Brian Michael Bendis’ Civil War II #7 is finally out, although the “summer” event still has one more month to go. On deck is Marvel’s Inhumans vs. X-Men. If you want to know what the company’s obsession with hero vs. hero tales means for our cultural mosaic, then check out my latest YouTube video below.
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Brian Michael Bendis’ Civil War II #5 hit stores this week, and someone must have slipped something in his drink because he dedicated the entire issue to a massive brawl between Team Stark and Team Danvers. Is that a good thing? A bad thing? You’ll have to check out my latest YouTube video to find out.
After you’re done watching, let me know what you think in the comments section below — particularly you’re thoughts on the Inhuman Ulysses’ latest vision.
Brian Michael Bendis is one of Marvel’s key writers, but in a previous life he may have been a circus juggler. Spider-Man #8 somehow manages to move the title’s plot forward, set the stage for Champions, and seamlessly tie into Civil War II. Technically, Mr. Bendis hits all of his marks. Creatively, however, SM #8 once again shows why many older Marvel fans are fed up with the company.
Here is what you need to know for SM #8:
- Jessica Jones and Luke Cage confront Miles Morales on a rooftop and say they know his secret identity.
- Miles is upset to find out that his grandmother hired Jessica Jones to spy on him, but he is glad to hear that his mother tried to pay the investigator to cancel the contract. He agrees not to say anything to his family after the older heroes tell him to get his act together.
- Miles is summoned to the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, by Tony Stark. A large group of superheroes are informed by Stark and Captain Marvel that everyone will confront the Hulk about Ulysses’ vision of him killing everyone.
- Bruce Banner is killed by Hawkeye, as previously shown in Civil War II #3.
- Nova, Spider-Man, and Ms. Marvel are stunned by what happens and the two young men publicly state their allegiance to Tony Stark. Ms. Marvel breaks down into tears because her role model set the stage for Banners’s death.
This sounds like a great issue, right? Well, sort of. One’s enjoyment or hatred of SM #8 really hinges on his or her opinions on Civil War II. Bendis — and artist Nico Leon — do an admirable job showing young heroes who struggle to find their place in an “adult” world, but at the same time it all comes at the expense of classic characters.
There is a scene after Banner’s death where the three kids come together to comfort one another that is incredibly poignant, but the feeling disappears the moment one realizes that Captain Marvel and every superhero who sides with her has taken on a goofy position to make Civil War II work.
In short, Mr. Bendis has nicely set up an “us against the world” dynamic for the future “Champions” that will also serve Spider-Man well, but in many ways he is doing so at the expense of icons like the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker.
If you are an older reader, the best way to show your displeasure is to withhold your wallet for any title that engages in character assassination of the heroes that made Marvel what it is today.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Christos Gage. The guy was asked to write a Spider-Man story that stood on its own while also supporting Brian Michael Bendis’ Civil War II and Dan Slott’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man.
Question: How does the hero who a.) asked The Prowler to resort to corporate espionage on behalf of Parker Industries, and b.) teams up with Carol “Minority Report” Danvers have the moral authority to lecture a confused man like Clayton Cole?
Answer: He doesn’t.
Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #4 is a book that actually reads better the less one knows about the current Marvel universe. For people who just want to roll around a few philosophical questions about redemption and free will like marbles, Mr. Gage’s work satisfies. For people who love the character Peter Parker, however, the issue is just one more reminder of just how intellectually discombobulated he has become thanks (in large part) to writer Dan Slott.
Here is what you need to know for CWII: ASM #4:
- Spider-Man tries to talk Clayton Cole off a psychological ledge during the one-on-one battle predicted by Ulysses. Peter wants the scientist to give up his “Clash” technology and start a new life.
- Robot Master reconstitutes himself and attacks the two men just as Peter seems as though he might have a breakthrough.
- Clayton leaves Spider-Man to deal with the villain on his own, saying that he needs to go his own way.
- Spider-Man defeats Robot Master, who vows to take Parker Industries to court for Cole’s attack.
- Peter Parker and Ulysses discuss the Inhuman’s powers, whether they are appropriate to use, and how to channel them to save lives. Peter now says it would be wrong for Ulysses to work for Parker Industries because the company will be stronger by learning from its own from failures.
- Spider-Man agrees to work with Carol Danvers to profile potential future criminals. He will fight for the cause if necessary, but says he will act like her personal Jiminy Cricket (It worked out so well with Doctor Octopus, right Pete?)
- Clash steals a massive amount of off-the-books cash from Roxxon and announces that he will no longer work for other men. The villain begins to recruit for a criminal empire.
Fact: Clayton Cole wanted to “redefine” himself as a hero using Clash technology.
- What then, we must ask, gave Spider-Man the moral authority to say that Clayton Cole should not do that, but Hobie Brown as the Prowler can?
- Why is Dan Slott’s Peter Parker a stand-up guy for asking Mr. Brown to break into a business and steal technology for his own selfish reasons, but Mr. Cole is “ruining” his life for trying to turn over a new leaf as Clash — the superhero?
- How can Peter Parker, a man who has been falsely convicted in the court of public opinion multiple times, endorse Captain “secret detention” Marvel?
In short, CWII: ASM #4 is filled with creative contradictions, which are not treated as such. As was stated in previous reviews, it is tough to discern how culpable Mr. Gage is for the story’s flaws when a strong argument can be made that he is doing the best he can with messes made by other men.
If you have read the previous three issues of Civil War II: The Amazing Spider-Man, then you may as well buy the conclusion. If you have held off this long, then skip it and take note: The modern Spider-Man is like a boat without an anchor in a storm that shows no sign of breaking.
Again, I feel bad for Mr. Gage — but even more so for the writer who eventually replaces Mr. Slott. Where does a man begin with so much rubble to clear? I guess we’ll find out.
Civil War II #4 is out, which means that it’s time for another review on Marvel’s latest hero vs. hero event. Check out your friendly neighborhood blogger’s latest Youtube video and share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Marvel’s Civil War II #3 was released today, which means Bruce Banner is officially dead (until he’s alive again). Your friendly neighborhood blogger might do up a write-up in the future, but I figured the occasion offered a good excuse to experiment with uploading my first real YouTube review.