The second chapter of Marvel: Civil War 1.5 brings a decidedly different tone from the first installment. Is it good?

Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1 (Marvel Comics)

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The Plot

  • How does S.H.I.E.L.D. not have satellite TV?
  • Bucky: Still a master at blowing stuff up without any casualties.
  • Steve Rogers seems to have gained quite a bit of chill in his old age.
  • I get what Sam Wilson is saying, but I still love it whenever the Green Skull shows up.
  • Bucky Bacon.
  • So that’s who The Whisperer is? Huh. Not my first choice—nor a very exciting one. Still works, though.
  • I think Maria Hill’s been binge watching Fuller House. (But that Simpsons reference did make me chuckle).
  • Okay, that cosmic cube kid is now officially creepy.
  • Seriously? Him? Again?
  • And OF COURSE everything goes straight to hell.

Is It Good?

I am an unabashed/hypocritical whiner about major comic book events. I claim to be tired of them, but they somehow keep sucking me in. This one, however, has exceeded my expectations so far.

That’s not saying much, but I’ll still take it.

For starters, the premise is great. I love the idea of such a draconian/creepy method of housing the world’s super powered criminals. Trapping them in their own Wayward Pines-type community—along with the whole mind warping thing—definitely feels like a step too far from a societal standpoint. What happens when S.H.I.E.L.D. decides to go from super villains to political dissenters?

On the other hand, this may be the best possible way to stop the revolving door of prison breaks, but predictably goes wrong and causes the entire system to fail. I know this had to happen for the sake of the narrative but when you add in the explanation for why it happened in the last issue (giving a guy with the power to build anything a job that involved lots of construction and raw materials!), it’s liable to make your eyes roll out of your head.

Fortunately, writer Nick Spencer does some great character work here to pick up some of the narrative slack. I absolutely love the way he voices Sam Wilson and Kobit. Same with Steve Rogers.

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Maria Hill… not so much.

Maybe I don’t read enough stuff with her in it, but Hill’s constant stream of corny jokes and one-liners seemed a little out of character, especially with how high the stakes are.

On the art side of things, Jesus Saiz’s pencils start off a little rough, but get much better by the end of the issue. There were a few odd panel sequencing choices scattered here and there, but Saiz’s knack for enhancing Spencer’s dialogue (and some great action sequences) helps to make up for it.

So all in all, I’d say this event is on the right track to (actually) be good. Sure, my expectations may have been low going in, but my self-righteous sense of EVENT FATIGUE was on full alert and ready to complain. Instead, I ended up with a story that has me excited to read the next installment.

Avengers Standoff: Assault On Pleasant Hill Alpha #1 Review
Great premise continues to provide an interesting backdrop for what could have easily been a very derivative eventAbsolutely love the way Spencer voices Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers...
..Maria Hill...not so much.Saiz's art gets stronger throughout the issues, but it's still plagued by a few bizarre paneling decisions.The 'perfect system failing trope' is in full effect.
7.5Good
Reader Rating 2 Votes
5.3