(In case you missed it elsewhere, I’m running a GoFundMe campaign to read and review ever issue of Marvel Comic’s Civil War crossover event prior to Captain America 3: Civil War hitting Theaters the beginning of May. This is the first of many reviews to come.)
So, here we are. I’ve committed to reading and reviewing every issue of Civil War over the coming months. Before we get to Civil War proper, we have to travel The Road To Civil War, and boy, the Comics Gods can be fickle and unkind.
I had sorta blanked out the fact that J. Michael Straczynski was the guy guiding Spider-Man through most of the 2000’s, and then BAM, I open up the first comic on my list, The Amazing Spider-Man 529, and JMS hits me in the face like a brick.
**Pours the first of many Dark and Stormys**
As you may recall, Civil War coincided with the Iron Spider years, and this issue is where it all begins. JMS goes hard, starting with an, “Oh, that scamp Tony Stark” joke that just hasn’t aged well AT ALL (translation: It’s hella skeevy to even joke with your buddies wife that there’s a camera in the bedroom, Tony. YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS!). After that awfulness, we move to Tony putting the finishing touches on a new suit for Spider-Man. In a rather familiar Red and Gold color scheme, naturally.
The rest of the issue is mostly Spidey taking the suit out for a test-drive, with plenty of justification for all the fancy gizmos and doodads Stark threw into this new suit, including: glide capabilities, thermal imaging, police band radio, and even being bulletproof. I had honestly forgotten that JMS was decent back in those days, and really enjoyed this bit of the comic. His Peter Parker is on point, humor-wise, and once you get past the sequence being an obvious commercial for Spidey 2.0, it’s a solid piece of comic-ry. (Comicness? Comicsosity? I dunno, you know what i mean.)
Post test-drive, things get dicey. After Tony’s taking Peter and Mary Jane in, protecting them, then giving Peter this snazzy new suit, Peter’s spider-sense has gotta be tingling, and rightfully so. As soon as Peter pushes the issue and asks Tony, “Why?”, we see that Tony has an ulterior motive. He butters Peter up with talk of them both being the same type of person, and how he considers Peter and MJ family and all that, before asking Peter to swear a “blood oath” to him (no really, look at the panel below), the details of which have to be kept from everyone. Thanks to Tony’s heavy manipulation, Peter immediately accepts. Then this bombshell of a last panel is dropped, and the boys are off to Washington. dun dun DUUUUNNNNNNNNN
Tony has always been the (sorta) lovable, womanizing asshole living off dad’s money who just so happens to be one of the smartest guys ever, but he’s next-level manipulative here. Peter Parker is the smart but awkward guy who tries really hard and has lost all the father figures in his life. Tony works that angle to perfection; ensuring that if Peter responds with anything other than, “Yes!”, he can play the “disappointed Dad card” to secure Peter’s loyalty. This really just scratches the surface of how awful Tony will get as this series goes on.
That about does it for today. Next up, The Road to Civil War continues with Fantastic Four 536 written by……Straczynski again? Welp, liver, this is what we’ve been training for. See you back here tomorrow.