Friday, February 12, 2016

Tales From The Trades! - Civil War

I think it’s finally time to start looking at events again. After Final Crisis, talking about these things didn’t seem as cool. Besides, after reading some of Grant Morrison’s weird but nice ramblings, it’s good to take a break from these Earth-shattering events. I really haven’t talked about Marvel’s events yet. It’s not that I don’t like most of them. I’ve just really never latched on to a lot of them especially recently. It seems like they do some sort of major crossover every year now. At least DC waited two years before they did their big, major crossover, Forever Evil. Since Captain America: Civil War is being later released this year, I thought it was finally time to really delve into the event known as Civil War.

I really only kept up with the event online. I had a couple of issues of the event as well. I remember having a bit of a dislike about it after some time. I don’t know if it was online opinion or just me thinking about the event. During the year (either Christmas or my birthday), a co-worker got me a gift card for Barnes and Nobles.  I went to the one in Cool Springs one Saturday and I saw this on the shelf at a decent price. Since I really didn’t feel like spending my own money on it, I bought it. Just recently, I got curious on how the tie-ins to the event went, so I decided to get a subscription to Marvel Unlimited. I gotta say that is one good app. It’s a shame DC doesn’t have one…

Civil War was written by Mark Millar. I’ve talked about him here before since hes also known for Superman: Red Son and Ultimate X-Men. He can be alright sometimes. The penciller is Steve McNiven from that New Avengers arc that focused on the Sentry. Dexter Vines handled the inks and Morry Hollowell handled the colors. So, was my dislike justified or was I being led astray thanks to online opinion? Find out below.

The event starts out as the New Warriors try taking down a group of villains by surprise in Stamford, CT. They’re in a community and school is in session. Things get out of hand when the villain, Nitro, uses his powers to cause a disastrous explosion. Over 600 lives are lost in the explosion which includes a majority of the New Warriors, civilians, and 60 children. The nation is in an outcry about this and the proposal of The Superhuman Registration Act (SHRA) is brought up. The law would require all superheroes to reveal their identities to the government and register in order to be heroes. If they don’t register, they’ll be locked up.
Well, that escalated quickly... seriously, what the heck?

This ends up splitting up the superhero community in two. Some think this is a good idea while others are against it. When asked by SHIELD to come up with plans in taking down the anti-registration folk, Captain America refuses. SHIELD tries to arrest him (before the act is even in law…) but Captain America escapes and heads underground. Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, and Hank Pym takes it upon themselves to be in charge of this new era. The law ends up passing and the pro-registration heroes start to do their job in rounding up villains as well as heroes who didn’t register. Meanwhile, Captain America and others against the law keep doing their thing and form an anti-registration group. One of the biggest victories for the pro-reg side comes in the form of Spider-Man publicly supporting the act and revealing his identity.
So, Pete's taking notes from Andrew Garfield now?

Things start to escalate as heroes choose their sides. Most heroes like the X-Men, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange try to stay out of the fight. Some get fed up with all that is happening and decide to quit. Things come to a head when both forces meet for the first time. The anti-reg group is tricked into a meeting with the pro-reg group. Iron Man tries to make things end peacefully, but a little trick from Captain America ends that and both groups start to fight. Maria Hill then orders SHIELD to send in a cloned version of Thor to take incapacitate the heroes. Instead, it ends up killing Bill Foster, aka Black Goliath. Thanks to some help from one of the pro-reg group, the anti-reg heroes are able to get out of there.
The real Thor wasn't happy about this... also, here's a bit of cheesecake.

The death of Black Goliath and the reveal of the Thor Clone (eventually called Ragnorok) leads to some folk changing sides. It’s also revealed that the non-registered heroes are being shipped to a prison in the Negative Zone for an indefinite stay. Sue Richards and Spider-Man join Cap’s side of the war. Black Panther also throws in his lot with the Cap’s side. The Punisher even wants in on joining Cap’s side when it’s found out that the pro-reg side is now including supervillains in its ranks.
And the Idiot Award goes to the Punisher for being  bleepin' psychotic/idiotic. Seriously, what the heck?

