By Geoff Hoppe
August 21, 2006 - 13:49
Besides Captain America and Iron Man, Spider-Man is arguably the most focused-on character in Civil War thus far. The end of Civil War #2 and opening of Civil War #3 center around Peter Parker’s decision. Spider-Man is emblazoned on the cover of Civil War #2, and is on the front of a Civil War #3 variant cover. Wizard magazine gave Spidey’s decision a cover story. J. Michael Straczynski’s writing nicely captures Peter Parker’s doubts about his own pro-registration stance, and the real issue behind Spider-Man’s fight with Cap: respect. “My whole life, all I’ve ever really wanted is the respect of the people I admire…people like him. Finally, at last…I’ve got it. And now I’m about to lose it forever,” Spider-Man notes as he beings his duel with Steve Rogers. Short, sweet, and to the point, this monologue nails the psychology of a guy-next-door superhero like Peter Parker.
This cover promises a fight scene with Cap, and the ASM team delivers. This issue’s most impressive image is a two page spread of Captain America dropping in on Spider-Man. Ron Garney’s straightforward drawing style suits a stoical hero like Cap better than a wisecracker like Ol’ Webhead. The layout is solid for this issue, vacillating between large, full page and two page spreads, and tightly packed panels that convey both the blinding speed of the anti-registration forces’ attack, and the anxiety that racks Peter Parker. Inker Bill Reinhold provides powerful atmosphere in the scene where Spider-Man defends Cap’s shield from a group of hoodlums. Matt Milla’s colors are good, but the red of Spidey’s suit is too dull and burgundy. The new suit is metallic, which makes a reader think it should be shinier, a la Dan Kemp’s rendering in Spectacular Spider-Man.
534 has a worth-the-price-of-admission fight scene with impressive strategy, overall great layout work, and good focus on how Peter Parker feels in the midst of the Civil War storyline’s chaos.