A split-second decision forever changed the future of Clint Barton A.K.A Hawkeye, and maybe too the future of superheroes the world over. Or was the decision to kill Bruce Banner before he “hulked out” premeditated? And if it was, exactly WHO was doing the planning? In Civil War II: The Accused, those questions will be answered not on the battlefield, but in the courtroom … maybe. Is it believable? Is it interesting? And most importantly, is it good?
Civil War II: The Accused (Marvel Comics)
Newly side-switched prosecutor Matt “Seriously Guys, I’m Not Daredevil” Murdock is gonna make SURE that it’s good — or at least that it’s fair. That’s a bridge too far for his Justice Department partner who reminds him his allegiance is not to the truth, but to winning. Murdock rejects this idea when it becomes clear someone is stacking the deck against Barton, as sure a sign as any that this is comic fantasy and not the real world.
Is It Good?
But writer and former lawyer Marc Guggenheim does his best to root Civil War II: The Accused in actuality, and he largely succeeds. He even reasonably explains the expediency of Hawekeye’s trial, easily the most unbelievable part of the story. The characters cite precedent from previous super hero court cases and debate whether Banner’s posthumous video testimony is admissible or not.
If all that sounds neat, but not exactly the most exciting premise for a punch-’em-up book … you’re probably right. The dialogue is a bit too on-the-nose at times as well (even though we SWEAR this is not Minority Report!), and Barton’s possible desire for punishment doesn’t exactly jive with what’s seen in the main Civil War II series.
Ruth Redmond’s muted colors effectively set the somber and measured tone for Civil War II: The Accused. The pencils by Ramon Bachs and Garry Brown start cartoony and shaky, but soon settle down into what could be seen as a (MUCH) lesser Gabriel Hernandez Walta style, just the right fit for a grounded story. The panel progressions aren’t all that interesting, but there is one visual cue to remind the readers this is the arrow guy we’re talking about, and not Ulysses’ vision of Hydra Steve Rogers in an orange jumpsuit.
Civil War II: The Accused is the kind of story that was sadly absent in the aftermath of the original Civil War, and its ultimate bookend, Siege. It’s not perfect, but it is an important experiment in more intellectual super hero comics that convince the reader to think about the real implications of living in the Marvel Universe, and our own. Like the avenging archer himself, The Accused hits more than it misses.
Wait … archer … Guggenheim … Arrow — my God, it really WAS a conspiracy!