Jimmy Impossible has been living up to his name lately, what with his weekly calculations about what order all the different supplemental issues Marvel’s new Civil WarII should be read it. I don’t personally have the time or the inclination to read, well, all of those things. In fact, I’d probably be skipping the whole thing were it not for the fact that I do read a couple Avengers related titles, and I’d like to know what’s going on that they all will, to one degree or another, be yammering about over the latest crossover.
But for the life of me, I can’t figure this story out. It makes no sense on a basic, fundamental level.
The basic, fundamental level is, unlike the previous Civil War, I’m not sure why so many heroes care enough to duke it out this time.
I know I am on record for not being a fan of the original mini-series. But here’s the thing: as much as Mark Millar wrote the different characters as being a bit on the dumb side when it comes to how public policy works, at least he can deliver exciting, innovative action sequences, and at least everyone involved in that mess had a reason to be involved in that mess.
So, let’s take a look at the new one. Possible SPOILERS for Civil War II: This Time It’s Personal from here.
So, a new Inhuman named Ulysses has the ability to see the future. Sort of. Maybe. He managed to alert the superhero community to a massive cosmic threat that everyone took care of before it could do anything, so the next step is to figure out who this Ulysses guy is and whether or not he’s reliable. Tony Stark is skeptical. Carol Danvers just thinks if he can predict future crime, he should be used to do so.
And the initial jumping in suggests Tony should be a little concerned. No one knows where Ulysses came from or whether he’s benevolent or not or even how his powers work. He’s immune to mind reading on top of everything else. Mostly though, Ulysses is just a scared kid who sees his childhood idols doing stuff like question his motives or even outright kidnapping him.
It doesn’t help that given Ulysses’ new status as an Inhuman, Medusa and the Inhuman Royal Family are against Iron Man poking him at all, or interfering with whatever it is they do. I get the impression due to certain cinematic movie rights that Marvel is trying very hard to make the Inhumans a thing, and about all I can say to that is the Inhumans are probably never going to be a thing. They don’t resonate the same way mutants do what with their monarchy and their “we’re above the rest of you” attitude.
But I’m digressing.
So, Tony, not looking for another Civil War and even making sure Steve Rogers doesn’t disagree with him first, is mostly suggesting caution at first. He’s outright against using this guy until the others know more, and then one of Ulysses’ predictions says Thanos is coming back to Earth and so, without telling Iron Man that they’re ignoring his (probably valid) criticism, Carol rounds up the Ultimates, the Inhuman Royal Family, She-Hulk, and War Machine to take down Thanos. Like that’s enough to take down Thanos, like, ever.
War Machine is killed in the conflict. Tony’s best friend and Carol’s love interest, killed in a plot twist!
So, really, I get why Iron Man cares so much, and I get why the Inhumans care, and I get why S.H.I.E.L.D. cares, and I get why Carol cares.
But why does everyone else care?
The most recent issue, out this week, shows numerous superheroes getting into a massive battle over whether or not Ulysses will be taken into custody after a prediction involving the Hulk comes along and something bad happens as a result. How exactly did Iron Man convince this many heroes to help him? I get it with his current Avengers teammates, along with a few others, but I don’t see the big imperative.
The same is true for Captain Marvel’s side. She’s currently associated with three superteams, the Ultimates, Alpha Flight, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, and those groups all take her side. In fact, very few superhero teams seem to be splitting over this issue, which makes the whole thing seem even more artificial. Iron Man takes a moment to talk to Star Lord during the big fight to try and reason with the guy or something, and Star Lord basically says he knows everything that is going on and agrees with Carol.
Why do this many heroes care? Some of them have personal stakes involved, but why are they all (with the exception of a couple seen watching the thing on the news at home) willing to start throwing random punches at each other?
About all the last issue did, besides set up a cliffhanger of another context-less vision from Ulysses that paints Carol as being the one more in the wrong this time around, was throw different combinations of heroes into the fight, so if you ever wanted to see Dr. Strange take on those original X-Men youngsters, or Miles Morales meet Venom for the first time, you’re welcome.
Motives count, and so far, this story seems too small to involve so many characters. It would work fine as an extended Iron Man or Captain Marvel storyline. It doesn’t need every hero in the Marvel stable to choose a side. By doing it that way, it makes the whole situation seem more forced and less believable, and I’m talking about a comic that has Ultimate Spider-Man attacking a talking raccoon.
I’m not surprised something like this would come from Bendis, given his penchant for writing scenes were it has large scale melee fights with no other purpose besides having a large scale melee fight where everyone is tossing everyone else around and no one seems to be winning until someone says they are. He does better on the smaller scale stuff. This whole story would have done better on a smaller scale.