Civil War II #5: Team Stark v. Team Danvers throw down

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Brian Michael Bendis’ Civil War II #5 hit stores this week, and someone must have slipped something in his drink because he dedicated the entire issue to a massive brawl between Team Stark and Team Danvers. Is that a good thing? A bad thing? You’ll have to check out my latest YouTube video to find out.

After you’re done watching, let me know what you think in the comments section below — particularly you’re thoughts on the Inhuman Ulysses’ latest vision.

Robert Downey Jr. and friends tell U.S. to vote for woman who called black kids ‘super predators,’ was excoriated by FBI

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There was once a time when Robert Downey Jr. understood that telling people how to vote was not something pretend superheroes should be doing. Marvel’s “Iron Man” inherently knew that intelligent swathes of the public will gladly make guys like him a millionaire for doing a good job standing in front of green screens, but they have no desire to hear his thoughts on domestic and foreign policy. That has changed.

RDJ’s millionaire buddy Joss Whedon — the guy who said Mitt Romney was the type of guy who would bring forth the zombie apocalypse — now wants us to believe that Donald Trump will presumably usher in the super-duper zombie apocalypse.

Mr. Whedon created a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC called “Save the Day” to push the message and enlisted Hollywood actors to star in the group’s ads.

Weirdly enough, Mr. Downey Jr. and the other actors acknowledge how pathetic and condescending projects like “Save the Day” are while essentially saying, “Yeah, we’re still going to shamelessly influence dumb people, anyway.”

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Here is what director Joss Whedon told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday:

“Whedon acknowledges that ‘no one really cares what an actor’s opinion is,’ but he says that’s not the strategy. ‘Seeing somebody famous makes people stop. Seeing something funny makes people stop. Seeing something with emotion makes people stop,’ he adds. ‘Those are the ways you can get to people.'”

The problem for Mr. Whedon and Don Cheadle, who said Donald Trump is a “racist, abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society,” is that a.) it was Hillary Clinton who called black males “super predators,” and b.) it was FBI Director James Comey who raked her over the coals for nearly 15 minutes for her “extremely careless” handling of America’s most guarded secrets.

CBS reported on April 14th of this year:

Bernie Sanders slammed his rival’s 1996 use of the term “super predators” Thursday evening, calling it “racist” on stage at the Democratic debate in Brooklyn.

Asked why Sanders had criticized Bill Clinton’s defense of his wife use of the phrase “super predators,” Sanders responded: “Because it was a racist term and everybody knew it was a racist term.”

In the 1990s, while President Bill Clinton was promoting a tough-on-crime agenda, his wife — then-First Lady Hillary Clinton — was gathering support for the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act. In one speech, given in 1996, the first lady warned against the rise of “super predators,” touting the ’94 bill as one line of defense against such at-risk youth.

“They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super predators,'” she said at the time, going on to describe them thus: “No conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

It’s pretty hard to tell people to vote for the allegedly awesome Democrat when Bernie Sanders called Mrs. Clinton’s “super-predators” remark racist. Again, in years past Robert Downey Jr. seemed to understand what a fool he would look like by appearing in these campaigns, but somewhere along the line he decided to join the parade of politically correct narcissists for election-year virtue signaling.

Question for Mr. Downey Jr.: How does it feel to spend all the good will you’ve built up over the years by staying out of politics on a woman who should be wearing an orange jumpsuit in a federal penitentiary? I suppose that doesn’t matter, now that your “Save the Day” appearances guarantee years of swanky parties thrown by millionaire hypocrites like Joss Whedon. Sad.

Related:

Joss Whedon, hypocritical millionaire, attacks Romney

Dan Slott’s excitement, focus return in Amazing Spider-Man #18 with Doctor Octopus in limelight

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The Amazing Spider-Man #18 is an issue that has been building since the end of Spider-Verse in February 2015, so it stands to reason that writer Dan Slott would put extra care into the product. Still, it seems undeniable that this Doctor Octopus-centric tale possesses the most energy the creator has brought to the title in months. Fans of The Superior Spider-Man will be thrilled with the flashbacks and the loose ends that are tied up, while others will be left wondering, “Why can’t the book have this much life on a regular basis?”

