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Review: Civil War II: The Oath #1

civil-war-ii-the-oathThe epilogue to Civil War II! In the aftermath of war Captain America, Steve Rogers, confesses to the comatose Tony Stark as well as Carol Danvers.

While the title of this comic is Civil War II: The Oath, it might as well be called “Secret Empire: The Prologue” as the comic sets up the next big Marvel event that I’m sure will be billed as “changing everything.”

Written by Nick Spencer, your enjoyment of the comic will be solely based on your opinion of the controversial move by Marvel to make Steve Rogers an agent of Hydra as well as where you are with today’s current political and socio climate.

The issue finds Rogers visiting the now comatose Tony Stark and to give a soliloquy about his new views and his plans to remake the country and world. The speech reads like an Alt-Right manifesto written by someone who thinks they have a grasp this complicated ideology. It’s the watered down Hollywood version of the movement overlooking serious issues like racism and hate as the story eventually evokes Nazi-like imagery in an attempt at shock value.

But, there are some interesting things in Spencer’s writing. Spencer frames Tony Stark’s decisions not just in this battle but during the original Civil War in a way that at least got me to think. Spencer actually makes a case he’d be a stronger writer for a series staring Tony Stark than he would Steve Rogers, though what’s presented is fairly one dimensional and lacks the depth and character growth fans know of Stark.

Spencer also does a decent job of catching fans up as to Rogers’ frame of mind and vision though the reasoning and events leading to that are lacking.

Finally, he does a fine job of setting up what’s to come whether it’s the upcoming event Secret Empire or the road Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, will travel, even giving moments to Miles Morales, Hawkeye, and Amadeus Cho.

The art is handled primarily by Rod Reis but also includes Phil Noto, Raffaele Ienco, Szymon Kudranski, and Dono Sánchez-Almara and that aspect is fairly impressive. Reis who handles the majority of the art duties has a style that is interesting combined with the subject matter. Reis’ art, especially at the end when it evokes fascist/Nazi imagery (concentration camps and all!) is haunting, especially in today’s political climate. Some of the work by other artists is decent but when compared to Reis’ style it’s a bit harsh in the transition. It’d have been a stronger issue art wise if all of the styles were a bit closer.

If you like political polemics there’s much better at there, even in comic form. Civil War II: The Oath isn’t so much an epilogue as it is an attempt to get your dollars and raise interest in what comes next. While I’m sure those involved think they’re being clever in holding a mirror to today’s current climate, it comes off more as a cash in and failure to understand and grasp reality.

Story: Nick Spencer Art: Rod Ries, Phil Noto, Raffaele Ienco, Szymon Kudranski, Dono Sánchez-Almara
Story: 5 Art: 8.05 Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

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