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Civil War II #7 – REVIEW

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SPOILER WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers for the Civil War II series.

By now you’ve either avoided a deluge of spoilers about the end of Civil War II #7, or you’ve consumed them all, coming here to find the voice of reason within the squall of madness. Or maybe you’re just looking for a quick review of Civil War II #7 from someone who’s walked through the series with you. Whatever brings you here, be warned that I may or may not spoil the end of this comic. I’m not setting out to ruin things, but the end might not be avoidable in assessing this issue.

5537650-civwarii2016007_int2-0Writer Brian Michael Bendis continues to give readers a slow burn, taking what could be dramatic scene cuts and making them feel like unnecessary delays before giving readers an ambiguous (Really, there’s NO possibility that that’s just a suit?! Look at the lettering that Clayton Cowles has used for those scenes, it’s amplified and loud, even more than usual for any armored being.) ending that was supposed to generate buzz. The problem with that scene is that, even at her worst, Captain Marvel has more restraint than most other heroes. And Stark really hasn’t done enough to warrant the fury Marvel unleashes. The end of the story seems like something that could have – and should have – happened earlier in this series if readers were supposed to be so invested in it. Instead, it comes off as cheap, gimmicky, and rushed. Bendis’ choice to end the penultimate issue with an apparent death is comic book cliché at its most base form.

There are all of three scenes in the twenty-four pages of this issue, one of which is a fevered dream/vision generated by possibly-precognitive Inhuman Ulysses. That scene is drawn by Andrea Sorrentino and colored by Marcelo Maiolo while the rest of the tale is drawn by David Marquez and colored by Justin Ponsor.

Sorrentino and Maiolo depict the future of Old Man Logan – a desolate, burning desert world of fierce shadows, enormous danger, and saturated, unapologetic colors that threaten to overwhelm the entire setting. Bendis sneaks the hint of a revelation into that scene, revealing that there might be more to Ulysses and his abilities than the notion of “he sees the future.”

Marquez’s scenes focus on the tipping point of the series, the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., where one of Ulysses’ visions portrayed Miles Morales Spider-Man clutching the deceased body of Captain America Steve Rogers.

Morales is on the steps, a handful of peripheral passersby decorate the fringes of the steps, and the local authorities are trying to get Morales to stand down. Or at least remove his mask. Marquez does a great job removing the “noise” from the scene, focusing on Spider-Man and Captain America. Bendis helps Marquez’s case a bit by giving the police other things to do, before everything gets out of hand as bickering “siblings” Captain Marvel and Iron Man turn the scene into a battlefield.

5537651-civwarii2016007_int2-1The art from David Marquez and Justin Ponsor is the only reason any of the overly drawn out scenes in Civil War II #7 work. The only reason. Marquez’s ability to nimbly depict diversity in physiques is amplified in the quiet moments between Steve Rogers and Miles Morales in a very public setting. Ponsor drops in some spectacular lighting effects that border on cinematic in color and scope, and combination of the two artists makes Civil War II a beautiful looking book.

That said, even some of those spots grow into the uncomfortable silence equivalent to standing on either side of a cash register when the entire computer system is experiencing a software update. The art can only keep this book afloat for so long, and it’s been enough to bring me back to a story that could have been half (or less) its current length.

And that’s the rub with Civil War II #7 and the Civil War II series in general. Bendis has been given a leash that appears to continue on and on. So he sniffs around. He peeks into things that could be interesting, but he fails to give the readers anything resembling a reward. Instead, Civil War II just drags on, taking way too long to present anything of interest and when those items do finally roll in, the lead up has diffused any impact or reason to care. While I’d like more art from Marquez and Ponsor, I’m thankful there’s only one more issue of yet another disappointing Marvel event series.

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