Civil War II #8 Review

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Posted December 29, 2016 by John Clark in Comic Books

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis

Art by: David Marquez & Justin Ponsor

Publisher: Marvel

To say that Civil War II has had immense consequences on the Marvel universe is an understatement. Over the last six months or so, the event has seen heroes turning against each other and beloved characters dying over a disagreement about what to do with Ulysses, a young Inhuman whose powers seemingly allowed him to see the future. In the eighth and final issue of the event, writer Brian Michael Bendis delivers the grand finale of the event – which loses some of its impact in light of most of its content having been spoiled months ago.

If you’ve been following Marvel, much of what is supposed to hit the hardest about #8 is already known, and that takes the wind out of the issue’s sails. Steve Rogers – Captain America and secret Hydra agent – doesn’t die, as it was implied he might at the hands of Miles Morales, the new Spider-Man. Captain Marvel defeats Iron Man. And as we already know from multiple other comics, Tony Stark is out of commission, though the details surrounding this – which I won’t spoil, since it’s one of the few secrets that haven’t already been hammered in by other runs – are a highlight of the issue and an interesting mystery. A good six or seven pages are dedicated to detailing upcoming events, which felt a little like transparent marketing, but the scene culminates in a pretty gorgeous reveal of the fate of Ulysses, who is basically written out of play in true Deus Exit Machina fashion.

As is the case with previous issues, the art is a selling point. David Marquez and Justin Ponsor are an absolute powerhouse together; characters are expressive and gorgeous, environments pop with detail, and combat scenes look larger-than-life. I’ve said to friends from the start that if there’s a reason to buy this run, it’s the absolutely stellar art. The pair don’t drop the ball on the big finale, providing some lovely landscapes, fierce battles, and emotional moments with a grace that the writing stumbles on.

The truth is, if you’ve already caught up on Civil War II, you know what to expect. There isn’t a jump or decline in quality from what’s happened so far, and if you’re invested in the event enough to read the first seven issues, then you may as well finish it out. If you were on the fence about the whole thing and waiting for it to complete before deciding whether or not to get it, then this is the best summary I can give:

Civil War II is a very noble, very sincere attempt to excite readers. It’s gorgeous, it stars lots of classic characters, and it heavily shapes the future of the 2017 lineup of Marvel Comics. The ugly truth, however, is that Marvel seems exhausted. Before Civil War II, we had a universal reboot. Before the reboot, we had Battleworld, and before that, Secret Wars. The fact of the matter is that it’s been world-shaking event after world-shaking event, constant mixups without much time to settle, and at this point, I’m just desensitized to it.

The aftermath of Civil War II promises to be interesting. Jennifer Walters is in mourning and losing control over her powers, and will be starring in the new Hulk run. The teenaged Avengers have formed their own team, the Champions, looking to carve out their own legacy from outside the shadow of their predecessors. Captain Marvel is second-guessing herself and trying to decide her next move. If Marvel lets this breathe, if they take their time with the fallout of the second Civil War like they did with the first – which led to the 2008-2010 era that I think was one of their strongest points in comic history – then things could be looking good.

But please, let the universe breathe a bit before the next big catastrophe.


About the Author

John Clark