Here is what you need to know about ASM #18:

  • Doctor Octopus explains how he was able to transfer his consciousness into the gauntlet of his Superior Spider-Man costume during Spider-Verse. The technology became a “fully functional octobot” and then downloaded his consciousness into Living Brain.
  • Readers are informed how Otto dispatched with Ann Maria Marconi’s new boyfriend, Blain, after he was unable to download his consciousness into the man’s brain. In short, Otto was able to get headhunters in Australia to offer him a job “too good to pass up.” (Blain decided to not even talk to Peter Parker about the situation, apparently…)
  • Doc Ock, still secretly inside Living Brain, demands Anna “explain” when she says she would not date Otto if he were standing before her. She mentions the fact that he tried to kill six billion people. “I could never love someone like that. Ever,” she says while kissing the robot on its cheek.
  • Peter contacts Anna on his way to New York and tells her to “double” her efforts on figuring out the cloning process used by New U Technologies.
  • Otto devises a plan to have Anna fly back to New York because he believes Anna wants Ott’s mind in Peter’s body. When they land in New York she tells Peter that Living Brain has “been acting up a lot lately.”
  • Peter decides to work on Living Brain, aka Doc Ock, who demands Peter “explain” how Otto’s mind was erased from the real Spider-Man’s brain. Peter explains how Otto killed himself so that Peter could save Anna from the Green Goblin, at which point the downloaded consciousness of Otto from Spider-Verse goes ballistic. “Lies! Lies! Lies!” he says while smashing equipment.
  • Living Brain destroys himself as Spider-Man tries to shut him down, but not before Otto’s consciousness again returns to gauntlet from Spider-Verse. Peter and Anna both act as if they only faced a “Doc Ock revenge program from beyond the grave,” as opposed to the real deal (for some inexplicable reason).

Does that sound like a mouthful? If so, that’s because it is — there was a lot going on in ASM #18. To Mr. Slott’s credit, he organized his thoughts about as well as could be expected with the plot threads at hand.

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As was said earlier, fans of SSM will enjoy this issue. There really isn’t too much to ding it on aside from the fact that once again people must act like morons to move the plot forward.

“Please, he won’t hurt me. He never would. Don’t ask me how I know. I just do. Trust me!” Anna says while trying to convince Peter to get closer to a rampaging Living Brain — but it might as well have been Dan Slott speaking to the readers.

Translation: “Don’t ask too many questions. I don’t. Trust me!”

And Dan is right: If you just want a “wacky” adventure and don’t have a desire to think too hard, then this issue is a fun read. Don’t ask why Anna and Peter give the equivalent of, “Huh. That was weird,” after Living Brain’s meltdown. Don’t ask questions about the nature of life and if humans have a soul, and don’t ask how Otto literally had Peter’s entire life beamed into his mind and didn’t change one bit.

“But Doug!” you say, “Didn’t Otto die to save Anna in Superior Spider-Man #30? Doesn’t that count?”

Answer: No, because readers were given no reason to believe Otto had changed in the previous 29 issues. It just happened.

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Regardless, as already mentioned, ASM #18 is worth buying for anyone who has been eager to see the series once again focus on Doctor Octopus. It is rather intriguing to think about a man who cannot have the woman he loves because he is trapped inside an “inferior” body, and the villain’s plans to resurrect himself are a good tie-in to Dead No More.

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If you plan on buying Dead No More, then ASM #18 is worth picking up this weekend. If not, then you still might want to give it a read. The author seldom is capable of packing pathos, organized thought, enthusiasm, and action into a single issue of ASM, and it might be months before such a feat is witnessed again.

Related:

Dan Slott’s Spider-Verse Epilogue: Wrap-up oddly more exciting than main story

Typical ‘progressive’ reactions to terror attacks on U.S. soil provide unintentional comedy

Here we are again, dealing with yet more instances of radical Islamic terror, and “progressives” in politics and in the media are, again, figuring out how to handle it all. ( I use quotations on the word “progressive” because all too often it is a contradiction in terms.)

