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Glenn Walker Reviews Civil War II #2

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There’s a war brewing between the superheroes, a division between Iron Man and the Avengers and Captain Marvel and the Ultimates, marked by the deaths of War Machine and She-Hulk. An Inhuman named Ulysses has emerged with the ability to predict the future. Should his powers be used to protect the future or change the future? Battle lines are being drawn, meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Civil War II #2.

Different Dynamics

The first thing that becomes apparent in opening my copy of Civil War II #2 is the roll call page, listing the characters involved in this event. I’ve already talked about these new Earth-616 Ultimates here, and it seems like the Avengers are diversity-fueled and youth-injected, with a membership that includes Sam Wilson as Captain America, Jane Foster as Thor, Miles Morales as Spider-Man, as well as Nova and Ms. Marvel, plus an Iron Man and a Vision who may or may not be the ones I know and love. Of course in a world where Steve Rogers has always been a Hydra agent, why should I trust any of them, right?

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The thing that surprised me however is the listing of characters under the title of The Inhumans. It may be a matter of semantics, but when one is talking about Inhumans, one is talking about anyone of that Kree-descended race affected by the terrigen mists, but when one is talking The Inhumans, it’s the Royal Family of Attilan that is meant. However here in the new dynamic, the Human Torch and the Beast have joined what seems to have become a team, rather than a family. Also Attilan, the most well known of the Inhuman cities (several others were revealed in Infinity), now New Attilan, currently rests on the Hudson River Estuary.

Iron Man vs. the Inhumans

The story begins with Iron Man back playing villain in stealth mode as he breaks in to New Attilan and stands over the sleeping Ulysses like a creeper. What the hell? Tony Stark wasn’t always a nice guy, but I remember back in the day I could still root for him. For the last decade and a half however, he is simply despicable, so much so when indications pointed toward his possibly becoming Kang, all I could do is slap my head and say, “of course.” Shouldn’t we like Tony just a little bit more now that Cap is Hydra?

aciv3Idiot or intruder, Iron Man proceeds to engage the Inhumans in combat. Not because I’m subconsciously rooting for the Inhumans, but I did expect them to fare better against Stark, but it is Brian Michael Bendis writing, and uncharacteristic behavior is his trademark, especially in crossover events. I was disappointed that we didn’t find out exactly how Iron Man’s decoy armor baffled Karnak’s abilities – that should have been a slam-dunk for the Inhumans. Shouldn’t Crystal have better insight on fighting Iron Man from her time as an Avenger? And speaking of Avengers, since when doesn’t the Beast fight Tony Stark? They have fought at least half a dozen times, according to my fuzzy memory, and hell, Hank has won once or twice!

Retaliation

As suggested by coming attractions, Iron Man has effectively declared war on the Inhumans by kidnapping Ulysses. So the Inhumans bring the fight to Stark, specifically Stark Tower, an idea so dumb that if the reader doesn’t get that, Maria Hill is there to dumb it down for us. Iron Man is not going to hold his hostage in the one place the world knows that he lives. Nevertheless that’s where the Inhumans go, and try to stop Karnak from tearing the building down. Didn’t Karnak used to be monk-like? Where did this anger come from? Did it come with his ugly new thug hoodie? Sorry, not a fan. Jack Kirby designs should not be messed with.

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The Ultimates, along with Maria Hill and about a hundred S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, arrive on the scene to stop them. A hundred S.H.I.E.L.D. agents? Yeah, count them. I am a fan of David Marquez’ art, but I had to wonder if Bendis’ script called for the Scarlet Witch bending reality like when the Kree attacked in Disassembled. Surely so many agents aren’t needed alongside a superhero team that includes Captain Marvel, Thor, Spectrum, and the Vision, right? And definitely not an Inhumans team, lacking Black Bolt, that just got bested by an empty Iron Man armor and an extra-bright flashlight… Watch as I raise my fist to the sky, emulate Kirk in Wrath of Khan, and scream, “Bendisss!”

