The turning point has come, and the Marvel Universe is ready to splinter… Your Major Spoilers review of Civil War II #1 awaits!
Previously in Civil War II: Since the restart of the Marvel Universe, Carol Danvers has taken on a proactive role, both as the commander of Alpha Flight station (Earth’s first line of defense) and as a member of The Ultimates, the team responsible for fixing the Galactus problem. For his part, Tony Stark has been rebuilding his life, rebuilding the Avengers and mentoring the new generation of heroes. What could possibly put them at odds?
NOBODY DOES THE TALKY-TALKY LIKE BENDIS
When we recently went over the original Civil War on the Major Spoilers Podcast, I complained that it felt like a series of vignettes that didn’t really connect as more than a roadmap to the bigger story being told in other books. This issue is somewhat more cohesive as a story, but still suffers from some of the same issues: We open with a young man named Ulysses running through the woods, only to find himself confronted with the Royal Family of the Inhumans, who offer him sanctuary. Cut to a massive crisis, as the various Avengers team, The Inhumans, and even the X-Men face a rogue Celestial, a danger they only became aware of thanks to Ulysses’ precognitive abilities. His powers are fascinating to Captain Marvel, who hopes to use them to save lives and prevent tragedies, but Iron Man immediately cautions her, throwing aside his usual characterization to somehow become a voice of caution and reason, warning her that it’s all a bad idea.
UNEXPECTED SHOCKING TWISTS
Of course, he’s right, and of course, it all goes very bad, with two relatively high-profile casualties and one enraged Iron Man flying away with clouded judgement. The final pages of the book are effective in conveying both Captain Marvel’s grief and a sense of foreboding, but it’s a payoff that doesn’t hit as hard as it could, thanks to the scattershot nature of the story. David Marquez delivers some gorgeous art in this issue, though, especially the big shots (The Inhumans arrival, the big assembled heroes shot and the real emotion conveyed by Carol and Tony during their argument are intense and impressive), but I find the coloring and effects to be a little bit distracting. Still, that’s a minor complaint in an issue that could be very divisive (both our big shock moments feel arbitrary, though one can make the case that real-life tragedies are, as well) and the central premise of the tale is less easily digested than the “Register/Don’t Register” rhetoric of the original.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A GOOD-LOOKING COMIC
All in all, it’s structurally identical to Civil War #1, featuring a triggering event, a lot of talky-talky and a final page promising big fighty-fighty to come. On the plus side, it features much better art, a less polarizing presentation of Iron Man and it tries harder to engage on an emotional level than the original, whether it succeeds in that aim or not. Civil War II #1 is a very expensive book that looks wonderful and reads merely okay, with the final decision for potential buyers being the question of whether six bucks for 36 actual pages of story is too much to pay for the book that is going to be the center of the Marvel Universe for at least six months, ending up with a better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall. It’s not a bad comic overall, and if the rest of Civil War II stays this good, it’s going to be better than many recent Marvel crossover mandates, the original C.W. included…