Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Marvel Civil War, No Bang, No Whimper. "Can't we all just get along?"

Civil War #7, the final chapter of the Marvel Comic series, hit the shelves this week. Has it lived up to the hype? Was it worth the delays? Let’s review the whole series from the start.

The Story So Far

The first issue of Civil War set a perfect stage. It starts with the New Warriors filming the latest episode of their “reality” television show. For the ratings, they decide to capture a band of villains on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Microbe is ignored when he points out that these guys are, “…way out of our league.” Chaos ensues and concludes with Nitro blowing himself up. Unfortunate for the New Warriors (and kiddies on a bus) the explosion destroys a large chunk of Stamford Connecticut and is telecast live on TV.

This event leads the US government to pass the Superhuman Registration Act. No longer would the government allow those with super powers run around unbridled. This forces the heroes of the Marvel Universe to quickly take sides. Those in favor of the act line up behind Iron Man. The heroes concerned with maintaining their freedom are forced underground and form up behind Captain America.

The second issue kept the surprises coming. In the last few pages, Spider-Man takes his mask off and reveals to the world that he was Peter Parker. Wow! Who the hell saw this coming? Of all the super heroes in the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man needs his secret identity. He has the most to lose. His family is not made up of other superheroes and he can’t protect them with his money. They (and he) are totally vulnerable.

Tony Stark convinces Peter that it is his only choice. By not complying, he makes Mary Jane and Aunt May coconspirators. Tony would help him protect his family. Besides they lived in Stark Tower now.

The third installment was one hell of a fight. It ended with one of the best final pages in history. The God of Thunder, Thor, appears after a long absence and is ready to kick some major ass. It was spectacular. The buzz was ecstatic!

The first few issues of Civil War provided a much needed shot in the arm for the sickly comic industry. Tons of magazines, newspapers and television shows ran stories on the event. New readers were daily walking into comic book stores for the first time. Not even the recent deluge of comic movies was able to do that. Even more surprisingly, many of the disgruntled comic fans of the 1990s were returning.

The issues Civil War raised could not have been timelier. The parallels between the Marvel Universe and our own were easy to identify. The Patriot Act, the torturing of war criminals, the definitions of terrorists and freedom fighters, were all reflected. And as it is in real life, there were no villains in black and heroes in white. The Marvel super heroes, like us, were living in the shades of gray.

Then the delays started. Blamed on a hundred different things, Marvel pushed back the release dates for the remaining issues. Fans and store owners alike were outraged. But it didn’t slow sales. As usual, many quickly said it was all a sales ploy. However, it seemed the delays were to accommodate Steve McNiven. His tremendous art was taking longer than anticipated.

Issue four hit the shelves with mixed emotions. The art was stellar (as usual), but the story seemed rushed. It could all be summed up as one big fight that climaxed with the clone of Thor killing Goliath. Surprise, controversy erupted. Some accused Marvel as being racist and others said Marvel was playing it safe by killing a useless character. (Read my blog about it)

Issues five and six also seemed rushed, and like issue three nothing significant happened. They were mostly summaries of what was occurring in the regular titles. Reed and Sue Richards separated, Spider-Man realized he was wrong and turned on Stark, and the Thunderbolts new roster were a band of “controlled” super villains. Fans gave it a pass. It’s okay. We all understood that Marvel was building up momentum for the epic final battle in issue seven. Feel the anticipation.

The Story Now

A few days ago I got my hands on a copy of Civil War #7. I read it immediately. It was impressive from the very beginning. Captain America smashed Bishop’s head in the ground after yelling, “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” Ha, Ha! Awesome! Turn the page…

Then it was over. It was over and nothing happened! All the build up! All the controversy! The months of delayed gratification! For this!? It not only didn’t end with a bang, it didn’t end with a whimper. It barely ended with a fizzle.

