Brian Michael Bendis (W), Olivier Coipel (A), Justin Ponsor (CA)
Cover By: Olivier Coipel and Justin Ponsor
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Ten years ago, Marvel caught lightning in a bottle with Civil War written by the mercurial writer, Mark Millar. It was a quintessential post-9/11, Bush-era story. It questioned what should be the rights of a citizen, how much power the government should have, and how far one should go to protect their own rights. It pitted the eternal idealist Captain America against the pragmatic futurist, Iron Man in what cemented them as one of the all-time greatest super hero rivalries. A line was drawn that divides the entire super hero community over whether they have the right to be super heroes with private identities. It was overall critically acclaimed, sold gangbusters, and is, to this day, my favorite comic book crossover story. Heck, it was the story that brought me into comic books.
It also set off Marvel’s trend of releasing yearly universe-shaking crossovers. Secret Invasion and Siege were great stories. Those were followed by the panned (deservedly so, in my opinion) Fear Itself and Avengers versus X-Men. Age of Ultron was hated as well, though I found it a breath of fresh air compared to the two predecessors (it still wasn’t great though). A few middling stories later… Original Sin (which I liked), Axis (which I didn’t even read), and Secret Wars (II? III? anyway, I thought it was very good)—now some higher up at Marvel decided that there needed to be a second Civil War story, all-but certainly to capitalize on this year’s MCU movie release.
This isn’t technically the first issue of this new story. There was the Free Comic Book Day preview that showed Thanos coming to Earth after a prediction from the new seer, Ulysses. He kicks the crap out of the Ultimates, with Captain Marvel barely being able to take him down after he mortally wounds War Machine and She-Hulk.
This story takes place before that issue, centering around Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, and War Machine. She-Hulk is defending Jonathan Powers, the Jester, in court. She later meets up with Maria Hill for yet-to-be-revealed reasons. Captain Marvel is trying to hold it together being in charge of Alpha Flight, A-Force, and the Ultimates from the Triskellion. She is visited by Doctor Leonard Samson, sent by an unknown benefactor trying to check in on her. War Machine meets up with the President, who offers him a position as the Secretary of Defense. Meanwhile, Ulysses and another college student are hit by the Terrigen Cloud and undergo the transformation.
So how was it? Eh…uh… it’s okay. It has a lot of nice character moments with the three heroes. You can really feel how stressed and terrified Captain Marvels is. You can see how badly She-Hulk wants to protect the Jester. You can feel for how awe-struck War Machine is at the President’s offer.
Nothing really happens though. It’s all set-dressing for the story. But this could have been the opening to the number one. This didn’t really need to be its own issue, especially at a five-dollar price tag. I like how we are shown where each of these characters are at for the story, but this could really have been covered in far fewer pages in another comic.
Also, to get a little obsessive with continuity, Doc Samson acknowledges that had died (during the Fall of the Hulks story), but they intentionally skip around any sort of explanation.
Was it bad? No. Was it good? Not really either. It’s…okay. What pushes it over the line is the five-dollar price tag. That’s too much considering how little actually happens in the book. It’s not a necessary read, and what it does have could have been covered in the first few pages of another comic. Unless you are that dedicated to the story or that in love with any of these characters, give it a pass. Even then, Captain Marvel is in my Top 10 for Marvel, and I still felt a little ripped off with this book.
If you really want to know all the details? (Spoilers) The president says that he wants War Machine to run for president in the future. She-Hulk loses the case, and the Jester dies in prison (the second Jester to be a casualty of a Civil War). Ulysses breaks open of the cocoon and sees a completely eradicated city. There, now you can give it a pass.
Final Score: $5/10