With a title like Civil War II, everyone knew there was bound to be a huge superhero brawl sooner or later in this year’s main Marvel event. 5 issues into the 8 issue event, that brawl is finally happening. In fact, this entire issue is that brawl.
For the most part, this issue is fun. The fight scene is well handled in its general execution, both by Brian Michael Bendis’s writing and by David Marquez’s art. Even with the huge mix of characters in the fight, it’s easy to figure out what’s happening. Thanks to the fact that it often focuses on one particular duel or brawl for a full page, there’s actually a sense of progress, unlike some events where each little scrap gets one panel here and there. It kind of feels like the brawl in the Captain America: Civil War movie in that sense.
That said, it’s hard to put much substance in an action issue like this. The story doesn’t progress much, and the comic barely tries to explain why certain characters are on which side. Instead, they’re either interrupted before they can explain, or they brag about how they’re smarter than their opponent. That’s not out of place for this kind of brawl, but it makes it hard to care about anyone who isn’t one of this event’s central characters. Also, some of these matchups make no sense. Storm and Iceman taking down Dr. Strange? NOPE! Kate Bishop knocking out Magik? NOPE! Also, Starlord picking Captain Marvel’s side really make sense, and his brief speech fails to convince me otherwise. Meanwhile, Ulysses gets another one of his apocalyptic visions, and something unexplained with his powers lets him share that vision with everyone else.
Without saying who, this vision shows one hero killing another. Somehow this halts the entire fight, and it ends with Captain Marvel announcing one particular hero’s arrest. It feels kind of rushed, and it makes it hard to sympathise with Captain Marvel’s side when she flat out arrests someone for something they haven’t done yet. The comic is walking on a very thin line here, and depending on how the next issue handles this, it could be the point where this comic goes downhill fast.
Like I said earlier, Marquez’s art is fantastic. Every single panel is full of some kind of detail, whether it’s looking at the statue of liberty in the background, complete with shadows, the trees on the ground or the NYC tour helicopter flying above it. The spread of the two sides charging at each other, while a bit cliché, is worthy of being a poster. Magik looks downright scary when she starts throwing her powers around, and after Miles Morales hits Venom with venom blasts, the mangled goo on the ground looks straight out of a horror movie in all the right ways. The cracks in Iron Man’s armor toward the end of the comic are also well detailed. Justin Ponsor’s colouring is also excellent. Everything is bright and colourful, and there’s great use of shadow work and reflections. Put this all together, and there are some panels that almost look like photos, if it weren’t for flying heroes and energy beams.
This comic started off fun and the fantastic art makes this a joy to look at, but the last couple of pages might have made the same kind of mistake that the original Civil War event did. At one point in the original, Iron Man’s side became irredeemable. I’ve already seen both reviews and comments saying the same of today’s issue and it’s hard to argue with them. If you’ve been enjoying the event so far, this is at least worth a look, but read it before you buy it. If you’re skeptical of this event, this issue certainly won’t change your mind.
Because I’m not yet sure how I feel about this comic’s ending, I won’t give a review score. Ignoring the ending, I’d give this a 7/10 (6/10 for writing, 10/10 for art).