Civil War II #0 Review

Civil War #0
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Oliver Coipel
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel

The shock of 2016, Marvel is publishing a sequel to the popular 2006 event, Civil War the same month that the feature film adaptation is released.

On a more serious note, this has come as a surprised to no one and you can’t really blame Marvel for it.  This is a sequel to a well known and well received(although polarizing) event coming out at a time when everyone is thinking about it, given the release of Captain American: Civil War.  Some people are up in arms, saying this is only a cash grab.  My response will be that all forms of media are a cash grab.  No comic book, novel, movie, or television series from a large company is released without the intention to make money.  It’s just smart business and all businesses need to make a profit, therefore allowing them to keep paying their employees which enables them to provide food and shelter for their families.  For some reason people fine that offensive but when it’s all said and done what should matter to the consumer is the execution and this event is off to a solid start, thanks due to its creative team.

Brian Michael Bendis is beloved over at Marvel and for good reason.  His work is for the majority of the time highly received and one thing that everyone agrees on is that he writes very gripping dialogue, captivating character moments, and intriguing starts to stories.  While Bendis has written more alluring openings to stories, Civil War II #0 still accomplishes its job and entices readers to return.

The issue follows Carol Danvers(Captain Marvel), Jennifer Walters(She-Hulk), and James Rhodes(War Machine).  All of them are observed in situations and conversations that’ll allude as to which side they’ll be on when Ulysses Inhuman abilities come into fruition.  All of them are portrayed in character, their dialogue comes out naturally, and nothing feels forced.  Which is one of the major problems in the original  Civil War by Mark Millar.  However this issue is completely lacking of any appearance of Iron Man, making this another book with a misleading cover.

For those of you who don’t know, Ulysses was your everyday Earthling who is hit by the Terrigen Mist and discovers that he’s an Inhuman.  Sounds like your typical origin story but what’s key is his new found gifts, the ability to profile the future.

This will of course cause polar opposite positions on whether or not to use his abilities to their advantage.  Is it better to look into the future in an attempt control it, hopping that you could improve upon the outcome?  Or is that going too far and we should reject it, letting our destinies unfold without interference.  Brian Michael Bendis is brining in the element of the fantastical to force the Marvel Universe’s characters to ask compelling and puzzling questions.  It’s not as grounded of a story as the original, which was one of the appeals of 2006 event, however as stated before it’s all about execution.  This story will definitely challenge people to critically think and question what is both ethically and morally right when given this level of power.  When determinism is pitted against free-will.

Before David Marquez comes in to pencil issues #1-#7, Bendis reunites with House of M collaborator Olivier Coipel.  Coipel is a well suited choice for this story, his visuals always give off a slight creepy tone to them.  As if everything may seem well at a the moment but will inevitably swing in any given time.  It gives the comic an unsettling mood where you know bad things are coming.  However one of the weaknesses in Coipel’s art is in portraying faces and expression.  It’s really mixed as there are some panels with well drawn, detailed, close to photo realistic faces.  That’s all bogged down unfortunately by instances of Rob Liefeld syndrome were characters are always squinting.  Rhodey for instance is seen in a conversation with the President and in the two page scene looks as if he’s asleep the whole time.  Justin Ponsor was a fitting addition on colors fortunately, giving us a very grim, disquieting, almost stoic mood throughout the comic.

Final Verdict

Marvel’s opening to its big summer event is off to a solid start thanks largely to its creative team.  Bendis is able introduce it’s characters in a way that’ll not confuse newcomers but also be engaging to regular readers.  All the characterizations are on point making it all the more intriguing to see what’s planned ahead.  Coipel has some really strong highlights in this issue but has some rather distracting hiccups.  Ponsor’s work is pin point perfect for the tone of this book and thankfully will be staying on when David Marquez takes over penciling duties.

Score: 4 out of 5

Review by Eric Bradach

 

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