The next chapter of the big Marvel summer event, Civil War II, is here and Tony Stark is really, really pissed off. An Inhuman who can see the future vividly is creating waves in the Marvel Universe and Tony Stark is riding that first wave of action. Is it good?
Civil War II #2 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? The Marvel summary reads:
As the Marvel Universe reels from the events of the first issue, Tony Stark decides to take matters (and the law) into his own hands and declares war on the Inhumans. But not everyone agrees with Tony’s perspective and they are willing to die trying to stop him.
Why does this book matter?
Brian Michael Bendis is the king of snarky dialogue, especially with multiple characters getting in on the chatter. That means we’re in for a colorful character-centric experience, but with David Marquez on pencils we’re also in for some epic artwork. I can’t imagine a better team to carry off a summer event, even if it’s a sequel.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Bendis continues to be very careful with the nuanced choices and moments that will dictate how characters act as the story progresses. The philosophical question of changing your actions if you know how the future will play out continues, which has created a wave that has set Tony on a mission to use his brain to make sure Ulysses (the Inhuman who can see the future) is actually a force for good. Bendis does well to make it clear Tony is acting erratic for a justified reason even if it’s a bit selfish. He’s not quite doing a straight up evil thing, but he’s certainly breaking the law and inadvertently starting a war. The summary suggests he’s starting a war on purpose, but really he’s doing so because he’s emotional. That doesn’t make him right, or even the good guy, but there’s some effort to make him look like less of a villain than he probably is.
A silent entry…
That’s interesting, and what makes this story (and the previous Civil War) so great is the gray area the characters go through to come to their decisions. You can’t fault Tony 100% because he’s upset, but as a hero with immense power he should know better. This and other ideas flow in the issue and make for good water cooler chatter. The Inhumans, Captain Marvel and others are all sort of right, especially when it involves life or death, so it’ll be interesting to see how the sides change and play out. Clearly actions are being taken that are immoral which will make waves as more and more actions are taken.
The art by Marquez continues to be quite nice with an adequate amount of panels showcasing multiple characters in order to make this feel epic and universe spanning. What sets Marquez’s penciling apart is how clean the action feels. Panel to panel it’s very easy to follow, even if there’s a big jump in action.
Again, Bendis is being very careful in order for the readers to be split on their views on the subject. Sure, Tony is pretty much coming off as an erratic villain, but when he “tortures” Ulysses it’s a minor shock. When the moment transpires you can tell the creators have held back just enough to make the act questionable and thus a topic for people to argue about.
It can’t be perfect can it?
That said, so far this is all about Tony Stark telling other characters what they should and shouldn’t do while doing whatever the hell he wants. How you can read this far and not think he’s the villain is beyond me. He still cracks jokes (how Spider-Man of him) and his anger only comes and goes (which makes him seem a bit crazy), but so far he’s only done the wrong thing in the wrong way. It’s obvious Bendis doesn’t want us thinking he’s the villain, but he’s certainly coming off as an arrogant jerk who probably shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions for everyone else.
The biggest issue I had with this comic is how it ends. The issue ends in an ambiguous way so it’s hard to tell if Tony is in trouble or not. The main thrust of the book is Tony’s actions and characters reacting to him, so it seems odd to leave that hanging. It might just be that there’s a huge swing that took place and we didn’t see it, because the last panel seems to suggest that maybe the non-Inhumans are on board with Tony. This could be a case of a tie-in resolving this ambiguity, but it makes the motivations unclear and ultimately this issue ends with the reader unsure what is going on exactly.
Get it together Tony!
Is It Good?
Essentially ending with two major cliffhangers, this issue continues to bring the summer event goods. It progresses the story just enough and the art is detailed and effective. The thought-provoking story is good too, and we once again see a war brewing toward some major clashes. Unfortunately a scene change makes it unclear how things have changed by the end and the only certainty is that more conflict is coming.