An Original Avengers falls in Civil War II issue #3 which is heart pounding, dramatic, intense and well paced. Brian Bendis and the entire art & editorial team put together one hell of a comic book. Almost as good as issue #1. Almost. So kick back and enjoy my ramble about how much I enjoyed this comic book. Haters can just piss off! 😛
Alright before I get into more details on Civil War issue #3, here’s a chance for you to catch up on all things Civil War II. Here’s my review of Civil War II issue #1:
Due to my heavy workload last month, I didn’t manage to put out a Civil War II issue #2 review so here is a short & sweet version:
If Civil War issue 1 hit the ground running then issue #2 is safe at 1st base and by safe, I mean boring. Much like the whole setup in issue #0, issue #2 does the same of further plot setup. It stats with Tony Stark / Iron Man fly off to go kidnap Ulysses from the Inhumans after the dramatic ending of issue #1. Sadly this “battle” is lackluster and poorly illustrates that Tony is smarter than everyone even Beast & the Inhumans to aid the plot setup. Tony then tests Ulysses to find more rational to his new Inhuman visionary powers to prove his point that the future is unwritten and Ulysses could be causing more lives lost then saving them. Tony has little time to test Ulysses before they get found then all the heroes & Inhumans bust in to save Ulysses. Of course, Ulysses has yet ANOTHER devastating vision of the future, this time involving the Hulk as the big villain. The issue ends with Captain Marvel walking in on a secluded, hidden away Bruce Banner with the ironic comment from Bruce, “Oh Colonel Danvers. What a pleasant surprise. What can I do for you?” Unfortunately, issue #2 is just your average, typical comic book. It doesn’t raise the same level of emotions as issue #1. Sure it has some funny lines but overall the plot just moves along in a way feeling because it has to go to it’s next victim… I mean scene. What bothered me the most was the complete poor portrayal of the Inhuman Karnak. He became a joke of himself and how’s he has been more recently written by the likes of Warren Ellis. In this issue, he’s a loud, brash, jerk of an inhuman who just wants to destroy Tony Stark. Kinda boring and just an average comic book. Very little drama.
Well… Alright, alright, alright… I’ll try for a quick summary of Civil War II issue #3, if you’ve read the comic, skip this part unless you need a catch-up:
Marvel’s Civil War II Issue 3 opens up in a courtroom, shades of issue #0 with Matt Murdock (known to fans and many heroes as Daredevil) who is cross examining Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) over the events of July 19th which is the day Carol Danvers visits Bruce Banner (see end of issue #2). During the courthouse scenes, we hear from everyone on their points of view of the events that took place after that fateful meeting between Carol Danvers & Bruce Banner and we get to see those events unfold in the pages of this issue in such dramatic fashion. Carol Danvers & Tony Stark subtly interrogate Bruce Banner about what he’s been doing. It leads to Carol & Tony convincing Bruce to go outside to see all the heroes are there. Now, it should be noted that Bruce at first thinks the very worst that he’s blanked out and done something terrible as The Hulk. Carol starts explaining about Ulysses, his visions and what they’re all seen. Once Bruce realizes that wasn’t the case & he feels like there’s only 1 answer, to remove The Hulk for good so he starts to get upset when he’s in the process of being taken into custody by SHIELD. Tony tries to calm Bruce down but then Beast (yes, X-Men Beast) finds out Bruce has been experimenting on himself which turns the situation around. Rash, bad thoughts that Bruce might becoming The Hulk again arise among the heroes and those Bruce considers friends while Bruce himself pleads that his experiments are exactly why he hasn’t been The Hulk for well over a year now. Unfortunately, few are listening and SHIELD moves in to arrest Bruce and this is where it all goes bad. Bruce starts to get loud, louder and suddenly VERY angry. At the moment where it looks like Bruce might turn into The Hulk, an arrow flies outta no where and instantly kills Bruce Banner. All the heroes scramble to where the shot came when a bow is dropped and Hawkeye surrenders. No one can understand and the drama of what just happened is seen on the faces, body positions and reactions to all the heroes there. Bruce Banner and The Hulk are dead by Hawkeye. In the courtroom we get to hear Clint Barton’s (Hawkeye) words and he tells the court how Bruce Banner came to him a while ago, gave Clint a weapon to kill Bruce / The Hulk if Bruce ever started to turn. Bruce felt that Clint would be one of the few heroes who’s morals could handle killing Bruce if it meant saving the world from an uncontrollable Hulk. Clint / Hawkeye also notes that his above average eyesight gave the best possible way to determine if Bruce was about to turn. Clint stands on his assurance that Bruce was about to turn and took the shot & a video diary from Bruce Banner is released in which Bruce tells that he asked Hawkeye to do, if it ever comes to it. The entire world watches the court events unfold, heroes all huddled around just as the decision is to be made. Of course, this is also when Friday, Tony Stark’s AI (Iron Man’s Artificial Intelligence model he has & works with), tells Tony that she’s found a pattern in Ulysses powers and the issue ends. We’re left hanging on both the decision and this answer to Ulysses. Done (yes, this is quick as I can be).
Now, how was I describing issue #3? Heart pounding, dramatic, intense and well paced? Let’s go over that, shall we?
