Marvel Comics’ Second Civil War continues this week with at least two comics, but is Marvel really all in on this event, or has it spread itself too thin with other current and upcoming events? Nevertheless, my reviews resume this week with Uncanny Inhumans #11 and Captain Marvel #6, as the side stories continue to shine more than the main series itself. Check them out, after the jump.
One thing I’ve noticed with Civil War II that did not happen with the first Marvel Civil War is that not everyone is participating in this big crossover event. I remember that Civil War logo style being on almost every comic Marvel published, but this time, not so much. Oh, it may look like everyone is there, but not every title and/or editorial office is participating. Seriously, out of the nearly 20 new Marvel Universe comics released this week, only two are related to Civil War II.
The Avengers are off in space; Captain America is off being Hydra; Black Panther is having his own amazing new series by Ta-Nehisi Coates; the X-Men are fighting in their own event – the Apocalypse Wars; Star-Lord, Spider-Man Miles Morales, and Venom are all busy on their own; and the Fantastic Four simply don’t exist any more. So who’s really fighting the Civil War? Is it just Brian Michael Bendis and what’s left of the Avengers teams? Add in all this “I Quit” and “Divided We Stand” nonsense, and I have to wonder if Marvel just has too many irons in the fire this summer…
Charles Soule Rules
After the events of Civil War II #2, where Iron Man kidnapped and lightly tortured young Ulysses, the Inhumans have decided to retaliate, but not in the usual way Marvel characters do these days – not with their fists or powers, but with their heads. I don’t know if I can properly express how much I enjoyed Uncanny Inhumans #11. I certainly missed the great art of Carlos Pacheco and was pleased by the visuals of the issue, but the real star of this book is Charles Soule.
I’ve talked about how surprising and refreshing I have found Soule’s work before here and more than a few times on The GAR! Podcast. Here, though, in this issue, he shines like I’ve never seen before. He gets the Inhumans as not many writers have since maybe Lee and Kirby, and he gets them right. They are regal, yet superior, yet alien, and in the story their actions are exactly that. And then there is the mastery of the narrative, who we are never really sure who is talking, but when we find out – wow.
Heroes and Villains
Stark has wronged them, so they attack Stark inclusively – not his company, not his teams, and not Iron Man. There are no vulgar fisticuffs or slugfests in the streets, just enough show of power to let him know he’s been beaten. And he is. And unlike the portrayals of Tony Stark I’ve seen so far in Civil War II, this is the man I grew up reading, not the maniacal super-villain of the last decade. I want this Tony Stark back, but based on what is happening elsewhere, I doubt that will happen. He’s headed to a breakdown for sure, possibly back to the bottle, and if rumors are true, to be replaced in the iron man armor as well. Shame. They should just give the Iron Man title(s) to Soule.
The narrative of the issue does not belong to Medusa or Karnak, as is much expected by the tone early on, but is that of Triton. I have never really been a fan of the character, and for years have been mystified by his popularity, appearing in Sub-Mariner stories and more recently in the Marvel Animated Universe with Ultimate Spider-Man, but I have to say that this turn surprised me, and made me more interested in Triton. Could Medusa’s non-violent actions against Stark really cause him to ally himself with Maximus the Mad? Color me intrigued.
As I opened Captain Marvel #6, I had some continuity surprises, but they were quickly explained. Besides her duties with the Ultimates (or A-Force, or A.I.M., or whatever – what is her team of Avengers called anyway? Wouldn’t it be better if the comic book titles actually reflected the name of the team?), she is also commander of Alpha Flight space station, kind of a new version of S.W.O.R.D., or before that, Starcore – and didn’t the Avengers have a space outpost back in the Kurt Busiek era, too? Either way, it was nice to see some of the old Alpha Flight characters again. I haven’t ventured north to see them since the John Byrne days myself.
As we learn, the space station is governed by a board of directors composed of representatives from not just Earth but other worlds as well. I kinda dig this idea, and combined with the talented writing team of Ruth Fletcher and Christos Gage, I might have to check out the first five issues of Captain Marvel. This board is worse than a UN meeting. And then they broach the subject of how the heroes of Earth knew about the Celestial Destructor, and the cat comes out of the bag regarding the Inhuman future telling technology – Ulysses is not mentioned, by Captain Marvel or Black Panther, who is on this board.
Business As Usual
That’s really all we get of the Civil War II connection. Henry Peter Gyrich is on point, and he gets final words with Captain Marvel, but I was kinda expecting the Black Panther to say something to Carol afterward in private, not Gyrich. That would have been more important that more Gyrich griping, I would think. The rest of the issue seems to be standard superhero fare, well done, but the usual stuff, as Captain Marvel fights Dr. Minerva over a bio-weapon that mutates a town.
This story obviously occurs before the events of Thanos’ attack and deaths of War Machine and (maybe) She-Hulk. Was this issue delayed? Or was it just an editorial problem of not setting all the pieces of the crossover event in line properly? Maybe the powers-that-be are too busy backpedaling on Captain America as a Hydra agent, or prepping for the next big crossover, to concentrate on the current one?
I really loved Uncanny Inhumans #11 even though I was prepared not to. The writing and the illustration were top notch throughout, and I even dug the debut of Mosaic. Even though it was probably shoehorned into the story, Soule made it seamless and welcome. Much like Triton, I’m interested in seeing more of Mosaic. And that said, I will be backlogging more of Charles Soule’s work as well, especially Uncanny Inhumans. Great stuff. One question though, in the aftermath of Civil War II #2, which the issue follows… where’s Ulysses?
I very much liked the character bits of the Captain Marvel issue, and the art and colors by Kris Anka and Matt Wilson were bright and superheroic, always a plus in these sadly grim and gritty days. There’s nothing wrong with superheroes doing the right thing in four color comics, despite what the Big Two might think these days. Like Uncanny Inhumans, I will be looking into past issues of this title as well.
As it seems, this crossover event is better in the side books than the main series, but time will tell… I’ll be back with more reviews of Marvel’s Civil War II event, and if you’d like to read my thoughts so far, click here.