The reason behind all the fighting might be different, but the sequel to Marvel Comics’ 2006 hit “Civil War” crossover, Civil War II should still bring the “heroes fighting heroes” motif we comic fans can’t seem to get enough of.
Can Civil War II bring a compelling story and plausible enough reasons for the heroes to be haymakering each other within an inch of their lives just like the first? Is it good?
Civil War II #1 (Marvel Comics)
So what is this year’s big event about? The summary reads:
Ulysses – a young Inhuman with the power to profile the future has emerged. His new abilities send shockwaves through the superhuman community. Divided amongst themselves, will they use Ulysses to prevent danger before it happens? Or should they allow the future to unfold unaltered? As his new powers send shockwaves rippling across the Marvel Universe – battle lines will be drawn. Do you stand with Iron Man? Or will you side with Captain Marvel?
Why does this book matter?
It’s gotten to the point where if you’re a comic book fan you can no longer skip over big crossover events or you’ll be out of the loop. Movie theaters have their big summer blockbusters and Marvel’s trotting out their comic book equivalent. Bottom line: Civil War II is certainly the biggy this year for Marvel!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Writer Brian Michael Bendis sets the stage well with one hell of an opening as every major Marvel hero is brought in to fight a threat that’s end of days big. This issue is very good at feeling big and important. The crux of the “Civil War” conflict in this series is between two sides: Iron Man, who believes we should be careful with the power of seeing into the future and Captain Marvel, who thinks if we can see threats in the future we should use that to our advantage.
Both sides have solid points, but much like Minority Report (a movie everyone will be comparing this to), we must ask ourselves the question: is it fair to stop a crime before it’s even committed? At what point is it fair to the criminal, and beyond that is it worth it to change the future if it brings potentially far worse collateral damage? By opening the book with an end of world threat Bendis sets the stage for very strong opinions.
One of the joys of reading a comic by Bendis is his ability to give a variety of characters moments or bits of oftentimes clever and funny dialogue. This issue is no different. Bendis has a way of reminding you this universe is very big and it’s not all about two characters talking at each other, but instead a variety of characters standing around listening in on conversations and chipping in with their witticisms. If this issue is any indication we’re in for an event that involves everyone and that’s exciting.
The art by David Marquez is event caliber in its quality too. Big moments feel huge, characters are rendered in superb detail and when emotions fly there’s no confusion as to how upset these characters get; you certainly don’t want your Tony Stark looking smug or childish during emotionally significant scenes and in this issue when he’s holding back big boy tears and you feel his pain/rage. The opening battle with the Celestial/Galactus lookalike is quite a double page spread too (just look at the featured image on this article). We’re in good hands when the blockbuster summer event looks this big.
It can’t be perfect can it?
One issue with Tony Stark’s stance I take, at least in this first issue, is that he seems to be influenced by a close friend getting hurt more than anything else. Sure using information about the future is a wishy washy idea, but when your friend gets hurt your stance is solidified? Tony flies off in a rage in this issue which makes him somewhat villainous, not because he’s angry, but because he won’t talk or listen to the other heroes. Bendis casts him so far off base – especially with a certain injured hero standing by seeing into the future as good – that it makes this event feel very one sided. Sure, the original Civil War was pretty slanted too, but at least it allowed for the reader to understand each side. It’s hard to side with Tony based on how he’s acting and that’s unfortunate from a, “whose side are you on?” angle.
Test your might!
Though it’s important to the story I’m having a hard time gauging the importance of the Inhumans’ place in the world. It’s said that there are “trust issues” with them, but as of this issue it’s hard to tell if there’s a racism thing going on or not. Tony certainly doesn’t trust the Ulysses character, but his flying off the handle seems so erratic it’s hard to muster if his rage comes from a prejudicial place. Considering the Inhumans and their awkward place among the heroes is a big focus one could argue this issue doesn’t succeed in making a point about them one way or another.
Is It Good?
Aside from Iron Man flying off the handle like an erratic child – and the Inhumans’ place in the bigger picture of this story not being very clear when it should be – this issue does well to remind us comic book events are meant to be big and important. This has everything you’re looking for in a bombastic event series including the irrational characters!