It’s finally here! After all the hype and ‘Road To Civil War’ tie-ins, we’ve reached Civil War II #1! The original Civil War story arc – now a major hit movie – represents a time in comic book fandom that was both exciting and divisive – can Marvel produce that same atmosphere again?
Their Free Comic Book Day issue and Civil War #0 somewhat set the stage for what readers are getting into here, revealing the death of War Machine at the hands of Thanos. However, we don’t get right into that and for good reason. Bendis starts this crossover with all of the mighty heroes of Earth standing together to stop a celestial being from destroying the world. We’re also introduced to Ulysses, a new Inhuman with the power to see the future, who will serve as the source of division between the two factions. And at first this concept seems pretty weightless and even a bit forced, but by the end of this issue things get heavy.
Marvel Comics is extremely different now than it was back in 2006-2007. The heroes that star in their main titles today are almost completely different and there was a conscious effort to include and exclude certain heroes and roles to set up this new universe. The first wave of the All New, All Different Marvel has been pretty great, but it needed something to bring it all altogether, to feel bigger and also more dangerous.
Civil War II is the first big crossover event with any universe-altering consequences and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Throughout this event and going forward, the actions of these characters will likely dictate how readers feel about them. It’s also a perfect way to sell the new heroes to those not yet reading them, giving them a chance to be fleshed out more. Bendis has a knack for crossover events of this size, and by the end of the book he proves why he’s the one writing Civil War II.
The dramatics don’t really begin until about the final ten pages, where War Machine is not the only hero to fall. Carol Danvers loses both her love interest in Rhodey and a close friend in She-Hulk – another shocking and heartbreaking bombshell right before the final page. There is a lot for readers to digest but one thing is for sure: choosing a side won’t be as clear cut as it was last time. Much like the Civil War movie, this improves on the depth of the issue at hand, which will hopefully lead to plenty of heated discussions around your local comic book shop.
The atmosphere Civil War II #1 sets is very epic and cinematic, which is even further solidified by the beautiful artwork. The depth to each panel and sharpness of each point of focus is brilliantly executed. The reader’s eye doesn’t get lost on anything it doesn’t need to, but that isn’t to say the pages are shallow. The emotional weight of every character and environment is seen and felt through Marquez and Ponsor’s perfectly blended teamwork. This is a comic book that may cost an extra dollar or two, but readers will see every penny at work in these pages, and we truly get what we pay for.
There isn’t much humor to Civil War II #1, other than a few quick lines, which sets the right tone for what’s to come. Bendis is taking this story very seriously and with the stage officially set, readers will be invested once they get through this hefty first chapter. All the makings of a well done crossover event are present and the gravity of how this will affect every character involved is laid out masterfully. There’s little doubt that Marvel is going to use this to shape the landscape for the universe in the coming years. The only question going forward is of course… whose side are you on?