We’ve already seen how some of our usual “buddies” have dealt with it, like our pal Dan Slott slamming GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump for having the unmitigated gall to refer to the bombing in New York City as just that — a “bombing” — before, allegedly, all the facts were in. He even retweeted a tweet from a transgender activist who said Trump was “actively rooting” for the bomb to be terror-connected. Nice.

But … where is Slott, et. al. regarding Hillary Clinton doing the same thing — not to mention the mainstream media, in the form of CNN this time, covering for her by selectively editing out where she referred to the attack as a “bombing”??

The polls not going her way and desperately seeking an opening, Hillary upped the ante today, spewing the typical “Trump’s rhetoric is giving terrorists an excuse” nonsense:

I don’t want to speculate but here’s what we know and I think it’s important for voters to hear this and weigh it in making their choice in November… We know that a lot of the rhetoric used by Donald Trump is being seized on by terrorists… Wea [sic]also know from the former head of our counter-terrorism center, Matt Olson, that the kinds of rhetoric and language that Mr. Trump has used is giving aid and comfort to our adversaries.

“Aid and comfort?” Why, that sounds like … treason! 

Naturally, in cases like these (CNN Clinton assistance aside), the media provides no shortage of qualifiers — like “potential”:

This is where we are in early 21st century America with the Left, folks: For offering solutions to Islamic terrorism, however unpalatable they may seem to some folks, Trump is helping groups like ISIS.

All the while the Fourth Estate is busily helping Trump’s opponent.

I am no fan of Donald Trump. I never thought his candidacy would last, that he would poll lousy and eventually drop out. I don’t believe he is really conservative, and given many of his statements and his temperament, he potentially could make Barack Obama’s abuse of executive authority seem like our first African-American president is the greatest constitutional adherent ever.

But the Left really has no one to blame but themselves for the rise of Trump. It is comical to watch the disbelief coming from the Left: “How can anyone support this guy?” they angrily exclaim.

Even though many on the right have reservations about the GOP candidate, they are weary of the last eight years’ collection of lies, obfuscations, political correctness, and outright criminal activity.

Not to mention, when the media ponders how they’re having little effect on Trump’s outrageousness, one only has to look at how they treated the two George Bushes, John McCain, and worse, Mitt Romney. When a guy like Romney is portrayed as evil incarnate, it’s going to be rather difficult to make people believe what you have to say in the future … even when it is warranted. Like with Trump.

To coin a cliché, “The Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf.'”

So, I, for one, am enjoying watching Trump take on the ridiculous PC which has overtaken us, and thumb his nose at the mainstream media. By the media and the Left routinely giving average Americans the middle finger — calling them “bigots,” “hateful,” and “xenophobes;” refusing to call “radical Islamic terror” just that; championing “sanctuary cities” while belittling those who want immigration laws followed and enforced — they’ve helped make Trump the very manifestation of the reaction to that middle finger.

Side note: I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Doug for allowing me to voice my thoughts here now that it had become impossible to keep The Colossus of Rhodey updated regularly. As Doug mentioned, you can catch my regular writings over at The College Fix.

Douglas Ernst Blog Welcomes New Contributor — our old pal from ‘Colossus of Rhodey’

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This blog stumbled across a rarity years ago: A digital oasis that mixed comic book news with conservative and libertarian thought. The website was called Colossus of Rhodey. Its run went of over a decade, and somewhere along the line your friendly neighborhood blogger got to know moderator Dave Huber. He will now join the team as a contributor, and I couldn’t be happier.

Whether Dave is keeping a watchdog eye on higher eduction over at The College Fix, or exposing the political buffoonery of comic book creators on Twitter, I always enjoy his work. I hope you do, too.

Civil War II: The Accused #1: Guggenheim does Daredevil well despite flimsy ‘SRA II’ set-up

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This blog asked the following question roughly four months ago: Did Marvel learn from the mistakes of Civil War I? The answer to that question is a resounding “no,” and Civil War II: The Accused #1 further highlights that unfortunate point. As was the case with Christos Gage’s work on The Amazing Spider-Man and even Brian Michael Bendis’ on Spider-Man, fairly impressive writing is undermined by the story’s weak foundation.

