(WARNING: This post will contain spoilers, sorry.)
I’ve been thinking long and hard about how best to review Civil War II, an event that hung over the second half of 2016. During this time, I’ve been able to assess where the general opinion stands on this event and I believe that this event wasn’t taken very well by fans. In light of this, I’ve decided to attempt to defend an event that, though not without fault, I found relatively enjoyable.
First, some of the problems I found with this event:
- Choosing a side – For those who’ve read it, I’m sure you can agree that choosing a side in the first Civil War, taking place in 2007, was actually a bit of a challenge. Both Captain America’s and Iron Man’s arguments had pros and cons that really left fans, I believe, on the fence trying to decide (I eventually fell on the side of Captain America, but lets not get into that…). This time around, I don’t know. I found the portrayal of Captain Marvel rather damaging, almost villainess, that made my siding with Iron Man almost instantaneous. For me, a major part of the original Civil War was that difficulty in choosing a side. I appreciate this event wasn’t the original but I feel like the choosing a side aspect is a crucial part of the event.
- The Death of Bruce Banner – I can appreciate the shock death of a character, so long as the reasoning behind it is justified. Personally, having read the Totally Awesome Hulk tie-in issues, the death had a bit more depth to it but I, personally, found it a little disappointing. Bruce Banner is an iconic character, in both his forms, and his death didn’t reflect that, for me.
Other than those two issues, I honestly rather enjoyed this event. Of course, other people have additional issues involving delays, additional issues and a rather hefty number of tie-ins but I’m going to focus on what I enjoyed.
First of all, the premise of the divide, I think, was fantastic. There is always a concern when you have a hero vs hero scenario that the reason will be pants but I found the whole predictive justice stuff to be a really good foundation for a story. The following of Ulysses’, the Inhuman at the centre of this event, development with his powers was good (If only a little neglected for more trivial matters, like brawling), especially for someone who doesn’t know a great deal about the process of first emerging from Terrigenesis. Despite my above issue, it did make me contemplate where I stood on an idea of arresting people before they commit a crime.
I also found the tie-in issues that I read really helped flesh the story out a fair bit. As mentioned, I was reading the Totally Awesome Hulk alongside this which was really helpful for the Hulk controversy. Seeing Amadeus Cho deal with the loss of his mentor was really emotional, peaking right at the end with his meet up with Hawkeye (The man who did the deed). Seeing them both reduced to tears was pretty tough reading. Ms Marvel was similarly really great in accompanying the main event. The breakdown of her relationship with Captain Marvel was almost as bad as seeing Cho struggle with his loss as, for anyone who follows Ms Marvel, Captain Marvel is a major inspiration for Kamala. Tie-in issues can be very irksome, adding to the already costly event title itself, but I did find that these two in particular really help expand the story. If you are looking to read Civil War II, I recommend trying to also read these two tie-ins in particular (Any other suggestions would be welcome in the comments, thank you).
The art work in this title was also exceptional. I wasn’t overly familiar with David Marquez‘s work but by golly am I glad I now am. His work has such great detail, really helped by great colour work, that is simply a joy to look at. Brian Michael Bendis was criticised a fair bit with this event but I honestly thought his work and the accompanying art made for an enjoyable story which, at the end of the day, is what matters. If you aren’t enjoying what you’re reading then what’s the point? (I now appreciate that you may have simply not enjoyed it. If so, fair enough.)
Finally, perhaps the best part of this event were the repercussions it had. The wheels were really set in motion for this years event, Secret Empire, which actually feels more planned, thought out (If it hasn’t been made clear, I’m very excited for this summer’s event). We also got some great new titles, Champions in particular proving to be a real gem (In my opinion). It also gave way to some new characters ascending to stardom, Riri Williams stepping up as Iron Heart and Nadia Pym taking up the mantle of Wasp proper. Where the event was lacking, it’s consequences pulled it up, in my opinion.
Civil War II wasn’t fantastic. Nevertheless, I don’t believe it was as bad as people say. It had an interesting premise, a pretty brilliant creative team and some fab tie-in series that really helped add some flesh to the bones of this event. I’m not saying you have to enjoy it, I can appreciate it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I just hope I’ve gone some way in perhaps presenting a different perspective. If you have any thoughts or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. I must ask that you keep it, well, civil but please note that I would love to hear where you stand and perhaps even have some friendly debate/ conversation on it. Thank you.
(The Image used is property of Marvel comics and the artist. I in no way lay claim to it.)