Review: Civil War II #0

Civil_War_II_0_CoverAfter months of build up, the “first” (I put that in quotes because of the Free Comic Book Day story) chapter of Marvel‘s big event for 2016 Civil War II. The table is set for the storyline that will send the Marvel comic universe in its next direction.

Written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Olivier Coipel, the first issue sets the stage for this event that focuses on judging and capturing criminals before the crime is committed. That’s mostly focused on an interesting set-up involving She-Hulk and the Jester who she’s defending from talking about committing a crime. Should he go to jail for talking? Should he go to jail over the possibility he commits a crime in the future?

The concept is very Minority Report to me, and from what we’ve seen between this and the Free Comic Book Day issue, the event riffs directly from that 1956 sci-fi story by Philip K. Dick. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and an interesting concept to explore.

While I enjoyed She-Hulk‘s focus and how her point of view is introduced, to me it seems at odds with her stance during the first Civil War, where she sided with the government and Iron Man to restrict freedom in the superhero community. While I hope this is addressed, the disconnect felt weird (then again I recently reread the first event, so it was fresh in my mind). If anything, her stance here as a defense attorney is much more in line with what I’d expect in her viewpoint.

Civil_War_II_0_Preview_1The second focus of the comic is on Captain Marvel who has a chat with the resident superhero psychologist Doc Samson. It’s all character development where we as readers are told where her mind set is and what issues she’s facing in her role, and the big issue is her role itself. With her involvement with Alpha Flight, the Ultimates, and A-Force, Captain Marvel is stretched a bit thin and leaves little time for a personal life. She’s lost in her title. And her personal life also comes up in a way with a scene involving James Rhodes aka War Machine, and an interesting offer presented to him.

Finally, it wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of the Inhumans where we’re introduced to two new ones. Has one resulted in another Stamford incident or is this the future we’re seeing? This is the mystery the issue ends on and all of these plots have me interested, and somewhat excited, to see what happens next. That’s the job of this issue and it succeeds.

The art by Coipel is as beautiful as I’d expect with such detail in the surroundings and looks for the characters that I dig. There’s detail there that often gets lost by others. An example would be the size difference between She-Hulk and a character like Maria Hill. Here I can feel She-Hulk’s size difference as she towers over Hill. The issue is relatively action free, but Coipel’s style still brings a sense of excitement to it all.

When getting to the end, there’s a lot here that has me looking forward to the next issue and where this series goes. There’s a lot of potential here, but to me the biggest task will be if it can be more than Minority Report with Marvel characters (that story actually had mutants ironically). The second biggest task is whether the series focuses more on the central debate between characters, which is something its predecessor failed at. The third is keeping up the quality and avoiding delays, something Marvel’s big events have had issues with for quite some time.

But, this review is about this one issue, and it succeeds in everything it sets out to do, and does so while asking a very intriguing philosophical question.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Olivier Coipel
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.45 Recommendation: Buy