Civil War II: X-Men #1 Review

Civil War II: X-Men #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Pencils: Andrea Braccardo
Colors: Jesus Aburtov
Letters: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel

Marvel’s sequel to 2006’s Civil War is in full swing and with that of course comes the abundance of tie-ins.  Amongst the onslaught of tie-ins they will always be splint into two categories, those that feel like contrived filler only to create more revenue, and those that naturally tie into the grander events.  One long standing franchise that’s never far from tying itself to the greater sumer event story is the X-Men.  Fortunately this 4 issue mini-series has the impression that it’ll be executed as the latter.

The Terrigen Mists continue to circle the globe and fuel the ever growing Inhuman population.  However it’s proven to be harmful to mutantkind and has suppressed their manifestation which understandably caused tension amongst the two nations.

The comic opens in Dubai as a group of unlikable snobby one-percenter mutants have sealed themselves away from the oncoming Terrigen Mists.  Unsurprisingly they’ve neither bothered to help or show sympathy for those less fortunate.  This doesn’t sit well with Magneto as he along with Psylocke, Monet, and Sabertooth force their way in and bring the unprotected mutants in the city to refuge.  However all is not well as sentinels have infiltrated the haven and begin to reek havoc.  Storm and her team of X-Men come to their aid and when it’s all said and done, it’s revealed that Storm was made aware of these events thanks to Ulysses, the Inhuman who can foresee into the future and the focal point of Civil War II.  Divisions are made over whether Ulysses is friend or foe which brings us to one of two gripes in this comic.

It’s a bit too by the numbers as you can easily guess who sides with Ulysses and the Inhumans as potential allies and those who see them as a threat that calls for war.  It steps too much into familiar territory but it’s all about execution.  The story is well paced and it’s a naturally fit for the circumstances that our protagonists face.  Writer Cullen Bunn also supplements us with a few characters standing in a grey area when faced with the ultimatum and a twist at the issues closing that’ll intrigue readers to return.

The other nagging problem is that all the X-Men team comics are currently in a cross-over themselves, the Apocalypse Wars.  These two teams are busy with their own stories and it’s not quite clear as to when this story takes place.  It’s one of the major problems with big event stories and today’s comic book industry as a whole.  Causing writers to deviate from their own self contained stories to tie into grand summer events only to sell more books.

Cullen Bunn has been writing Magneto since early 2014 and it shows.  His characterization is spot on and he continues to be one of the most intriguing characters in comics.  He’s a man who’s dealt with prejudice since early childhood and will put himself in harms way to protect other mutants.  You may not agree with the actions in which he takes to accomplish his goals(or maybe you do) but you can definitely understand his mindset.  Erik Lehnsherr is a character that the majority see as a villain or a menace but one who believes his responses to the threat of mutantkind is justifiably right.  Making him a savior to some and a terrorist to others.

In simple terms, it’s just nice to see a reunion between all these X-Men characters.  Since the conclusion of Secret Wars(2015), we haven’t seen these mutants interact and mingle with one another.  It’s a great opportunity to set the groundwork for future stories.  Bunn has capitalized on the already established relationships within the X-Men universe and he’s the only writer to really set a foot in the “choose your side” tag line.

Artist Andrea Braccardo delivers an admirable job here.  There’s some nice action set pieces and Braccardo is able to capture a solid pace and flow to the comic.  The characters are all portrayed in recognizable fashion but nothing really stands out.  Jesus Aburtov’s colors are the same case here as there’s nothing wrong with the execution, it just lacks visual pull to really grab the readers investment.

Final Verdict

As far as tie-ins created for Civil War II, the X-Men feels the most genuine and non-contrived.  The mutants have been pitted against the Inhumans for sometime now and it’s about time we see a real conflict begin.  Cullen Bunn has executed a story in familiar territory but will engage long time X-Fans.  The intriguing twist ending may feel out of character for a long standing X-Man but it’s best to withhold judgement until it’s fully played out.  Visually, this comic lacks engagement but the strong characterization is more then enough to recommend this book

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Review by Eric Bradach

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