Civil War II started a few weeks ago with an emotional and somewhat shocking first issue. After a few tie-ins (one of them being quite Amazing) the stage is set for lines to be drawn and sides to be chosen by the big names in Marvel Comics. Despite being such a big event, there isn’t much noise being made thus far about Civil War II. Does this issue make the case for it deserving more attention and grab the focus of those not buying in already?
Before Civil War II #2 even begins, the summary answers a big question readers had following #1 – is She-Hulk dead? The answer is NO! Thank goodness, she’s just barely alive in a coma! She was more fortunate than our dear departed American hero, Colonel James Rhodes AKA War Machine.
Tony Stark continues to not handle the news about his best friend being killed very well and decides to infiltrate the home of the Inhumans, New Atillan, in an attempt to kidnap Ulysses (the newest Inhuman at the center of this event). This surprised literally no one as he is quickly confronted by Medusa, who was tipped off by Captain Marvel, that he may try to do exactly what he’s doing. A confrontation breaks out, which is actually a distraction allowing Tony to grab the kid and jet out of there.
Stark then “tortures” Ulysses, trying to understand his power before he goes to war with his friends over it. Once again, everybody sees his next move coming as the Inhumans and Avengers all show up to force Tony to answer for what he’s done. In the middle of all this commotion, Ulysses has one of his visions (which are now projected to others in close proximity, apparently) and everyone sees a future in which a naked Hulk has killed all the heroes.
Still waiting for the moment where everyone has clearly chosen sides? Yeah, me too. Now, despite my adoration for Jennifer Walters, her being in a coma completely downgrades the dramatic end to Civil War II #1. That flat-line cliffhanger caught me completely by surprise and was such a good moment for Carol Danvers to justify her cause. That wasn’t the only thing about the first issue that took a step backwards here in issue two; it seemed very clear that the stakes were high and the debate had begun, we just needed to see how the other major players felt about it.
The urgency of this giant crossover event had the air completely taken out of it in this issue. At the end of Civil War II #2, readers are introduced to a new threat and almost new plot entirely – which is just an odd direction for the story to go in. Bendis has handled stories of this magnitude before and delivered, I will undoubtedly give him the benefit of the doubt here. Perhaps this is all clever misdirection and what all these heroes will disagree on hasn’t even happened yet; doubtful but still a possibility.
Even if this story really goes nowhere and Bendis somehow churns out a stinker, it’ll still be worth picking up for the beautiful art. The thing that’s most disappointing about this book is that readers are being given artwork that satisfies their comic book hunger but the story simply isn’t up to par. Marquez and Ponsor give these characters so much life and expression that it almost makes up for the lack of emotional involvement conveyed in the story. I’m fairly certain the only reason Beast being with the Inhumans doesn’t stick out as uncomfortably as it should due to how great the panels of them together look. Although there is a scene where Beast looks a lot like Nosferatu, it’s still better than when he looked like a cat person. The art team is the saving grace of this issue.
Civil War II #2 felt more like the first chapter of a different story, not a continuation of what started in issue #1. Not to say that this Hulk plot doesn’t seem interesting and crossover worthy, it’s just that we were already invested in what was going on at first and now there is this; all of which still doesn’t feel much like a Civil War yet. I still have high hopes for the remainder of this event, and all the glorious tie-ins. It’s just that this issue in particular does not live up to the giant crossover event issues we’ve been treated to in the past – especially ones written by Bendis. Civil War II #2 is not an awful issue, but it is a book that’s dragging its heels and already changing direction; still, it’s nowhere near enough to keep me from reading Civil War II #3!