I’ve not said a lot about Civil War II so far, because I don’t feel like there’s much to say. On a whole, the series has fallen flat for me. The concept of Iron Man and Captain Marvel feuding over how to handle an Inhuman who can see the future is asinine, and really poorly handled I feel. The cross over has shined in single issues and smaller stories (I recently mentioned how much I enjoyed Amazing Spider-Man’s Civil War II mini), but in the crossover it’s fundamentally broken.
For proof, look no further than Civil War II #5, which is out today. Issue 4 (which hit stands two months ago thanks to a series of delays) ended with the big brouhaha finally starting. Several heroes had chosen sides, and the fight was about to start. Issue 5 is that fight, but it’s got a pretty big flaw: no one will shut the hell up.
The big fight of Civil War II carries on as characters fighting each other begin explaining why they’re fighting with each other. It just smacks of hack writing. With all that’s been happening in the books so far, there’s been plenty of time to set up or at least imply the character’s motivation. Instead you come to realize how much of the books have been devoted to exposition and meandering dialogue. It’s a clunky mess.
I feel like the biggest problem is the starting point of Civil War II. Kicking it off with the united Marvel U stopping a Celestial Invasion is a cool issue 1, but the set-up doesn’t really go anywhere. There’s so much back and forth, so much stopping for another diversion. It’s an attempt to create a story that’s spiraling out of control, but instead it’s just a mess.
The issue’s salvation comes yet again from the art. David Marquez is one of my favorite artists today, and his work here is superb. Marquez, along with Justin Ponsor on colors and Sean Izaakse handling “art assist”, have created a beautiful book that pops off the page (or screen, if you’re a digital reader now, I guess). The fights are well rendered, the characters are easily discernible. The last two pages, with an admittedly pretty great cliffhanger, are powerful scenes. They’re also, coincidentally, pages with very little dialogue. Civil War II on a whole has been absolutely beautiful, but the characterization and driving narrative have just fallen flat for me.
I’ve found Civil War II to be a tiresome experience for the most part, but in all fairness I felt the same way about the original. The best stories remain the side stories, the small crossovers and single issues. But the main book just doesn’t have it’s hooks in me. Any time it almost has me, it becomes messy and loses me again. With the constant delays, seemingly infinite spin-offs and high price, Civil War II is quickly losing what little luster it had for me.