Heart pounding. Everything is about timing and when I read issue #3, I found that page by page, I felt like my heart was beating faster and faster as the scenes between the court house and Banner v Tony & Carol heats up. This also works hand in hand with the pacing of the entire comic book but it’s those moments where the comic takes a moment to breathe. Banner sees all the heroes and wonders “Oh no, what have I done?” where it’s another heartbeat of emotion and racing to the arguments about how to “deal” with Banner before the big scene of Banner about to rage out (or was he?). Every page worked for me, almost every panel worked even from the smallest of moments of when Carol introduces Ulysses and he’s like “no thanks” in the smallest of voices.
Dramatic. Well if you don’t see the drama of the courthouse scenes to the actual events the lead to the dramatic climax of Bruce Banner’s death then I can’t explain it much further. I felt the drama from page to page and some key moments were after Banner was killed and the look of shock on all the heroes, especially the kids. The way Miles Spider-Man (he needs another hero name) is standing, holding himself, Ms. Marvel & Nova looking like they don’t know what to do yet standing with Tony / Iron Man. That page before that where the 3rd panel shows dead Bruce with the arrow splitting the heroes to the next silent panel of Hawkeye being dragged away by SHIELD are haunting. Tony has the big words that mark the series, “You made this happen Carol. You CHASED this! You couldn’t leave this @#$@#$ alone and now another one of us is gone.” is powerful and dramatic. Now, this isn’t Clor (an engineered cybernetic version of Thor) coming out of no where to strike down Goliath like what happened in Civil War I series. There was no big hero fight that sparked all of this drama, it was poor decisions upon poor decisions that drove the drama. Lastly, it should be noted to add to the drama, Bendis made Tony Stark appear sans Iron Man. Tony was there for his friend, Bruce. Carol was there on super hero business. Nice contrasts that layered the drama so well.
Intense. If you didn’t feel the intensity between Carol, Tony and Banner, maybe you didn’t read the comic at all or just chose not to enjoy this moments. The verbal battle which Bendis is very good at builds up with some stunning artwork showing how things get more and more intense until Hawkeye strikes down Bruce Banner. What I enjoyed more so though was that the intensity doesn’t stop, Tony and the heroes are split on how to deal with the matters at hand and especially about Ulysses. When Carol tells Medusa to take Ulysses and the Inhumans away, Tony flips out saying that’s NOT her call to make and I think he has a point there.
(note: I’m NOT showing THE scene, you want to see it? Buy the comic book!)
Pacing. The scenes between the courthouse events and the actual events are wonderfully done. The artwork, the colouring shift between those scenes is a delight to see. Their is true artwork in the colouring of this comic book series. Unlike the first Civil War comic book series, everything was either racing at break neck speed or crazy plot hole filling scenes were done (aka building of Clor) which made the entire series chunky and poorly paced. I’m not saying that this entire series is super well paced (see issues #0 & #2) but this issue is well paced. The build ups that happen a few times in the book give a good payoff and cliff hanger ending.
Overall, I believe this is a great issue for Civil War II and a wonderful comic book. Does it have it’s flaws? Sure it does but so does almost every story ever done. If you’re looking for the flaws then you’re not taking the time to actually enjoy the comic book itself. I’m not dwelling on the flaws or a hate-on for Bendis (okay, not directly in this paragraph but scroll down), I’m enjoying a great story being told with characters I’ve been reading about for most of my life and I’m soaking in that drama, that intensity and fingers crossed Marvel pulls this one off with more great issues to come. Building upon that moral dilemma of “living with what choice(s) you make”.
Lastly, Did ANYONE notice that there’s NO preview of the cover of Civil War II issue #4 at the end of this weeks issue? What’s the big surprise for next month? Who’s next on Carol’s list, as Tony says?! Does Hawkeye go to jail for killing Bruce Banner? What is the pattern solution to Ulysses and why does Tony say it’s their future? Will She-Hulk remain in a coma? Lots of meaty bits to think about and enjoy doing so. 🙂
Oh and those who haven’t ready The Totally Awesome Hulk issue #8 from last week, check it out! It’s a brilliant coming of age / parental issue between Amadeus Cho & Bruce Banner given their past. It’s VERY heavy with the foreshadowing while being incredibly touching, sweet and emotional. One of the better Civil War II tie-in books. Kudos to all involved in that comic book series!
Now for all you HATERS, here’s my list of flaws in this issue:
- Does Banner get shot in the head or chest – it’s unclear. Blood drips off his head to indicate he was shot there while the one scene where the arrow splits the heroes shows it in Banner’s chest?
- Where is Amadeus Cho the new Awesome Hulk during this?
- Why does Matt Murdock ask such aggressive questions about the nature of the visions of the future when he’s seen fighting for one of the visions in the next page as Daredevil?
- WHY couldn’t ANY of the MANY heroes they had present STOP the kill shot on Bruce Banner?! Nope. I’m allowing this one and not falling into that simple trap else why bother ever having anything bad happen to any hero when in groups? Heroes can’t be infallible, that’s STUPID!
- Who’s to help She-Hulk from her coma if not Bruce Banner?
- Where’s in Hank Pym? Bruce’s oldest friend given they were original Avengers since the 60’s & I believe Bruce Banner / Hulk was one of his best men at Hank & Janet’s wedding, if I’m not mistaken?