CIVIL WAR II
Spandex! Punching! Corporate synergy!
released OUT NOW! Publisher Marvel Comics
Writer Brian Michael Bendis Artists david Marquez, Justin Ponsor
Big, over-the-top “event” crossovers are a fact of life in mainstream superhero comics, and the saga that cemented this approach for Marvel was Civil War. A 2006/7 smash hit with an aftermath that affected the Marvel universe for years to come, Civil War is the yardstick that most subsequent event comics have been measured by – something that’s even harder to resist now that Marvel have finally hit the button marked “sequel”.
Civil War II is only a thematic follow-up, however – there are no real narrative connections, beyond a thorny moral question that splits the superhero ranks and Iron Man’s presence as one of the main protagonists. We’re three issues in (including the “issue zero” prologue) and so far, Civil War II centres on the discovery of a new Inhuman named Ulysses, who seems to have the ability to predict disasters and supervillain crimes before they happen.
As far as Tony Stark is concerned, Ulysses has an untested power with potentially dangerous consequences, but Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel) sees him as a way to save lives, and uses his abilities to foil an attack from intergalactic tyrant Thanos. Unfortunately, this battle also results in the death of James “War Machine” Rhodes, Tony’s best friend, and what was previously a disagreement spirals into a full-blown conflict where heroes have to pick sides.
The dilemma at the heart of Civil War II is a potentially interesting one – does knowledge of the future give you the right to change it? – but it also pushes the story into territory we’ve seen many times before. While veteran scripter Brian Michael Bendis tries hard to amp up the tension, assisted by gorgeous blockbusterstyle visuals from artists David Marquez and Oliver Coipel, the central conflict plays as forced, contrived and over-familiar.
It doesn’t help that the original Civil War’s focus on superhero responsibility and secret identities gave it a strong, easily-grasped plot
Lacks any real sense of freshness or genuine excitement
hook. There were few simple answers to the moral questions that series raised, while this sequel seems to primarily exist thanks to corporate synergy – cashing in on the release of Captain America: Civil War.
The conflict here just isn’t as compelling, lacking any real sense of freshness or genuine excitement. It’s also easy to predict that Ulysses’ powers will ultimately have a dark side and that Tony Stark will be proven right in the end. Civil War II is a slickly produced superhero spectacle and might redeem itself in later issues, but right now it’s a lacklustre sequel that’s failing to escape the shadow of its predecessor. Saxon Bullock
US cable channel Cinemax is currently developing a TV adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis’s gritty thriller comic Scarlet.
The “Srabam” makes it extra painful.