Civil War reaches its exhilarating, if not terribly unexpected conclusion this week. As I have griped about in my Spider-Island reviews, it seems like a lot of these Battleworld titles have interesting premises and strong creative teams, but they lack enough variety to sustain interest in their lengthy runs.
As Civil War #5 begins, She-Hulk and Iron Man have regrouped after taking out several Skrulls, while Captain America’s forces have begun their battle against Iron Man’s army at the divide between their two nations. The focus of the story is primarily on Captain America and Iron Man. As it should be, considering this is a reimagining of the original Civil War series. However, some of the interesting character development that writer Charles Soule dreamed up for this world’s Spider-Man is neglected as the focus shifts to tying up the ongoing conflict.
Penciller Leinil Yu’s battle art is mostly confined to the background of several pages, though resolute readers can pick out some rousing scenes, like Giant Woman’s battle with an Iron Man/Sentinel. Yu’s speciality has always been his depiction of the Hulk, and this story’s Hulk, who is discernibly pointer than other Hulk’s we’ve seen, looks great as he launches Captain America straight into Iron Man’s chest via a fastball special. In a dream world, Yu will move onto an Avengers book in the coming months, perhaps Uncanny Avengers or New Avengers, where he can continue to craft his unique, vivid action scenarios.
The Skrull reveal in this issue was quite obvious to me (and probably to you as well, if you were paying attention) and like in all good hero vs. hero crossovers, Captain America and Iron Man band together to take on the real threat in the climax of the issue and the series. Of particular note is a smartly written, if blunt, back and forth between the two heroes as they reflect on their actions during the war and the effects that the many casualties will take on them and their legacies.
While Charles Soule does his best to tie up every loose plot thread he established during the series’ limited run, there are a few conclusions that don’t land quite so gracefully. The resolution of Spider-Man’s familial issues is confined to a few lines in the epilogue, at a short two pages it is far too brief to tie up everything in this series. For all of the complaints I had about Civil War’s length, this fleeting denouement is not enough for the heavy themes upon which this story has focused.
Still, regardless of my criticisms, I think that Civil War was one of the better Battleworld titles. It had a clear goal, a strong climax, and most importantly told a cohesive story. Leinil Yu’s art was great throughout and Soule took time to develop Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and She-Hulk into considerably different characters than their regular counterparts, tempered by the horrors of war and the loss of many loved ones.