Civil War Journal – Week Four


Civil War Journal is back to help readers navigate the summer crossover with recaps of all the related books!

Welcome back to Civil War Journal, Bam Smack Pow’s weekly recap column of all things Civil War II. Last week had the first three tie-ins, largely about the fight with the Celestial Destructor, and now we’re seeing the second issue and a lot of angles on the Destructor afterparty!

Previously: Captain Marvel saved the world by using Inhuman predictions to defeat a cosmic force, but when she tried to get Ulysses to set a trap for Thanos, War Machine was killed and She-Hulk was put in a coma.

Spoilers ahead!

Civil War II #2

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What happened: Tony Stark kidnaps Ulysses to run some test, showing that fear can trigger a vision. When the Inhumans come to rescue him, accompanied by a bunch of Avengers trying to keep the peace, Ulysses has a vision of the Hulk standing over the heroes’ dead bodies. This time, the people standing near him felt the vision alongside him, with tactile and taste data (what does Hulk murder taste like? Copper?). Captain Marvel, inspired by the vision, goes to have a talk with Bruce Banner.

Was it good? As I said in my review this week, the issue itself is pretty fun and has great Bendis dialogue, but only because it’s side-stepping how flawed the notion of playing Minority Report with the Inhumans is.

Recommendation: If you’re reading anything that ties in to this book this summer, you should be reading this main title.

Civil War II: Ulysses #1 (Infinite Comic)

What happened: After Ulysses went through Terrigenesis in Civil War II #0, Medusa takes him to begin training with Karnak. Karnak uses his power to see the flaw in things to defeat fellow new Inhumans Flint and Iso, then takes Ulysses on as a trainee.

Was it good? Infinite Comics are usually a lot of fun, and this is no exception. The story is pretty rote, but the use of animated panels to make the characters turn their heads toward each other make a talky issue very easy to stick to. The Inhumans are still pretty boring, but I’ve had a soft spot for Karnak. That said, I want Karnak to look around, punch Captain Marvel in the Belief-That-She-Should-Be-Using-Inhuman-Predicitions-As-Strategic-Intel, and end the Civil War.

Recommendation: If you want more Ulysses, well, here he is. But so far, it’s not adding much to the character beyond what we’ve seen in the main series.

Civil War II: X-Men #1

What happened: Ulysses helps the Extraordinary X-Men team teleport to Dubai to protect the Uncanny X-Men team when a Sentinel attack risks everyone getting a toxic exposure to the Terrigen Mists. Most everyone is glad the crisis was averted, but Magneto is incensed that mutants would work with Inhumans, a race of people who worship a substance that kills mutants. As he prepares for war against Attilan, Nightcrawler defects and joins Magneto’s band of moral tightrope-walkers. (And Ulysses’s powers are described as, “It’s not that he can see the future, but he can mentally run some sort of probability analysis.” Which is not at all what anyone else has said.)

Was it good? Andrea Broccardo’s art is terrific, and Cullen Bunn actually seems better at writing the dozen representatives of both teams than he does writing his own team book. Magneto fighting the Inhumans seems in line with his wackier Silver Age concepts but still fits the grim pragmatic defense of his people that Bunn has elaborated in his solo and team adventures. And it’s more interesting than either Extraordinary X-Men or Uncanny X-Men. But that is a very low bar, and this doesn’t clear it by much.

Recommendation: If you’re still an X-Men fan after the dull showing they’ve had since Secret Wars, this is your chance to see them in this crossover. But if you’re just trying to read Civil War II, you don’t need to pick this up.

Deadpool #14

What happened: Deadpool, his demon wife Shikla, and his Mercs For Money (beloved 90s characters Solo, Foolkiller, Slapstick, Stingray, and Terror, Inc, plus a Deadpool knockoff named Masacre who only speaks Spanish) take care of crowd control while The Celestial Destructor attacks Manhattan, but when Deadpool can only bring his wife to the afterparty, the mercenaries decide to get rid of the boss and join Cable as his new Six Pack.

Was it good? Yes! I forgot how much I loved these guys back in my early days reading comics, and the running gag that Masacre  has great advice but no one can translate for him works every time. I loved that Deadpool convinced Shikla to join him by first watching some of the gorier parts of Game Of Thrones together, and the feeling of being hurt by not getting to join the heroes at their party was a moment of stark realism in an otherwise bubbly comic book. I’m not a regular Deadpool reader, but I like this Mercs For Money team a lot.

Recommendation: It won’t make your read of Civil War II better, but this is a neat little gem I wouldn’t have read if not for the crossover completist in me. If you have a little extra dough, I’d give this one a look.

Nova #8

What happened: Nova helped out with the fight against The Celestial Destructor but couldn’t fit in at the afterparty. People kept forgetting they’d met him, and he wasn’t invited to the conversation about Ulysses. A few weeks later, Iron Man is unreachable, presumably from Civil War II, and when Nova goes to New York to track him down, he is the only hero present when the Mole Man attacks the surface world again.

Was it good? Yes. Everyone will relate to the social pain of feeling alone in a group of people you love and idolize, the sense that the real party is happening off-stage without you.

Recommendation: It’s a good issue of Nova, but it doesn’t add much to Civil War II. I’d say to skip it.

International Iron Man #4

What happened: Tony Stark confronts his college ex about tracking down his birth parents. Oh, and on the first two pages, the news on a screen in the background mentions the battle against The Celestial Destructor. And thematically, his artificial intelligence assistant, Friday, has already run a search for Tony’s biological parents because, based on his “brain patterns and behavior matrix,” he was going to ask for that information someday. So, predictions.

Was it good? Tough call. International Iron Man has been a good story thus far, with romantic tension and espionage and the sizzling synergy of Bendis dialogue over Maleev art. But two pages is not enough to merit the Civil War II tie-in banner on the cover, and if I were only reading it for the bigger crossover, I’d be angry.

Recommendation: Read this book because it’s a good title, but don’t bother with it as a way to enrich the Civil War II story.

So last week, we learned that Ulysses’s powers are inherently untrustworthy – he says he’s not always right, and he can’t see the evil new gods of The Uprising Storm. This week, we learn that the writers cannot agree on how his powers work, and no one makes a strong case for him being all that interesting. Civil War II isn’t awful, not yet, but the premise is falling apart faster than cotton candy in the rain, and it’s barely been a month.

Tie-In Round-Up:

Recommended: None yet. Just the main series, with preludes from the zero issue and the Free Comic Book Day pages.

Good but not top tier: Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man, Civil War II: Gods Of War, Civil War II: Ulysses, Civil War II: X-Men, Deadpool, International Iron Man, Nova, New Avengers

Not good: None yet, but a crossover this big is going to get some books in this category by the end of the month, I’m sure.

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