Civil War II #1 Review

Posted June 1, 2016 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis

Art by: David Marquez & Justin Ponsor

Publisher: Marvel

If you take anything away from this review, I want it to be this: do not buy Civil War II #1. That’s it. You need to read no further. Of course, you can, and don’t worry I’ll explain exactly why you shouldn’t buy this book.

Reason #1

It’s $5.99. I’m just going to round up and call it six dollars, for simplicity’s sake. Sure, it’s a 52 page comic, but only about 40 pages of that are actually story. And honestly, this issue shouldn’t even be that long. I’ll touch on that more in a bit, but it just comes back to what I expect will be my main point throughout this review. If you purchase this comic, you’ll be paying six dollars for something that, frankly, isn’t good. In fact, it’s actually pretty bad.

Reason #2

There’s no character work. At all. There’s a lot of dialogue, sure, but almost none of it does anything to advance any of these characters. The dialogue is pretty much all exposition, and there’s so much of it. I’m not inherently opposed to exposition – I understand that it’s  necessary to the story. But none of the exposition here is even interesting. There’s a solid two pages that could be used to flesh out the 100% forgettable new Inhuman, but instead, it’s just him explaining how his powers work. A little bit of brevity would have been nice here.

Unfortunately, this character isn’t the only problem. Everyone in this issue is a walking exposition machine. Allow me to reiterate: EVERY. SINGLE. CHARACTER. They bring in Jean to spew exposition, Tony runs around spewing exposition, Captain Marvel shows up for some exposition, I could go on. I’m actively annoyed by this, because this should be excellent. Bendis normally does an excellent job of writing a large cast, and giving each character at least one really cool moment. He’s done this in the past with events, so I don’t know how he went so wrong here.

Though I expect this has something to do with my next point.

Reason #3

The book feels rushed. I know that that’s super derisive to the creative team, and I hate writing something like that. But it’s true. I really get the sense that this is the first draft of a script that was never finished. The horrible misuse of characters is one thing, but it’s not the only support for this particular hypothesis. The pacing is an absolute mess. It moves way too quickly for any actual impact to be had. The characters rush to conclusions, and the flashpoint of the Civil War doesn’t even make much sense.

I guess to an extent that’s meant to illustrate how dysfunctional the heroes in the Marvel universe are right now, but frankly, that seems like a lazy excuse I invented to maybe find something halfway decent about this issue. Ugh. Nothing that happens makes any sense at all, and the character motivations really aren’t at all clear. Actually, that’s not entirely true. They’re clear, they just make no sense whatsoever.

Reason #4

The inciting incident for the Civil War ISN’T EVEN IN THIS ISSUE. Yup. I guess this plays into my second point, about exposition, because rather than including the pages from the FCBD issue here, Captain Marvel just explains it to Tony. That issue didn’t make sense when it came out, and now I understand why – none of this makes any sense.

Oh, and there’s also a zero issue you have to pick up – the most interesting part of which isn’t even picked up on, because, oh right, THEY KILLED THAT CHARACTER. And they killed the character in a manner that didn’t even have any emotional impact. Why? Because none of the people that care about him being dead act like humans. Look, I get it, these characters are fictional. But that’s not an excuse for lazy writing. Nope. Not at all.

In Conclusion

In case you didn’t read the first couple lines of text, take this with you: DO. NOT. BUY. THIS. BOOK.  It’s nowhere even near good. It’s a mess. The pacing is horrendous, none of the characters make sense, and it’s bogged down in excessive exposition. On top of that, none of what happens is even all that interesting. It’s not a particularly original story – and that’s not inherently bad. But when none of the writing  does anything to make the issue worth it, it becomes a real problem.

About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.