In a nutshell, Captain America quit. Some random civilian causes Cap to realize all the destruction their Civil War had caused. So he quits. He says, “We’re not fighting for the people anymore…” pulls off his mask and allows himself to get arrested. WTF?

He can’t do that. That is not the way Cap goes down. Good or bad, that’s not the American way. Keep in mind; Cap is not just responsible for himself, he is responsible for the lives of all the heroes who have given up their lives to follow him. Damn, Peter Parker alone goes from the proverbial frying pan to the fire and then flops out into hell.

What if Captain America had this attitude during World War II? What if after we stormed Normandy or we saw the destruction in Europe he decided to just quit? Hey, Hitler might be evil incarnate, but think of the real estate. I know a lot of you think I am blowing this out of proportion, but I’m not. What about personal freedoms? What about standing up for what’s right? Are the rights of the many worth more than the rights of the few? Is peace our goal regardless of the cost?

Possibly Mark Millar is trying to comment on the current fiasco in Iraq? I hope not. It really doesn’t work as a solution. I am more inclined to believe that he was forced to bring the whole thing to a quick resolution. But that sucks as an answer as well.

To me, the best part of Civil War has been the tie-ins. Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Black Panther to name a few, have been great. I can’t imagine trying to read Civil War without reading all the other stories. In fact, reading them all made the whole series a lot better.

What do you guys think? Am I way off?

Do you think they are going to kill Aunt May? The new issue of Amazing seems like they might. I believe Civil War should have ended with the death of Mary Jane. What a perfect way to show that heroes need their secret identities.

What do you think will happen with Tony Stark? Is there any way he can be trusted again? I think not. This might be a good opportunity to turn him into a villain. Probably not with the new movie and all.

Let me know your opinion.

Richard

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20 Comments:

Blogger Mister Speed said...

I agree with most of what you said, but I couldn't disagree more about Amazing Spider-man being good. It's consistently ignored or passed on any option to make anything of Spider-man during this whole thing. He's apparently been Tony's right hand man, but we don't see that he's talked to anyone or done anything in his own title except minor expansions of what happened in the Civil War books his title accompanied. And issue 538 was worse than the rest, filled with a couple splash panels of Varney's serviceable art, but ignoring more interesting plot points- why hasn't Peter said /anything/ to Tony yet about Paroling Venom and Norman Osborne? I mean, WTF. And during the whole thing, essentially nothing happens, at all, till the very last page- maintaining the exact same status quo- sniper beaded on Mj and Aunt May. If the sniper had taken the shot last issue, this issue could have been about Spider-Man, instead of Mary-Jane, who is apparently Straczynski's favorite character.

8:48 PM, February 21, 2007  
Anonymous axio said...

CW#7 was ballsack, it could have been so much more but Marvel bungled it. I would have been much happier if they had kept it simple with it being a Skrull plot or anything other than Cap being a giant vag :/

11:33 AM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger 1 Right Opinion Comics said...

Mister Speed,

I agree with the holes in the Spider-Man story. However, I do feel it has been better than alot of the stories (especially he earlier ones).

2:55 PM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger 1 Right Opinion Comics said...

Axio,

Maybe this all is a Skrull thing. Or maybe this whole universe only exist in Franklin Richard's ball (Maybe not his ballsack).

2:57 PM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger Bill said...

I think the way they ended it was horrible. You were right when you said the supporting issues were the best part of civil war. But, that's the problem isn't it? You have to buy over 60 plus issues in less than a year just to follow one story that is not even resolved in the end. And then they want you to buy an extra 60 plus issues for "the initiative"? Let's face it, Marvel is doing this crappy ending of what started out to be a great story so that they can gain more monetary profit. After all, you will end up spending $300+ dollars on one story in one year to follow this to it's conclusion. Marvel should have been truthful about this 3 act play instead of trying to disguise it as one act. It's obvious to me now: Act One is Civil War, Act Two is The Initiative, and Act Three is World War Hulk. They were going to end it this way all along. They just didn't want us knowing that it would cost us half a grand to follow the complete story to it's end.