Marc Guggenheim does an admirable job showing Matt Murdock’s role in the project, but editorial mandates will give many readers heartburn. In short, Marvel has planted the seeds for Civil War III. Sigh.

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Here is what you need to know for CWII: The Accused #1:

  • The Department of Justice has asked Matt Murdock to join its case against Hawkeye, aka Clint Barton, who killed Bruce Banner. The ace lawyer accepts the challenge.
  • Barton asserts that Bruce Banner gave him the means to the Hulk if he returned. He says he does not know if he did the right thing, but that he had “a reason and it was a good one.”
  • The trial starts and the judge seems to have her thumb (actually, her entire fist) on the scale in favor of Murdock and his team of federal prosecutors. Hawkeye’s legal team meets with Murdock and tells him there is a conspiracy to make sure the superhero winds up in prison. Matt is told that if he looks for the truth then he will find out that he is being manipulated like a puppet.
  • Daredevil breaks into the Department of Justice and comes across a meeting between a military general and federal prosecutor Evelyn Stanzler. The government wants Hawkeye in prison to give officials “political cover” to introduce Superhuman Registration Act II. A murder conviction will give them what they need.
  • Murdock shows up in court and withdraws the government’s motion to exclude Bruce Banner’s video diary from the case. He knows the move damages his case, but does so because he believes it will give Barton a fair trial.
  • Barton is ultimately acquitted. Most people believe Hawkeye did the world a favor.

The key bullet point here is the last one because people in the Marvel Universe would believe that a living and highly unpredictable nuclear weapon should be dead — especially after years of witnessing his destructive capabilities firsthand.

The government does not need to execute a successful conspiracy to launch Superhuman Registration Act II because the sound rationale for it never disappeared after it failed the first time.

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CWII: The Accused #1 makes the case (no pun intended), that nefarious forces need a conviction to persuade the public that it is time for SRA II, which is laughable. The only reason why some readers do not get the absurdity is because Marvel turned Tony Stark into a psychotic warmonger in Civil War I.

If you want to see Mr. Guggenheim do the best he can with the shoddy hand he has been dealt, then check out CWII: The Accused. If you are tired of seeing heroes fighting heroes — and one side always being portrayed as cartoonish goons — then hold onto your cash. Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows is looking like a must-read.

Dan Slott, Mr. ‘politicize the f**k’ out of gun death ‘the second after news hits,’ bashes Trump for calling NYC bomb … a bomb

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One of the most fascinating things about Marvel writer Dan Slott’s decision to turn his Twitter feed into a giant political soapbox is that readers get to see his never-ending stream of hypocrisy. When shootings or terror-related issues capture national headlines, he is always there to show fans of The Amazing Spider-Man that crafting strong stories comes secondary to political hackery.

An improvised explosive device — a pressure cooker bomb — went off Thursday night in New York City and injured 29 people. A secondary device that failed to detonate was found blocks away. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told an audience of the explosion as news broke, and for that Mr. Slott called it a “new low.”

Anyone who is familiar with Mr. Slott’s online behavior over the years knows that the two men have more in common than he would like to admit. What makes this moment even richer is that his “new low” remark came moments after retweeting the following by another user: “Reminder: Donald Trump is actively rooting for the explosion in NYC to turn out to be a terrorist attack. Let that sick reality sink in.”

Dan Slott’s self awareness knows no bounds. It is indeed a “new low” to accuse a New Yorker of “actively rooting” for terrorism in New York.

Here is a”reminder” for everyone: Dan Slott is the same person who once said he wanted people to “politicize the f**k” out of his death if he were ever shot…“the second after news hits.”

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Here is what Mr. Trump said:

“Just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what’s going on, but, boy we are really in a time. We better get very tough, folks. It’s a terrible thing that’s going on in our world and in our country and we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant. We’ll see what it is.”

Question: Is it more deplorable for a presidential candidate to factually state that a bomb has gone off and that an investigation is underway, or for a writer to say that political opponents “actively root” for terrorism in their home town?

The answer is self-evident.

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Even if Mr. Slott were correct and Mr. Trump was politicizing the bombing, what would give the writer the moral authority to lecture anyone on such behavior?

