Review: Civil War II #1 – Tony isn’t happy
Beware: This is spoiler country!
It’s here! The explosive first chapter in the comic event EVERYONE will be talking about. And we come out swinging with a blistering double-sized first issue from the creative team behind last year’s best-selling debut of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN and Miles Morales. A new Inhuman, with the ability to profile the future, emerges and the ramifications ripple into every corner of the Marvel Universe. Lines are drawn, bodies fall, and the Marvel Universe will be rocked to it’s very core. The action starts here!
Before we begin, it should be pointed out that I highly recommend reading the Free Comic Book Day issue of Civil War II in order to get the most out of Civil War II #1 as the story in that issue shows us another potentially catastrophic event forecast by a central Inhuman character – the appearance of Thanos on Earth, a situation that has consequences for characters involved in this part of the story.
We begin this issue right in the midst of a huge battle involving the best of the Marvel Universe’s mightiest heroes. Everyone is here, from the Avengers, many sorcerers, X-Men, all the way to the Inhumans. The threat this time is a gigantic “Celestial Destructor”, easily dispatched thanks to both the combined efforts of the heroes, as well as a warning from the newly evolved precognitive Inhuman – Ulysses. Ulysses has foreseen the ruin of the planet – death and destruction at the hands of this being.
During a round of celebratory drinks back at Stark Tower, the air is quickly soured after a discussion about how Ulysses’ abilities could be best utilised. On one hand, Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) believes that this is an opportunity to put into action her desires noted in the previous issue, to fight the future, to prevent crimes and disasters before they have the chance to occur. Iron Man (Tony Stark), however, is vehemently against this, stating that the fact they took down the celestial destructor means that it wasn’t the future Ulysses saw, but only a possible future. Carol and Tony get rather heated over their aired opinions, and already, rifts are starting to form between characters, sides are being chosen.
As an aside, unrelated to the story here, but after the recent controversial reveal regarding Captain America, I felt oddly uneasy about his presence among the heroes, despite the fact he didn’t actually do anything of note in this issue. It just didn’t feel right seeing him.
One of the best parts of this issue is that the leaders of each faction (Protect the Future / Fight the Future) not only have a moral stance on the issue of using an Inhuman to fight future crimes and disasters, but thanks to the death of two close friends, read that again, the death of two close friends provide our heroes with personal motivations.
The first death is a character that many people suspected would die in Captain America: Civil War – James Rhodes, War Machine. During the battle depicted in the Free Comic Book Day issue, Rhodie is fatally wounded by Thanos. Upon learning of his best friend’s fate, Stark is understandably outraged, laying all the blame, not upon Thanos, but rather on the head of Captain Marvel. If she never used the future-sight of Ulysses, Rhodie would still be alive. This firmly cements Tony’s position against using Ulysses’ power.
Back in the medical bay, we see another major player in the Marvel Universe lose their life as a result of the battle against Thanos. She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) is on her deathbed, life draining from her; Her last words to her friend, Captain Marvel, will define Carol’s role in the upcoming civil war – “It’s our future, Carol. Not his. Fight for it”, thus leaving the heavily wet-eyed Captain with the backing she needs to fight the good fight.
Of course, with this being the realm of comic book superheroes, I have very little doubt that these characters will eventually return to the land of the living, but for now, their “deaths” will propel the story forward and has created a great fissure among friends.
So for the most part, I really enjoyed this issue, but what about any negatives? Well, one thing that really stands out is the fact that She-Hulk seems to have done a complete switch-around on her thoughts since Civil War #0. In court, she fought resolutely for the ideal that one should not be punished for crimes they have yet to commit. Here, however, as mentioned, she seems to support Captain Marvel’s decision to use future-sight to prevent crimes before they even begin. It’s an odd decision to make in terms of writing, especially when the change in ideals happens in the very next issue.
It has to be said, the conflict that kick-started Marvel’s first Civil War event seemed a lot more impactful, and would believably cause a split between the many superheroes, whereas here, at this point in the story, the cause of Civil War II doesn’t seem to have the same effect on me as a reader. I am yet to be convinced that other heroes, that are not as closely associated to either Rhodie or She-Hulk would actually go to war with each other over what has happened so far. They would mourn, sure, but to actually engage in battle with friends?
Yet again, the art in this story-arc continues to be beautiful. I cannot fault the combined effort of David Marquez (pencils) and Justin Ponsor (colours) for their work here. From the vast pallet of colours from the battle against the Celestial, to the sombre scenes towards the end of the issue – the combination of Marquez and Ponsor really enhances the story telling.
So, what’s my position on the whole situation I hear you ask? Well, from the information we have to go on as of this point, I am completely on Tony Stark’s side – “Protect the future”. The ability to predict the future can lead to way too many problems, and corruption. I can easily see a dystopian future stemming from this kind of power. But as I say, we’ll see how the story continues. I’m sure there’ll be events, just as in Civil War I that will cause readers to switch sides. Ultimately, for the most part, despite a few nitpicks and issues with certain character choices, I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the story, and am incredibly excited to see what comes next…
Finally, dear readers, it’s over to you. Have the events of this issue given you an idea where your loyalties lie? Would you fight to protect the future, or fight to change it? Whatever your thoughts, let us know in the comments below. We would love to know your thoughts on the situation and any ideas you may have about the fate of the Marvel Universe.
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis.
Art by: David Marquez.
Cover by: Marko Djurdjevic.
Civil War II #1 is available now.
Image credits: Marvel Comics.