I love Marvel's characters but I can't stand the industry and what it has come to be.

9:11 PM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger Palladin said...

That was Bishop! I did not recognize him. Bad comicbook story. Made me sick.

7:16 AM, February 23, 2007  
Blogger 1 Right Opinion said...

Bill,

I agree that it is three parts. I think everyone will get back together to fight Hulk when he returns.

I don't even care about how much I have to spend. I read quite a bit. I do want to read a self contained story once in a while.

2:21 PM, February 23, 2007  
Blogger 1 Right Opinion said...

Paladin,

Yeah, it was Bishop. It looked like him. And I know since he is basically a cop, he was on the government side.

2:23 PM, February 23, 2007  
Blogger 1 Right Opinion said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:24 PM, February 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope you all are right, and that it'll be three acts. Me, I think they'll hang onto it through Act Seven.

That'd be 2018, by my reckoning. Provided everything ships monthly.

4:33 AM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger Jon Hex said...

I can't believe that after coming to blows with the guys who used to be your friends and being thrown into prison, any of the Anti-Reg heroes would just say, "Well, they offered us amnesty. I think I'll take it."

What angers me the most about the ending I guess is it essentially says it doesn't matter what dirty, back stabbing decisions you make, it will all be forgiven if you succeed. Iron Man's a douchebag to me, now, and I won't be reading his series anymore.

I think this is why I rarely get upset with DC decisions. When Batman is thoroughly self-righteous and puts his friends in danger, he gets called on it and has to change his ways. When Iron Man sets traps for his friends, gets one killed, and then hires mass murderers to finish the job, he becomes head of SHIELD.

6:14 AM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger 1 Right Opinion Comics said...

Hex,

I agree that DC puts more into character development. I had hopes that Marvel was going to take this opportunity to do the same. I still think they might. At this point the only way to accomplish this is to make Tony Stark a villain.

8:13 AM, February 24, 2007  
Anonymous JM Campbell said...

first, one minor correction: It was Nitro that blew up Stamford, not Pyro.

I actually liked issue 7 and I think it makes Cap look like more of a hero when he can recognize they are doing more harm than good to the world around him (you can put that right in there with your analogs to the patriot act and war crimes) and if something major didn't happen to end this series, everyone would have complained that it was a complete miniseries.

The act had already been signed so realistically this could have only ended in one of two ways. Captain America does something (I thought, kill Iron Man) says "we've gone too far" and gives up and because he's a strong leader other heroes will listen to him. Or captain america dies and the heroes realize they've gone too far and Iron man changes his outlook on the war.

But with the Initiative, we know Iron man wasn't going to change his opinion. So this is really the only logical way the series could have ended.

They could have thrown in one more "kaboom" so Cap really saw the damage they were causing, but it wasn't necessarily needed. But it does bring up the question, why didn't he have the change of heart when they killed Goliath or at any other point, there was just nothing largely significant in CW7 that said we need to end this. And I know how I could explain it to myself, but that's not in the book.

Civilians should have died again because of one of Captain America's orders. That would have made a stronger ending, but wouldn't have changed it at all.

And what's the difference between a fizzle and a whimper ending?

8:20 AM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger Jim said...

Welcome back to the blogging world and good luck with your new venture.

Civil War really was all set-up and no bang for the buck or worth the hype. Hopefully all the sales generated by this book won't be too mcuh of a backlash by disappointing people and turning them off comics.

8:53 AM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger 1 Right Opinion Comics said...

Jim,

Thanks for the kind words.

I have hope that Marvel will keep the story going. It does make for some interesting character development. I would hate to pick up a comic one day and everything is back to normal as if nothing happened.

11:30 AM, February 25, 2007  
Blogger 1 Right Opinion Comics said...

Jim,

Thanks for the heads up on the Nitro/Pyro thing. I have correct the mistake (all these damn explosive names).

