As an X-men fan, I’m saddened to see that none of the franchises team books are all that special right now. Extraordinary X-Men is slow, dull and way too depressing for a flagship title. All-New X-Men has its moments and I like the concept, but it doesn’t feel like a focused series, not to mention that Laura Kinney, my favourite X-Men character, is horrendously out of character so far. Uncanny X-Men seemed alright from what I’ve read of it, and it’s getting great reception online, but I’m sick of Greg Land’s art and dropped it after issue 2. So when X-Men: Civil War II was announced, I hoped for some sort of good X-Men tie-in to Marvel’s newest event.
The first issue of X-Men: Civil War II is pretty good. It set up its plot quickly, established most characters’ opinions on Ulysses, the inhuman with precognitive abilities, and gave us a great opening action scene. This issue isn’t quite as good, but it’s still got some great character moments and well balanced points of view. Magneto, while very nervous about the Inhumans’ newfound ability to predict the future, is taking a balanced approach and wants more information before he does anything about it. When one of his team members wants to leave, he lets them, refusing to keep his fellow mutants prisoner. It shows how far he’s come since his terrorist days, even if he’s by no means a hero.
Storm’s team on the other hand is actively working with Ulysses’s predictions, stopping a Brood attack alongside Captain Marvel. That’s a nice touch considering Carol Danvers was involved in the original Brood Saga. So far, each character’s thoughts on the debate feel in character, even if a few of the sides they choose is a bit surprising. There’s also a fun duel between Gambit and Fantomex in New Attilan, where they both utilize their powers against each other and to make sure they’re not caught. It’s hard to tell exactly where this mini-series will go from here, but it feels like it’s building up to something big. And last but not least, writer Cullen Bunn’s Storm is so much better here than in Extraordinary X-Men.
The art by Andrea Broccardo isn’t as good as the writing, but it’s fine. There’s often a good amount of background details, and there’s good amount of blood in the opening Brood fight. Facial expressions do a good job at conveying emotion, but some characters, like Magneto, look way too young, while others have weird facial proportions. There’s one large panel toward the start where Magik holds her sword in a very awkward manner, but there are other times when there’s great use of body language. The colouring by Jesus Aburtov is good for the most part. Everything is colourful and appealing at first glance, but there are times when characters’ eyes are just a blob of white, and Nightcrawler’s eyes seem to keep changing colours. These problems don’t ruin the art, but they certainly hold it back.
The problems in the art hold back what is otherwise a pretty strong comic. The story is moving at a fast pace, yet there’s more than enough room for every character to sum up their thoughts. The action is fun, and you don’t need to read the main event to understand what’s going on. If you’re starving for a good X-Men team book like me, this could very well help hold you over. If you’re interested in the X-Men’s thoughts on the new Civil War, definitely give this a chance.
7/10 (with better art, it would probably be an 8)