This blog asked the following question roughly four months ago: Did Marvel learn from the mistakes of Civil War I? The answer to that question is a resounding “no,” and Civil War II: The Accused #1 further highlights that unfortunate point. As was the case with Christos Gage’s work on The Amazing Spider-Man and even Brian Michael Bendis’ on Spider-Man, fairly impressive writing is undermined by the story’s weak foundation.
Marc Guggenheim does an admirable job showing Matt Murdock’s role in the project, but editorial mandates will give many readers heartburn. In short, Marvel has planted the seeds for Civil War III. Sigh.
Here is what you need to know for CWII: The Accused #1:
- The Department of Justice has asked Matt Murdock to join its case against Hawkeye, aka Clint Barton, who killed Bruce Banner. The ace lawyer accepts the challenge.
- Barton asserts that Bruce Banner gave him the means to the Hulk if he returned. He says he does not know if he did the right thing, but that he had “a reason and it was a good one.”
- The trial starts and the judge seems to have her thumb (actually, her entire fist) on the scale in favor of Murdock and his team of federal prosecutors. Hawkeye’s legal team meets with Murdock and tells him there is a conspiracy to make sure the superhero winds up in prison. Matt is told that if he looks for the truth then he will find out that he is being manipulated like a puppet.
- Daredevil breaks into the Department of Justice and comes across a meeting between a military general and federal prosecutor Evelyn Stanzler. The government wants Hawkeye in prison to give officials “political cover” to introduce Superhuman Registration Act II. A murder conviction will give them what they need.
- Murdock shows up in court and withdraws the government’s motion to exclude Bruce Banner’s video diary from the case. He knows the move damages his case, but does so because he believes it will give Barton a fair trial.
- Barton is ultimately acquitted. Most people believe Hawkeye did the world a favor.
The key bullet point here is the last one because people in the Marvel Universe would believe that a living and highly unpredictable nuclear weapon should be dead — especially after years of witnessing his destructive capabilities firsthand.
The government does not need to execute a successful conspiracy to launch Superhuman Registration Act II because the sound rationale for it never disappeared after it failed the first time.
CWII: The Accused #1 makes the case (no pun intended), that nefarious forces need a conviction to persuade the public that it is time for SRA II, which is laughable. The only reason why some readers do not get the absurdity is because Marvel turned Tony Stark into a psychotic warmonger in Civil War I.
If you want to see Mr. Guggenheim do the best he can with the shoddy hand he has been dealt, then check out CWII: The Accused. If you are tired of seeing heroes fighting heroes — and one side always being portrayed as cartoonish goons — then hold onto your cash. Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows is looking like a must-read.