Eric Bradach's The Comixalaxy

Civil War II #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: David Marquez
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: 06/01/16

Marvel's 2006's Civil War, written by Mark Millar is one of the most praised and influentially comic book events of the 21st century. It's the comic which created the cinematic vibe that the industry has today. People call it the comic book that'll gravitate everyday non-comic readers to the medium.

With that said, I'm not a fan. Don't get me wrong, there are intriguing ideas within the story, however I see this as a case of when a potential synopsis is met with poor execution. Fortunately the recent Captain America: Civil War deviated enough from the Mark Millar story to create one of the best superhero movies of all time. Giving me a little more hope that Civil War II would also learn from the mistakes of the original. In this sequel the polarizing issue isn't reminiscent of Bush politics, it instead deals with free-will versus determinism in the spirit of Minority Report.

The strength of this issue really goes to the credit of its writer, Brian Michael Bendis. Bendis has done a solid job of leading up to this conflict through the Civil War Free Comic Book Day(FCBD) issue and the #0 issue. It also greatly helps that he's writing the two ongoing Iron Man books, Invincible and International. This has given Bendis a chance to gain a grasp on Tony Stark and not have him act out of character when the conflict ensues.

What is the conflict you might ask. Earth is under attack by the Celestial Destructor and it's far too powerful for just the Avengers to take on. Eventually, a sizable fraction of the Marvel Universe's gallery of superheroes come to their support and thanks to the sorcerers, led by Doctor Strange, they're able to save mankind from certain doom. However in the aftermath celebration, held at Stark Tower, it's learned that the early warning of the attack came from the Inhumans. After questioning their queen, Medusa, how they knew the threat was coming, she reveals their secret weapon. A new Inhuman named Ulysses, who has the astonishing ability to see into the future.

This of course leads to polarizing views points that's sparked when Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), asks Ulysses if he's looking for a job. Stark jumps in as the opposition arguing that the extent of his powers are unknown nor do they know the probability ratio of his ability. He also plays out circumstances that'll cause them to take action when no crime has been committed. Asking both the characters and the readers whether it's right to punish someone for a crime they didn't commit but you know they were going to. Does that go too far? Or would you argue that it's acceptable in order to save lives? Are you in favor of free-will or determinism?

While this is a mature story, don't think it's lacking humor. The aftermath celebration at Stark Tower is reminiscent and obviously inspired by the party scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Here, Bendis provides us with some enjoyable banters and his witty dialogue.

Eventually trusts are shattered and friendships collapse towards the latter third of this double sized issue as Bendis wisely adds weight to characters arguments. We see consequences that could have been avoided had one character performed the requests of another. Guilt, responsibility, loss, grief, and animosity all come into fruition in the comics closing pages.

The current Invincible Iron Man has been solid throughout its short history but its later issues has been missing the touch of artists David Marquez and Justin Ponsor. Thankfully they're brought on to portray a visually outstanding comic book. The cosmic threat in the opening is drawn with vague detail and a fiery hue that makes it look intimidating and a legit threat. Marquez's pencils really shine though when he needs to capture the emotions of the characters, particularly Tony Stark. The artwork throughout has a nice sense of realism to it but allows for the fantastic, it's the perfect fit for this story.

Final Verdict

It's upsetting that we're getting another Marvel event that'll deviate writers from their current stories. Especially so soon after the exhaustion that was Secret Wars(2015). Fortunately Brian Michael Bendis has delivered a strong opening issue that'll hook readers investment. The motivations are genuine and not contrived, which was the biggest mistake of the original. Hopefully this will also lead to strong character development and if it's good, ramifications that'll impact future stories. With assistance from a stellar art team who deliver the goods as well, Civil War II #1 is definitely worth a read.

Score: 4 out of 5

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