Yet again, my pull list this week only has 4 comics, so I’ll skip the first impressions and just review them all. First up is the third issue of Marvel’s second Civil War event comic. Well … it’s the fifth if you include the Free Comic Book Day issue and Civil War II 0. Whereas the first civil war truly began in the second issue, this seems to be the one that will split the superheroes right down the middle with a death that would be surprising if it didn’t leak online yesterday. Still, I won’t spoil it.
Civil War II 3 begins exactly where the previous issue left off, with Captain Marvel confronting Bruce Banner in his newest secret lab. Tony Stark soon joins her, without an Iron Man suit, and a whole bunch of superheroes are waiting outside. Most of this scene, and a following court room scene, is made up of confrontational dialogue, but it still feels quite intense. There’s a brief scene toward the end that says Tony’s analyzation of Ulysse’s mind (the inhuman who can predict the future) is complete, but it teases us with the promise of a reveal in the next issue.
On the one hand, Brian Michael Bendis’s writing is very good in this issue. He tosses in a tense situation that, while most readers will side toward one side or the other, there doesn’t seem to be a clear right answer to what happened during the confrontation. The pacing is also much better than the first two issues, and there’s enough space dedicated to showing a couple younger superheroes choosing sides without wasting time. On the other hand, the entire confrontation scene could have easily fit into issue 2 if it was paced better. As a result, we’re 3 issues into Civil War II (or 5 depending on your perspective) and there still isn’t an actual civil war yet, just the clear makings of one. Then again, this is normal for a Bendis led event.
David Marquez’s art is fantastic. The opening page in the court house is complete with a large audience, the prosecuting and defendant tables and the jury to the side, complete with sunlight shining through the windows and the judge with his laptop computer. Everything in this opening page is very well detailed, and that detail continues throughout the issue. Facial expressions both look realistic and perfectly show characters’ emotions. In the spread with a whole bunch of superheroes, there’s a wide variety of characters that look proportionally correct, and even those further in the background have some fine details on their costumes, not to mention the background complete with a shield helicarrier, the sun peeking through he clouds and the hills in the distance complete with trees. Justin Ponsor’s colouring brings the art to life with some panels being bright and colourful, while the courtroom scenes are darker and make great use of shading.
As an individual issue, this is easily the best entry in Civil War II so far, but it also highlights the slow pace of the event as a whole, making it hard to justify the $5 an issue price tag. As usual, the art is the real highlight. This event is still intriguing in that it could go in a number of directions, but it needs to actually go in those directions soon if it wants to keep readers’ attention at its steep price point.