The anti-reg side then begins to make plans in infiltrating Ryker’s Island to get to the Negative Zone. Invisible Woman also tries to get Namor and his forces to join their side. Before they head off on their final battle, a couple of villains want to join the fight. They get stupidly gunned down by the Punisher and this leads Cap to kick him off the team. The team makes it to the Negative Zone but the pro-reg team is waiting for them. It turns out Tigra was feeding information to Iron Man. Luckily (for Cap’s team anyway), Hulkling was posing as Hank Pym and he was able to let out the prisoners in the complex.
 Meanwhile, Deadpool is in the corner saying “Friendly Neighborhood. Peter Parker Colon. Adjective-less. Ultimate. Marvel Knights… etc., okay?”

A massive fight breaks out between the two groups. Thanks to Cloak’s teleporting powers, the fight is moved right into New York City. As the heroes once again fight, more combatants like Clone Thor and Namor’s forces join the fray. Cap and Iron Man face down one more time but it actually ends up getting interrupted when some firefighters, EMTs, and police officers try taking down Cap. This leads him to surrender himself to the authorities since he doesn’t want the war to destroy the country. The other heroes stand down and this little war is over.
One wonders if Cap thought about this before things went to crap...

A couple of weeks pass. Maria Hill is demoted and Tony Stark is made the new Director of SHIELD. Captain America ends up going to jail as well as getting… eh, never mind.  Most of the anti-reg group are given amnesty and ultimately register. Some heroes decide to leave the country while other heroes like Luke Cage and Spider-Man go underground. The event ends with Tony talking to Miriam Sharpe, a woman who lost her child in Stamford, on the Helicarrier.

So, what do I think of the main issues to this event? I thought this was okay as a whole. I actually have more to say about the event, but I’ll leave that for another post. I did think the story that was given here was fine. You do get a feel of what both sides of the conflict are going through. While there were dumb decisions made on both sides, there were legitimate arguments made as well. When it comes to pulling for either side, I’m still not sure on who I’d join. I’d probably do what Thing did and leave the country for a while. There were also some good moments with characters here and there.
This was my first inkling of Marvel's Hercules... not bad.

The artwork was also pretty good for the most part. I though McNiven did a good job with trying to deal with as many characters as he could. The action scenes were pretty cool. Everyone looked well-defined and pretty awesome in general. He also did his best to show how gritty a war between superpowered individuals could be without going over the top. There were a couple of places where the artwork didn’t look as good. I think there were a couple of group shots where folk didn’t look that good. Still, I had no problems with the art. Also, I don’t comment on covers to issues much but I thought the variants by the late Michael Turner were pretty cool.

Now, I do have problems with the main series. It goes from big point to big point without any room to rest and some important characterization gets left out. It does leave enough for someone to get an idea on everything, but it doesn’t include some other important bits. I know that the tie-ins do more with certain ideas, but I did feel that the main series could have fleshed out these ideas better. I also thought that some dialogue was kind of weak and out of character for most characters. I think some of the Millar-isms got to me on that front.

There were also some decisions that were weird/stupid. 42 aka “Guantanamo Bay” was one of them and another was the Punisher’s weird execution of those villains right in front of a bunch of heroes. I know that Frank Castle is a little hardcore, but he’s not freakin’ idiotic. I also thought the ending felt kind of lackluster. I do see why Cap did what he did at the end but it felt pretty dull. I’m not saying that this wasn’t a bad story but I am saying that it could have been much better. That may be why I gained a dislike for it.

Overall, this was fine. It wasn’t really good but it wasn’t horrible either. I actually have more to say on the event (which was actually a shock to me) and that diatribe will go in another post. I just wanted this post for the main series. Since the next Captain America movie is using this story as a basis, I can only hope that it better than this. Yes, I know what I said. Well, I’m out. I need to find something for one who is a little special in my life with it getting close to Valentine’s Day. Peace, God Bless, and if you have a problem with someone, talk about it. Don’t let it last for eight months.

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