I agree with your synopsis. I do think it could be developed that Captain America did the right thing. I just hate that it was the resolution to the story.

By the way, great site! I recommend to all my readers.

11:33 AM, February 25, 2007  
Blogger Ryanetics said...

Huh, I guess I am in the minority here but I think it was a fantastic ending. Cap won the moral victory and lived to fight another day - what could be more heroic than that? The only real bonehead move was having Cloak teleport them into the middle of Manhattan. How about Central Park? How about a field upstate?

But seriously, I guess the problem I see with most of the views in here comes down to how we view the series itself. If Civil War is to be considered real in the Marvel U it has to have lasting ramifications. If is has lasting ramifications then it cannot have a tidy ending. Like our own world, the Marvel U is a fluid and evolving place - Civil War is just one more chapter in the ongoing history of my favorite imaginary universe.

Also, just because Cap didn't split Tony's head in two doesn't mean he punked out. Remember, Cap is supposed to be the finest strategist in the Marvel U and he knows when his back is against a wall. There were only two real ways to get out of that last battle - 1: become a villain and kill Tony and the first responders holding him back then flee as fugatives or 2: take the moral high ground and plan your next move.

Civil War is just another chapter in the evolving history of the Avengers, FF, etc and since Cap is the ultimate hero of the Marvel U (representing the very best of American idealism and virtue) he will rise again (Phoenix anyone? haha) and set things right.

I just got back from New York Comic-Con where I sat in on the panel about the Initiative and let me tell you, things are going to be pretty effed up in the MU for a while now. Heroes are being drafted and Tony is running SHIELD. Just wait until Brubaker brings Fury back in his Captain America book. Cap, Sharon, Bucky/Winter Soldier and Fury are not going to sit by while the MU is turned into a police state by Tony. Not to mention that the killer new lineup of the New Avengers isn't going to sit by while Cap rots in jail - there is a plan and I can't wait to see how it plays out.

This whole things was orchestrated by some of the best minds in comics today - Bendis (planned most of this - including the Initiative a year or more ago), Whedon (he was pivitol in writing the ending), Millar, etc - and they aren't going to blow it.

Also any complaints about how much money this story is costing are kind of moot. If you are interested in the Avengers and Marvel's main ongoing storyline then buy the books and read the stories. If you aren't then don't. If you were under the impression that someone was forcing you to buy these books then I suggest you take a deep breath and remember that only you call the shots for you. Repeat after me, Quesada is not the boss of me. Read 'em if you like 'em, don't if you don't. But don't complain about anyone making you spend money on comics because that is just plain ridiculous.

2:03 PM, February 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any Iron Man fans out there who don't like the way they've dealt with Tony Stark? Iron Man is not a villain, nor should he become one. i'm having to defend Stark's actions in Civil War to friends because I'm loyal to the character - but then again why should i be? They shouldn't have made him a villain.

3:32 PM, July 04, 2007  
Anonymous Mjolnir said...

As another Iron Man fan, I was dismayed the way every writer treated Tony's character (well, actually Cap's and Richards' and Pym's too). They turned him into a 2-dimensional "villain" during CW. You can see the particular disgust the writers have for the current US government and "evil capitalists" in general. A real 180° from Stan the Man's idea of making a millionaire corporate munitions maker a hero in the 60's. That experiment's long over. Now his wealth and resources are part of his villainy.[sarcasm] He doesn't use his billions to help the world. No, he's not like Bruce Wayne or anything. They're completely different.[/sarcasm]

The Iron Man series' writers in his current book have his character down and really flesh out the heroic and reasoned facets of what he is doing. You may never agree with what he's doing under any circumstance, but at least in his own book he is getting a fair shake.

11:31 AM, July 06, 2007  
Anonymous viagra online said...

well maybe in the begin this new comics series was a new revelation, but with the passes of time become a real carnage, all against all, the worst part is coming soon.

8:08 AM, July 22, 2010  

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