When a man tells tens-of-thousands of supporters to “please politicize” his own murder “the second after news hits,” he cannot harangue others for picking up the partisan baton and running with it.

Dan Slott’s Twitter feed is a free resource for anyone who ever wanted to learn about projection. His habitual need to blast “new lows” comes from the knowledge deep within his soul that it is he who engages in loathsome behavior.

Some of Mr. Slott’s many “new lows” have been chronicled here, since mainstream comic book websites fail to demand a modicum of professional behavior from the industry’s artists and writers:

The next time Mr. Slott starts bashing Donald Trump, I suggest reminding him that his online antics have mirrored the New York billionaire for many years. My guess is that the writer with impulse-control problems will block you, but that is to be expected as long as he continues to live in denial.

Update: 

Dan Slott, who blocked me on Twitter, once again shows the world that he still can’t help but read this blog. As usual, his tweets are filled with red herrings and utter falsities, which is why he won’t send people to check out with their own eyes what I have said.

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I watched Trump’s speech as it was happening, and my Twitter feed had plenty of stories saying an explosion occurred inside a dumpster and that many people were hurt. I’m assuming that the New Yorker with Secret Service protection and national security briefings was also up-to-date well before the rest of us.

Readers who go to Dan Slott’s Twitter feed will note that he surreptitiously erased a re-tweet that said Donald Trump was “actively rooting for the explosion in NYC to turn out to be a terrorist attack.” Telling. Very telling.

Note to Dan Slott: I do not work for a “birther” conspiracy website. Nice try. That is your new go-to distraction because you don’t know how to respond to my blog posts and you are terrified to come here (there are no slavish moderators to shield you from intelligent scrutiny).

I have worked for years for the same newspaper, with only a brief leave of absence that I won’t get into for personal reasons. I wrote stories for another website for eight months, which has contracts with literally dozens of op-ed writers. Go online and try and find one birther story by me. You can’t find them because they do not exist.

In Dan Slott’s world, I am apparently responsible for what random op-ed writers say and do. Perhaps Dan should check with President Obama’s original literary agent, who boasted that he was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” Hmmm. Where would anyone get the idea that Obama was born in Kenya? Weird. I suppose the Daily Caller and every other media outlet that reported on this issue are also “birthers.”

Update II: You can’t make this up. Dan Slott deleted the tweets shown above. Classic! This is why he will not come to this blog and debate me. He knows that he cannot throw his stupid and impulsive comments down an Orwellian Memory Hole.

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What situation could possibly be Dan Slott’s “Kobayashi Maru”? Heh. Why don’t you join the comments section and tell us about it, Dan? Or not, because you can’t delete posts when you say foolish things.

Charles Soule’s ‘Dark Art’ continues slow burn in Daredevil #11

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New York City is home to the Museum of Modern Art and scores of creators who would do just about anything to get into its exhibits. Therefore, it makes sense that on a long enough timeline Marvel would have a Banksy-esque villain running around the city who would literally kill to get name recognition. The question on this blogger’s mind however, is this: Can a villain ever truly be cool if he wears suspenders?

All joking aside, Charles Soule’s “Dark Art” continues its slow burn in Daredevil #11. When readers last left off, Blindspot had been lured to a Bronx building that contained a mural painted in blood. Daredevil concluded that over 100 people likely died during the project’s creation. DD #11 furthers the plot along and reveals the individual deemed “Vincent Van Gore” by the city’s tabloids.

Here is what you need to know about DD #11:

