spider-Man villain now knows who he is.
The first crack in the Spider-Man/Pro-Registration facade is quick to appear as Iron Man announces Spider-Man's participation in enforcing the Superhuman Registration Act before talking to Peter about it.
Doesn't Peter see it? To Tony he's just an employee who should do as he's told. I'm not blaming Tony for this, Straczynki's characterization of him is spot on. He's a bit arrogant Tony very well-behaved considering his circumstances.
Pretty soon, the very first major hero vs. hero battle happens. We are shown Spider-Man going up against the Falcon.
Because J. Michael Straczynski is the writer of both Civil War: Amazing Spider-Man and part-writer of Civil War: Fantastic Four, we get a nice treat : coverage of the same event in both books. I consider this a plus because the point of view is different and so is the artist. In the Fantastic Four book we looked at it from the vantage point of The Thing , here we take a look at it from Peter's viewpoint
Here's the same occurrence from Civil War : Fantastic Four
What isn't in the FF book is how Spider-Man manages to finally handle the missiles.
In Civil War : Fantastic Four, the Thing is shown lifting a bus. Here's the Fantastic Four panel:
Here's the same incident in Civil War : Amazing Spider-Man.
I like the Ron Garney Amazing Spider-Man cover better. The action is stronger because its much more closed in. Although I have to say, Daredevil's right leg is covering the most interesting part of the panel.
Another interesting thing happens during the course of this battle
Did you get that? Tony seems to have some kind of analytics running in Peter's armor, so he knows things that Peter never told him before; like Spider-Man's spider sense. It was a stupid thing for Peter to put on that armor to begin with; no matter how many high-tech gimmicks it has.
Now here's another great treat. I remember in Daredevil Born Again, when DD encountered Captain America. Daredevil was able to use his unique senses to assess Cap's physical condition. No surprise, it was peak level. Daredevil, no slouch himself, came to the conclusion that Captain America was athletically superior to him. We get something like that in Civil War : Amazing Spider-Man. Here Peter comes up against Captain America in hand-to-hand combat.
' . . . there are no moves, its all just ONE move . . .' I love that.
This must be how Captain America can get into close in fighting with an armored juggernaut like Iron Man
It explains a lot of the things Captain America has been able to do over the years.
Here's another thing that's telling.
Captain America leaves to help his fellows. And he leaves without his shield (he'll retrieve it later after Spidey secures it against some theives). I've always thought that Cap relied overly much on the shield, but this panel proves me wrong. He doesn't have a dependency relationship on his weapon. It's just a tool to him and its no problem being without it.
Lets get back to Civil War : Fantastic Four because we are about to get another shared incident. This time its Peter insisting on seeing '42' the infamous prison that Reed Richards and Tony Stark built in the negative zone. In the pages of the FF we are shown Tony and Peter leaving and returning from the zone; and that's it. Here in Civil War : Amazing Spider-Man we get to find out what happens to them during their brief visit to '42'.
Peter comes across an unacceptable situation.
It seems that the Pro-Registration side have done away with little details - like due process. This is what causes Peter to switch sides. Somebody's not very happy.
Back the main Civil War series we are suddenly shown that Iron Man and Spider-Man have already come to blows. So now we know why that happened.
What happens next happens in Civil War. Namely, Peter's ambush in the sewers under New York; his rescue by the Punisher; and his recovery in Captain America's secret headquarters. After he's well enough, Peter goes back to his family.
Peter, MJ, and Aunt May are now fugitives. There's a lot of talking between them and some of the dialogue is very, very good. Here's a gem from Aunt May
And here's one from Peter.
Peter goes to the airwaves to make a case against the Superhuman Registration Act.
Peter's stunt makes him number one in Tony Stark's 'must capture' list, prompting Captain America to ask the Human Torch to find Spider-Man. I haven't been very fond of the Torch in Civil War. First, his arrogant attitude in front of that nighclub - the one that caused him to be mobbed then hospitalized. Then, well, then, well that's it, I guess there's nothing else from Johnny. But what the Torch does to contact Spidey is pure genius. Just look at it.
Remember that all Spider-Man's villains now know his name? Things take a grim turn when the the Kingpin orders a hit.
The spider symbol we all know. The '+2' would be (1) MJ and (2) Aunt May.
We have a second meeting between Spider-Man and Captain America.
Captain America wasn't able to articulate himself very well in Civil War. Sally Floyd kept taking his argument apart in Civil War: Front Line. But here, in Civil War : Amazing Spider-Man we finally have the Captain saying why he's doing what he's doing - and saying it persuasively - Just ask Peter Parker.
This is the end part of the speech and Peter really loves it.
So Kingpin, who is in prison, has someone hire a hitman, and this hitman kills the guy who hires him - a matter of craft to tie up loss ends
With this grissly scene, a sobering level of brutality is introduced and May and MJ are now in danger.
The big final battle in New York happens and Ron Garney gives us a great two-page spread.
Spidey's red and blue is hands down wonderful to see isn't it?
And just like that, Captain America surrenders and the war is over.
But not the comic, there is still the matter of the hit the Kinpin ordered. Question : How does the assassin avoid Peter's spider sense? Answer :
The guy sleeps until the few moments he needs to fire his gun. And fire his gun he does. Hitting . . .
I hate to tell you this, but the collection ends with this cliffhanger panel.