Civil War II #2 (Marvel Comics)
STORY: Brian Michael Bendis
ART: David Marquez (art), Justin Ponsor (colours)
SO! We have another big event from one of the Big-2 comic publishers, this one feeling by default like an attempt to get some push thanks to the big release and hubbub over the fantastically entertaining Captain America: Civil War that’s rampaging through theatres.
But the questions for me became these: Do we really need another Marvel event (or comic event at all) with heroes aimlessly fighting heroes? Could this actually be decent and not just a cash-grab or rehash? Is this just a gimmick or an entry on the list of Marvel efforts that are commendable and interesting steps in recent years?
Let’s find out shall we? The following is a review of the second issue as well as a retroactive one for the first issue via recap. (BE WARNED: Spoilers ahead!)
So, I had originally not planned on reading this event for two reasons:
1. I’m a little tired of event comics. Granted Marvels have been more bearable, but I feel like there are too many “big event comics” out in recent years and it’s started to become tiresome and frankly ignorable.
2. The premise is basically Minority Report. Just saying, but the premise is basically that and as much as I LOVE the concept and the moral/ethical debate around it, it’s a stretch for me to see how it would work as anything but a gimmick in a super-hero slug-fest.
That said, I continue to try and live by my principle to give all things a fair try (as I did with the DC Rebirth reviews in recent weeks and found some good surprises) and so I decided to read the first two issues and see what happened.
Well, the crux of it all started before this issue with a new inHuman who can see the future and future bad-things (you get the gist) and there’s some huge fighty stuff and Captain Marvel’s on board for using future-knowledge to prevent bad things and Tony/Iron Mans uncharacteristically opposed to her – though just barely, his experience in the previous Civil War and all could have been played out better to show how his regret drove his opposition to preemptive thinking, which would work if his character SINCE that event had done that at all instead of continuing to be Tony and fix problems that aren’t problems yet.
Oh and War Machine/Rhodey? He dead. Like dead-dead.
So this issue we have Tony on the run (sort of) with the young inHuman in tow. He’s kind of torture-y with the kid and seems unhinged. Fair enough, your best friends dead and you’ve been through a lot but still, the characterisation of Iron Man is not particularly realistic to me. I get what they’re going for, but it feels like when you are aiming for the bullseye but hit just outside the mark so it’s not quite right.
The event is clearly going to some length to continue Marvels integration and bolstering of the inHumans as a part of the MU, but I have to say that their solo titles have been far more impressive at doing that. In addition, there seems to be a lack of actual “war” so far and between that and the slow pacing of the things overall, it’s been… ho-hum. This issue tries to do a some heavy Iron Man character work, but given that I’ve not cared much for the characterisation thus far in the series, it bogs this issue down for me in terms of story-telling quality.
The big PLUS in the series thus far, the winner and biggest reason to read it at all, has been hands down the artwork. David Marquez does a pretty damned good job on the characters and the splashy layouts when needed and especially when he’s had to fill pages with a LOT of characters, his work is commendable and it’s easy to see why Marvel put this book in his hands! The nicest part is that he seems equally comfortable in the big-pages and in the quieter moments, something not all artists can pull off consistently. The great art is made even better thanks to the skillful colouring of Justin Ponsor who I plan to keep an eye out for in future comics as well, because from start to finish, his attention to detail and varied hand really adds a remarkable dimension to the proceedings – from grim/dark/moody moments to dynamic sequences to Tony’s armour to holo-displays, each stands out visually and is worth checking out!
THE LAST WORD:
A lacklustre story with mediocre characterisation that to me does no real justice to any of the characters or ideas in the event – two issues in this is not promising and likely means that I will hereby drop the event, reading only the tie-ins that happen to be part of monthly series’s that I’m actually following.
If you’re a comic art fan, definitely give it a look. I wouldn’t recommend paying for and following the series, honestly just borrow a friends and flip through. Not because the artists don’t deserve it, but because story is the driver of hype and sales and I can’t support paying constantly for events that are underwhelming and not deserving, no matter how magnificent the visuals on the page. Sorry David, I truly am!
One HUGE thing I’m finding though, that I think we all forget, is that events are not mandatory. Sometimes (and more and more off-late) it feels like you need to read the events as they happen in order not to miss out – but you know what? Fuck that. Every event happens, every event ends and once it’s ended, all series involved and even others, explain impacts if relevant and if you’re a regular reader of (for eg:) Daredevil or adjective-Hulk or Ms. Marvel or what-have-you, anything relevant, will get mentioned and at least basically explained. If you skip the event entirely, you’ll still be fine.
It’s like when you’re watching a movie or show about a war or even scifi/fantasy, you can be following a grunt-protagonist on the ground with the larger war in the background, but you don’t need all the details – a good story gives you the gist and focuses on it’s own story before, during and after said event. Good comics are the same.
Read it or not, it’s up to you – my personal recommendation is don’t. There are better comics out there, from Marvel itself in fact.
STORY SCORE: 3 / 10
ART SCORE: 7 / 10
OVERALL SCORE: 5.5 / 10