  • The owner of the building where the blood mural was found decides to charge people to see it. A powerful city councilwoman threatens to shut him down because her niece’s blood is on the evidence.
  • Owner Freedy Durnin tells the city official to take a hike because he knows his First Amendment rights and the painting is on private property. (Question: Wouldn’t the cops immediately take the mural as evidence for an ongoing missing persons case? It makes no sense that Mr. Durnin is allowed to keep it just because it was found inside his building.)
  • Matt Murdock’s boss calls him into his office and says the “wheels of justice have been greased” for him to shut down Mr. Durnin’s grotesque “exhibit.”
  • Matt meets with Foggy for coffee (the two have a chilled relationship), and they talk about what the D.A.’s office wants Matt to do. Matt says it isn’t right that government stooge’s are looking for ways to take a man down for political reasons instead focusing on their job — ensuring justice for all. Foggy says, “You wanted to be a D.A., Matt. All your wishes came true. So now…you do what they tell you to do.”
  • Opening night at Durnin’s exhibit is thrown into chaos when the mural is defaced with a new message: “You’re only as good as your last performance. 1602 East 171st.” Investigators find a murderous “tableau” with dead Inhumans inside an apartment. Matt Murdock interprets the “artist’s” work as, “Inhumans are humans, too.”
  • Matt picks up a racing heartbeat on a nearby roof. He finds and excuse to leave Samuel Cheung (aka, Blindspot), and their police escort, and soon confronts the individual as Daredevil.
  • “Did you like my work?” the killer asks.

Mr. Soule packs a lot of material into DD #11, but the slower pacing never hampers the book. If this were a story by Brian Michael Bendis, for example, it would be reasonable to believe that the payoff would come about 12 months from now — or never. But it’s Charles Soule, and up until this point his writing has been solid.

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Perhaps one of the most impressive things about DD #11 isn’t the David Fincher-like murder mystery (think Se7en), but the fact that he is working a politically motivated D.A.’s office into the tale. The last thing I expected to see in a Marvel book in 2016 was an author who makes the case that city officials use a never-ending maze of laws and regulations to attack everyday citizens. In this instance the target of their rage happens to be a shameless jerk, but the underlying point is incredibly important. It is nice to see that Mr. Soule, unlike many of his peers, is capable of thinking outside petty partisan boxes.

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While it is a bit silly to think a man would not be forced to turn over a blood mural to the police, there really is not too much to complain about at this point. My wife says it sounds like Mr. Soule was inspired by an old episode of Criminal Minds, but until he reaches Slottian levels of “homage” (i.e., Dr. Who), I will forgive him.

Conclusion: Daredevil continues to roll as it nears one dozen issues. It’s just a huge shame that Mr. Soule continues to go with Bendis’ stupid decision to turn Matt Murdock into a “lapsed Catholic.”  That move fundamentally changes the character — in a negative way — for reasons I will cover in an upcoming blog post.

Editor’s note: A primer on my upcoming Daredevil post can be found here: ‘Daredevil Season 2 trailer: Good men grapple with rotten culture.’

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Related:

Daredevil #10: ‘Dark Art’ starts strong, but Soule drops ball on basic Catholicism

Bendis nicely sets up ‘Champions’ in Spider-Man #8, but classic heroes turned into giant goofs

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Brian Michael Bendis is one of Marvel’s key writers, but in a previous life he may have been a circus juggler. Spider-Man #8 somehow manages to move the title’s plot forward, set the stage for Champions, and seamlessly tie into Civil War II. Technically, Mr. Bendis hits all of his marks. Creatively, however, SM #8 once again shows why many older Marvel fans are fed up with the company.

Here is what you need to know for SM #8:

  • Jessica Jones and Luke Cage confront Miles Morales on a rooftop and say they know his secret identity.
  • Miles is upset to find out that his grandmother hired Jessica Jones to spy on him, but he is glad to hear that his mother tried to pay the investigator to cancel the contract. He agrees not to say anything to his family after the older heroes tell him to get his act together.
  • Miles is summoned to the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, by Tony Stark. A large group of superheroes are informed by Stark and Captain Marvel that everyone will confront the Hulk about Ulysses’ vision of him killing everyone.
  • Bruce Banner is killed by Hawkeye, as previously shown in Civil War II #3.
  • Nova, Spider-Man, and Ms. Marvel are stunned by what happens and the two young men publicly state their allegiance to Tony Stark. Ms. Marvel breaks down into tears because her role model set the stage for Banners’s death.

This sounds like a great issue, right? Well, sort of. One’s enjoyment or hatred of SM #8 really hinges on his or her opinions on Civil War II. Bendis — and artist Nico Leon — do an admirable job showing young heroes who struggle to find their place in an “adult” world, but at the same time it all comes at the expense of classic characters.

