By Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, Olivier Coipel and Justin Ponsor
When Marvel announced they were doing a Civil War II, there were collective grunts heard throughout all of comicdom. “Cash-grab”, “out of ideas”, and “washed-up” were some of the things hurled at Marvel for doing this. We’re now heading into our fourth issue (including the zero issue) and many of these cries have stopped. Civil War II has been very good so far, and issue #3 is going to be the biggest one yet. There are spoilers on the web, but there won’t be any in this review, so read on in good faith.
Brian Michael Bendis has fans who love him and fans who hate him. Whichever side you fall on, you can’t argue with his body of work. Civil War II has been a huge surprise, and the way Bendis handles the story and characters is 100% why. This issue has been on news outlets with big spoilers, while we won’t go into specific details of who kills whom, we can say this: Bendis handles the scene superbly. The reason for the death is a very believable one, and it also touches on some current social issues facing this country right now. The build-up to the death is also well done. Tony and Carol argue and both present reasonable sides for their cases. It’s hard to choose in this instance because both are understandable. Bendis cuts between the events of the death and a courtroom where the “accused” is being tried. Bendis should actually be able to pull some emotion out of readers with this sequence of events. We actually feel for the accused in this case and should come out of this issue conflicted. There were some big promises surrounding this issue, and they were absolutely met.
The pencils this issue were handled by David Marquez, with a few pages in the beginning done by Olivier Coipel, and colors by Justin Ponsor. The art in this book is fantastic! Marquez has always been an excellent artist, but this is the book that should make him a superstar. Facial expressions in this issue are a huge deal, and Marquez delivers. As the accused surrenders after the kill, we can see the pain in his face. It’s drawn so well you can practically feel it jumping off the page at you. Everything about the art in this issue is top-level work. Take a close look at the shading as Tony Stark ponders his next move in his dark lab; we can see some hatching and cross hatching going up his arm. The smooth lines on the characters, and the close, uncomfortable face panels of heroes as they battle one another. Marquez crushed it this issue. The colors by Justin Ponsor are great as well and really contribute to the pencils laid down by Marquez. Ponsor is a pro, and this is absolutely seen in the panel where the accused surrenders. As the accused holds out their arms to be arrested, Ponsor’s bright yellow from the sun shines down on them. It’s a beautiful panel for such a horrific event.
The hype was met in Civil War II #3. Even if you know what is coming, the way Bendis and company handle it will still surprise you. We’re now past the point of calling this series a gimmick and actually waiting to see what happens next.