Series: Civil War – Secret Wars (2015)
Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Leinil Francis Yu, with Gerry Alanguilan & Sunny Gho
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Summary from Comixology: “The Civil War never ended. Welcome to the Warzone, where six years of non-stop battle between the forces of the Blue and the Iron have split the nation down its center, utterly transforming it. In a world of new alliances and strange enemies, President Tony Stark and General Steve Rogers meet to make one last attempt at peace.”
Civil War is my favorite comic book event of all time. I sincerely mean that. I pretty much always hate events, and even this Secret Wars I’m mostly just tolerating. So I was skeptical when I heard they were going to be doing a another Civil War series tied into Secret Wars. Here’s the thing, this in NO WAY changes the original Civil War story. It’s honor remains safely intact. This story is an alternate take on the events FOLLOWING Marvel’s superhero Civil War.
I’ll go ahead and let you know right now, if you haven’t read the original Civil War event from Marvel, I wouldn’t bother picking this up. I know, I’m telling you at the very beginning of a review to just not buy the book, it’s crazy. The first 9 pages recap Civil War but there’s still a TON of detail that you’re missing for it to really have the impact it’s meant to.
For those of you who have read Civil War, I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It was a very smart move for Marvel to put Charles Soule at the helm of this book because he absolutely knocks it out of the park. The way he handles the balance between Steve and Tony and their opposing views is almost better, and more complex, than the way Mark Millar wrote them initially, and that’s coming from someone who is a HUGE Mark Millar fan!
A few weeks ago my fellow 4LNer, and good pal, Cameron wrote two correlating articles about the philosophy of Civil War (You can read those here and here). I am in no way capable or qualified to have the same discussion on the philosophical implications of this story (mostly because I use words like s**t and f**k way too often to pretend I’m even remotely intellectual). However, I do comprehend it all and find it very fascinating.
Steve and Tony pretty much pick up right where they left off, attitude wise. Both of them stubborn and self-righteous about why their way is the right way and neither one willing to budge an inch. Soule perfectly captures the obstinate mind of middle-aged American men in both characters. Reading this, I felt like I know politicians who behave exactly like each of them; Steve with his high regard for his own valor and misguided faith in the human spirit, and Tony with his egotistical pursuit of a perfect, violence-free, society. They both want to protect their people, and even to an extent they each want to protect ALL people, but Soule shows us that they’ve been on opposing sides for so long that it could be too late for them to come back to a place of mutual respect, let alone agreeing to live in peace and harmony.
Let’s turn our attention to the art team for a minute. Leinil Yu did the artwork for the first arc of Indestructible Hulk, and that was a big part of what drew me to it. I’ll go so far as to say that the man hasn’t gotten better and he already didn’t need an improvement. I like his style because it’s realistic without being complex or over-thought. His line work and shading leave nothing to be desired, because they’re f**king perfect. (See? I’m low class…)
The rest of the art team both do a fantastic job as well. Sunny Gho’s color work is phenomenal. Dark yellow is kind of the dominate color in this issue, but it’s not without reason. Much of the story takes place in a desert area so it’s necessary. He balances the colors perfectly all throughout the issue so that it never feels like there’s too much of one.
As I said in the overview section, if you haven’t read the original Civil War event, this is not for you. I’m saying that to be a s**t-head (did it again), I’m saying it because it’s true. You really have to know the full backstory on this to really feel what’s happening. The creative team here is truly crafting an interesting and enthralling story though. The original Civil War event was about the superhero civil war. Hero against Hero, doing whatever they could to fight for their belief and cause. This time around though, we see the fight having left the masks & capes behind, and the country is in a full-fledged Civil War, with a line drawn almost right down the middle.
If you’ve read Civil War, then you’re crazy if you don’t pick this up an indulge if the “what if” of it all. What if the Civil war never ended? What if the two most impassioned and commanding superheroes were responsible for separating the country into two sides that battled each other for domination? What if it drove wedges between families and innocent people were killed in the crossfire? What if… you had to choose a side?
Music Pairing –
For this issue I really wanted to find something that captured the emotional feel of what’s happening to the country by being torn apart by to powerful leaders who think they’re doing the right thing. I’ve been listening to the band Islander a lot lately and I feel like their song “Kingdom” captures that exact sentiment. It’s ominous, and builds carefully to aggression, and with a chorus that says, “Castle of your highest power. Broken crowns lying on the ground. While you’re trying to reason with fire, your kingdom is falling down”, I think it makes the perfect partnership for this Civil War #1.