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There is a scene after Banner’s death where the three kids come together to comfort one another that is incredibly poignant, but the feeling disappears the moment one realizes that Captain Marvel and every superhero who sides with her has taken on a goofy position to make Civil War II work.

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In short, Mr. Bendis has nicely set up an “us against the world” dynamic for the future “Champions” that will also serve Spider-Man well, but in many ways he is doing so at the expense of icons like the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker.

If you are an older reader, the best way to show your displeasure is to withhold your wallet for any title that engages in character assassination of the heroes that made Marvel what it is today.

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‘Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #4’: Dan Slott’s ASM #17 haunts Christos Gage’s latest effort

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It’s hard not to feel sorry for Christos Gage. The guy was asked to write a Spider-Man story that stood on its own while also supporting Brian Michael Bendis’ Civil War II and Dan Slott’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man.

Question: How does the hero who a.) asked The Prowler to resort to corporate espionage on behalf of Parker Industries, and b.) teams up with Carol “Minority Report” Danvers have the moral authority to lecture a confused man like Clayton Cole?

Answer: He doesn’t.

Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #4 is a book that actually reads better the less one knows about the current Marvel universe. For people who just want to roll around a few philosophical questions about redemption and free will like marbles, Mr. Gage’s work satisfies. For people who love the character Peter Parker, however, the issue is just one more reminder of just how intellectually discombobulated he has become thanks (in large part) to writer Dan Slott.

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Here is what you need to know for CWII: ASM #4:

  • Spider-Man tries to talk Clayton Cole off a psychological ledge during the one-on-one battle predicted by Ulysses. Peter wants the scientist to give up his “Clash” technology and start a new life.
  • Robot Master reconstitutes himself and attacks the two men just as Peter seems as though he might have a breakthrough.
  • Clayton leaves Spider-Man to deal with the villain on his own, saying that he needs to go his own way.
  • Spider-Man defeats Robot Master, who vows to take Parker Industries to court for Cole’s attack.
  • Peter Parker and Ulysses discuss the Inhuman’s powers, whether they are appropriate to use, and how to channel them to save lives. Peter now says it would be wrong for Ulysses to work for Parker Industries because the company will be stronger by learning from its own from failures.
  • Spider-Man agrees to work with Carol Danvers to profile potential future criminals. He will fight for the cause if necessary, but says he will act like her personal Jiminy Cricket (It worked out so well with Doctor Octopus, right Pete?)
  • Clash steals a massive amount of off-the-books cash from Roxxon and announces that he will no longer work for other men. The villain begins to recruit for a criminal empire.

Fact: Clayton Cole wanted to “redefine” himself as a hero using Clash technology.

  • What then, we must ask, gave Spider-Man the moral authority to say that Clayton Cole should not do that, but Hobie Brown as the Prowler can?
  • Why is Dan Slott’s Peter Parker a stand-up guy for asking Mr. Brown to break into a business and steal technology for his own selfish reasons, but Mr. Cole is “ruining” his life for trying to turn over a new leaf as Clash — the superhero?
  • How can Peter Parker, a man who has been falsely convicted in the court of public opinion multiple times, endorse Captain “secret detention” Marvel?

In short, CWII: ASM #4 is filled with creative contradictions, which are not treated as such. As was stated in previous reviews, it is tough to discern how culpable Mr. Gage is for the story’s flaws when a strong argument can be made that he is doing the best he can with messes made by other men.

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If you have read the previous three issues of Civil War II: The Amazing Spider-Man, then you may as well buy the conclusion. If you have held off this long, then skip it and take note: The modern Spider-Man is like a boat without an anchor in a storm that shows no sign of breaking.

Again, I feel bad for Mr. Gage — but even more so for the writer who eventually replaces Mr. Slott. Where does a man begin with so much rubble to clear? I guess we’ll find out.

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Related:

‘Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #1’: Gage offers reprieve from Slott fare

‘Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #2’: Gage explores ‘self-fulfilling prophecy,’ recidivism, and redemption

‘Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #3’: Peter Parker turned into hypocritical jerk to keep story going