Let’s get readyyyyy to rumble! — Michael Buffer voice.
That’s right, folks; in Civil War II #5, it’s Carol’s side vs. Iron Man’s side. Stubbornness vs. stubbornness! Arrest people via visions vs. Don’t arrest people via visions! How will this all turn out?!
Civil War II #5 (Marvel Comics)
Civil War II #5 in a nutshell: Long fight scene and then TWIST! As you might have anticipated, this issue is mostly one long fight scene as Carol and Iron Man’s respective teams go head to head over their irreconcilable ideologies. That’s pretty much the meat of the issue until the very end when we are hit with a familiar twist (the kind of situation you’d think these characters would be weary of due to past occurrences ((::cough::thefirstCivilWar::cough::)) but apparently not.). As such, the comic goes by in a flash and there’s really not much to chew on here. While I was happy to get to the action, I was hoping for a better balance of story and action and not just doubling down one of the two.
Since there isn’t much to the story, let’s talk character. The issue features many head to head fights between heroes while they simultaneously explain why they chose their particular side. If you thought you had a good grasp of the various characters’ power levels, capabilities or important personality traits going into the fight — think again, because in Civil War II #5, the characters’ strength levels and personalities are all over the place. Kate Bishop beats Magik, Storm and Iceman beat Dr. Strange, Peter Quill’s “reasoning” for picking his side doesn’t align well with his usual personality, etc. Plus, the continuity of this comic is contradictory to the tie-in comics, like Power Man and Iron Fist (didn’t Luke Cage decide not to get involved with this event?). The characterization and hazy continuity are questionable here for certain, though if you are not at all familiar with the Marvel universe, this may not bother you as much as it would for others.
Careful there Cap or you might swallow a big June bug.
Writer Brian Michael Bendis’ pacing is very quick in this issue as he jumps back and forth between different characters all over the battlefield. The dialogue isn’t bad, though it does exhibit some of Bendis’ ticks such as the many word balloons and overuse of short sentences. Characterization is messy like mentioned, especially given how uncaring the heroes seem to be about collateral damage around them. There’s also the ending itself which I found to have a lot of problems, like how the circumstances don’t make sense and it paints a certain character in an even worse light. I can’t go into the details for fear of spoilers (let’s just say Ulysses has another intense vision), but the whole scene doesn’t go down as very well executed, in my opinion.
David Marquez’s amazing artwork remains a highlight of the series. His characters are vibrant, expressive and enhance the emotion of any given moment throughout (the ending, despite its problems, looks great and evokes a strong sense of tragedy). The layouts are good and the action is depicted very well; there’s also really a great sense of motion and energy in the fight scenes. It’s a fantastic looking book overall, although there were a few gripes, such as the inking quality and style seeming to vary in a lot of different panels; some really awkward and body breaking poses (Captain Marvel has a few where one of her legs will disappear), and minor continuity of where characters are positioned from one panel to the next is often messed up. While the art is great, it just doesn’t feel as strong as it did in previous issues.
Is It Good?
Civil War II #5 is a step down from the last issue. While we finally got the action we were promised from the very beginning, we sacrificed story progression for it, outside of a very questionable ending. The writing had a lot of problems, especially when it comes to character depiction, and the artwork, while amazing, has some slipups as well. This is the weakest issue of this event by far, so hopefully things can bounce back somehow next time around.