Iron Bastard

Imagine if you will, a man kidnaps a teenage boy. The man ties him up and starts attaching wires and such to him. The man hits him, and threatens to hit him again. If you read about this exchange in the news, you’d be enraged. The man is the bad guy, right? No, that man is Iron Man, and Ulysses is his victim. I can’t be the only one out here disturbed by this. The behavior could be Stark’s passion over this predictive power of Ulysses, or it could be Stark having a mental breakdown over the death of his best friend. No matter which, I do not like this turn of character nor this sequence of events.

aciv5An army of heroes – the Ultimates, the Avengers, the Inhumans, and Hawkeye (because it’s not a Bendis story without Hawkeye to make fun of) – show up to stop the torture of a child by someone I used to think of as a hero. In the end, Stark gets what he wants – Ulysses has a vision, one that serves as our cliffhanger. The Hulk, notably gigantic, pantless, and probably or probably not Amadeus Cho, kills them all. Yep, you got it, the Hulk kills them all. As we close, Captain Marvel pays a visit to Bruce Banner in his lab…

My Ulysses Theory

During the disturbing hostage sequence, Stark throws out some ideas as to what he believes may be influencing Ulysses’ visions – his genetics and heritage, his emotions, his biases, his personality. I think that despite his evil actions, Stark might have a point. Iron Man was hitting Ulysses, pissing him off, causing eventually a vision. And what is that vision? The Hulk killing them all – killing those who keep bothering and harassing him. And that vision is stronger than ever, thrusting itself into everyone’s minds, so that they can feel the rage of the vision.

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What if the visions were not simply precognition, what if they were just the tip of the psychic iceberg? Could the visions specifically be a projection of Ulysses’ anger at the heroes? What better way to get back at them than to kill them all? What if this power isn’t just precognition, but also some sort of mind control or wish fulfillment? I guess we wait and see, folks.

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About Glenn Walker

Glenn Walker is a professional writer, and editor-in-chief and contributing writer at Biff Bam Pop!. A blogger, podcaster, and reviewer of pop culture in all its forms, he's done stints in radio, journalism and video retail. Ask him anything about movies, television, music, or especially comics or French fries, and you’ll be hard pressed to stump him or shut him up.

Posted on June 17, 2016, in Avengers, comics, Glenn Walker, Marvel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Glenn,

    While I’ve been following your *ahem* commentary since you’ve started reviewing the Marvel books again on the regular, let me say outta the box that this isn’t a glowing “welcome back” thumbs up. Between the reviews and the podcast, this has been kinda snowballing over the weeks but your latest kinda brings it all to a head.

    As always, you are certainly entitled to your opinions but the amount of “journalistic objectivity” coming from such a self-proclaimed “professional writer” leaves a bit to be desired. Citing from the above offering alone, what makes your- Glenn Walker’s- copy of the recap page any different from anyone else’s? Why this declaratively possessive posturing? Is it necessary? Is something special about your copy because it’s yours-Glenn Walker- and this needs to be acknowledged? I mean, I got the same copy- so, big sigh of relief, Marvel isn’t out to get just you- Glenn Walker- by planting Beast on the Uncanny Inhumans in just the version you read.

    To which, a quick tooling around Marvel’s wikia and/or other databases/websites is very helpful in fact-checking and filling in blanks (ie, where you can plainly see that Travel Foreman is indeed not the “new, upcoming talent on the rise” you portrayed him to be just b/c you weren’t personally familiar)…

    Also the whole “meet me after the jump” thing? What is this jump to which you constantly refer? I see it there stock at the end of every first paragraph of every one of your reviews… and then I just scroll down to the next paragraph and continue reading, uninterrupted. Is this a catchphrase or just lazy, crouton-esque sentence filler? I understand it has more to do with the “featured article” front-pageyness day-of as the article releases on the site- but it doesn’t stay there, nor does everyone read it from that routed format. Food for thought but probably just assume the reader has read the first bit, so don’t stand on ceremony and invite them to continue on- just frikkin’ take them to the next thing you have to say already!

    Agreed that the current issue of CWII didn’t exactly propel to new heights from the opening salvo(s) but it seems that the amount of time you spent talking the salient points of this week’s installment versus nursing some slightly-skewed old wounds is also disproportionate. I mean, I don’t even know what your final, analytical take-away on the book itself is. And I read your review twice.

    I know I read a scene-for-scene “book report”-style recap of something I myself read that frequently overshadowed brief glimpses of critical perspective. Even sadder, it just kinda trails off with a casual “to be continued” just as you were starting to dig into some provocative stuff- just because it was (conveniently) in the same paragraph where the comic action cliffhangers.

    Look, I get that Bendis isn’t your thing. In that case, can you honestly ask yourself if you’re even capable of objectively covering this material? (Tony’s been a known “grey area hero” at least since the Armor Wars of 87-88, oh selective memory…)

    No offense but how are your long-standing fanboy hang-ups and, yes, biases pertinent to the subject matter du jour? Why is it so important that comics must perpetually pay tribute to you and your retro-tinged predilections?

    Make no mistake, I mean all of this in the most constructive way possible but, seriously, consider this a challenge for more objectivity.

    Please and thank you.

  2. That’s great, Matt, thanks for reading.

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