What defines our future? Is it the choices that we decide to make, or are our decisions already set in stone? These themes reach a collimating climax in CIVIL WAR II: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4, wrapping up the Clash storyline while giving us a look at the pros and cons of knowing the future and whether or not such visions dictate our actions. Despite a rather so-so art style, CIVIL WAR II: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4 boasts a solid conclusion issue with a fairly good argument for Team Carol’s stances in the CIVIL WAR II conflict.

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Picking up from the previous issue, Spider-Man now finds himself in hot water, with his worst fears from Ulysses’ visions having come to pass. Despite trying to help Clayton Cole not regress back to his super villain ways, Spider-Man’s attempts at making things better have backfired. The notion that he can no longer work with his beloved sonic technology at Parker Industries has caused Clayton to attack Spider-Man, feeling that if he’s to be treated like a bad guy he might as well act the part. Not only must Spidey reach out to Clayton before he goes too far, he must also confront both his and Ulysses’ role in setting Clayton on this path.  After all, it was his vision of a possible future, as well as the way Peter handled it, which led them to their current situation.

READ: Check out the latest chapter of Spidey’s life: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #17!

What works well about this issue, as well as the tie-in series in general, was how they managed to balance out the good out with the bad. Where the main storyline has gradually started to depict Carol’s stance towards the CWII conflict in a negative light, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN manages to remind us that such powers as Ulysses can be used for a pure and selfless purpose. However, the series also bows its head and admits that such powers come with great risk, and sometimes can be catalysts to the problems they are trying to fix. After all, Clayton might have made the choice to become Clash again, but it was because he heard about Ulysses’ vision predicting that future and believed them to be true. But where he saw the future as inevitable, Spidey, having used Ulysses’ visions to save innocent lives from harm, believes that that the future can be changed for the better. He stands firm in the idea that our actions define what the future may bring and that one can learn from their past mistakes to become better, something that Clayton sadly chooses to reject.

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As pointed out by the main CIVIL WAR II storyline, Ulysses’ visions do not predict the definitive future, but rather formulate a possible outcome that is not yet set. And while the main storyline has analyzed this power as a wary negative, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN reminds us that despite all that’s happened, Ulysses is not a monster. He is a guy who has made mistakes, wanting to use his powers to help others, but is still inexperienced at controlling them. And Spider-Man sees that good in him, advising Ulysses to accept the fact that he will make mistakes but should still try to save others. After all, while no one enjoys making them, we improve ourselves by learning from our mistakes.

READ: Miles Morales deals with his own CWII tie-in series here!

If there’s one area where this issue falters, it’s in the artwork, which feels all over the place. I’m not saying that Travel Foreman does a terrible job, but the quality of his illustrations tends to dip across panels, ranging from detailed enough to rather plain and uneventful. It starts out great in the beginning and the ending panels feature some clever usage of darker textures, but that area in between is where the designs start to get flat. What’s more, there are those occasional moments where the design of certain characters models doesn’t fit in with the rest of the artwork in the panel, mostly in the facial feature department. Even though it’s balanced out by Christos Gage’s satisfying-enough script and never detracts from the finality of the story, the contrast in quality still feels noticeable up close.

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CIVIL WAR II: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4 might occasionally suffer from artwork frame rate drops, but its story is still satisfying enough in its conclusiveness. It touches on the themes the series sets out to address, is well-done story-wise and teaches a valuable lesson in terms of making mistakes. Hopefully the lessons and themes learned here will crossover into the main storyline, because it would definitely prove fruitful for Team Carol right now.

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