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From the Hoss’ Mouth 02/21/07

In case you’re some kind of hermit cave-dwelling nerd, Civil War finished up this week.  I also picked out the Amazing Spider-Man, Ion, Checkmate, 52, the Brave and the Bold, and Aquaman.  So click the link, settle in, but be warned this week I don’t hold back spoilers.

Full Review:

Civil War #7

Writer: Mark Miller

Pencils: Steve McNiven

Honestly I hate reviewing these big events. With any other series if a book sucks you can simply chalk it up to the nature of the beast. File it away and forget about the three bucks you just squandered. These blockbuster events aren’t that simple. If they suck you’re not out three dollars. No, after you’ve hunted down all the tie-ins and minis, paid for them, and read them you’re out a whole lot more and when you realize this it’s not just enough to say a book’s filler or average. No sir, the need to be unrelenting and harsh towards the event as a whole becomes an unrelenting quest of sorts and one that ultimately will lead to a lot of emotional blathering like I’ve just done in this paragraph. Realizing this, I’ve decided to approach this particular review as calmly and rationally as I can without breaking out into fanboy taunts and jeers. Hopefully you’ll appreciate my efforts. Now before we get started, I’m in no mood to be vague about this issue. There will be heavy spoilers present throughout. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I find the best word to describe the plotting of this series is…really. As in: Is this really happening? Did we really need any of this? Could I really have my money back…please? There are things that just immediately jump out at you with this event: Spidey’s unmasking, the dissolution of the Fantastic Four and the Thunderbolts, the cloning of a god (who actually seems more like a robot), the return of Captain Marvel and the Punisher for that matter, Negative Zone super prison, Aunt May gets shot, the Black Panther takes charge, Avengers’ breakups and reformations, Shield registered heroes, and whole ton of others. The House of Ideas has gone crazy with new ideas…and yet I just don’t care or at least not as much as I feel I should. It seems every single one of these grand shake-ups are just shocks for the sake of shocks. Thrills for the sake of thrills. All the necessary fine-tuning to connect them to each other, the overarching plot, and the characters involved was just never there. No grand explanations were made (not in the main series anyways where they should have been) and above all else there was no underlying drama driving the show. Just a bunch of random stuff happening because Marvel wants to take the universe in a bold new direction. Fine, I like change and things probably did need to be shook up a little, but the way in which these changes all played out just feels so wrong. To top all of it, I feel they really missed the boat on examining the civil liberties vs. security argument that’s such a big part of the current American political debate and what was the ultimate inspiration for this entire event.

As for this particular issue, it should come as no surprise that Cap is the star of the show. In fact with the end here, Cap actually has regained some qualities of Captain America:

1. Taking personal responsibility – Seems like a Cap thing to do.

2. Putting others first – Seems like a Cap thing to do.

3. Calling the shots and ending this whole thing on his terms – Seems like a Cap thing to do.

But if you really dig in here and look, to me at least it seems the Cap I know would have never got himself in this situation in the first place and for him to be caught in the act of possibly murdering Iron Man only to be knocked to his senses by some very real world heroes just seems so horribly out of place.

On the positive side: For what it was, the ending was probably the best and only logical thing that could have been done here considering the events that have led up to this. Captain America would have never won despite all of the Cap "always finds a way to win" talk. Even if he had defeated Iron Man, he still would be a fugitive on the run from his own government and apparently losing heavily in the court of public opinion. So sadly it seems it had to happen like this and I am rather glad Miller didn’t resort to abusing some deus concept like Wanda, Layla Miller, Annihilation Wave, Loki, or any other "easy out" idea that was so heavily circulated across the internet. He stuck with his guns and ended it. It is what it is and now that it’s over I’m glad we can all get on with this new status quo they’ve forced on us and hopefully things with Nu-Nu Marvel will be fun and exciting. Really.

There has been one bright spot for this whole trainwreck. Steve McNiven. I am so glad they delayed this series to let him finish it. At the very least the book’s pretty, really pretty and watching Cap boot crush Bishop, Herc bash in Robo Thor’s brains, and the Atlantean cavalry storm in to the battle put me in awe. Love those splashes, Steve! A truly great talent to put on this book and I’m glad he was able to showcase so much of his ability. In fact if you happen to stumble upon someone who’s illiterate then go ahead and bust out those Civil War issues. I’m sure you’ll discover you’ve just created Civil War’s biggest fan.

Verdict: I’m sure it’s a little late to be preaching about whether or not to actually buy this book, but as for my personal tastes, although I was entertained by Civil War I still didn’t like it.

Quick Reviews:

The Brave and the Bold #1: Same old, same old here. Not so much a wasted opportunity as just a new book to cash in on what could easily be accomplished in other titles. Team-ups are fun but there’s nothing going on to necessitate a purchase unless you happen to be a fan of Hal or Batman. Like the plot, the art’s average which speaks volumes when you look to see George Perez is the artist. He gets the job done though it’s not even close to his best.

Verdict: For GL or Bat fans

The Amazing Spider-Man #538: They just might do it this time, I doubt it, but still this could be the end of old Aunt May. A good enough tie-in, though it wouldn’t have made any actual difference without the CW logo spread across it as the big event that happens here was never referenced in the main series or any other tie-in and at this stage of the game it’s a little late to go back now and add them in. Basically just an excuse to further reference the big battle from CW #7 without adding anything to it. As a stand alone Spider-Man issue though, you don’t want to miss this one.

Verdict: Depending on whether or not things stick, this could be the most important issue of Spider-Man for years to come. Don’t miss it.

52 Week 42: I have to say that Ralph deserved better but like all things 52 this doesn’t seem to be the end of his story. Not a great week for 52 overall. The twist has been predicted forever it seems and the OYL ramifications of Ralph’s sacrifice have already been undone as seen in JLA, and as endings go this one falls way short of the mark set by Steel in his ending story. On the bright side with weekly books like this, next week could turn it all around.

Verdict: Never will I leave a weekly comic book series, they’re just too much fun, but as a jumping on point for new readers…this is a terrible place to jump on.

Checkmate #11: Good old reliable Checkmate. I have yet to be disappointed by this book as it sets a new standard for comic book intrigue. Is Checkmate about to be corrupted again? Who’s really pulling the strings? Read it to find out. It’s way too good to be spoiled. On the downside there’s a lot of characters constantly circling this book so unfortunately I don’t recommend starting anywhere but number 1 with this series. Grab those back issues if you can.

Verdict: A solid series throughout the entire run.

Ion #11: This book’s all over the place. First we’ve got Kyle punching into the bleed and fighting Daemonites from the Wildstorm universe, the Tangent characters are revived, Qwardians are revolting and being murdered, Monitors, Monitors, Monitors, and now we’ve got old New Gods reappearing. Unfortunately the dialogue seems to be getting worse but for cheap thrills this one’s got it in spades.

Verdict: Not very involving but it does have its fun moments. If you haven’t been reading it though I don’t suggest you start.

 

The Loser of the Week:

Aquaman Sword of Atlantis: Confusing and boring as hell. The Fisherman returns??? Honestly who gives a #$%&*. *Sigh* It’s not that it’s downright terrible but that it’s just…well continually boring.  This may be the most filler filled OYL book out there.  I’m not even sure if the new creative team coming on next issue can salvage what remains of a dwindling and dying audience.

 

Roundup:

The Great:

Robin

Birds of Prey

HellBlazer

She-Hulk

The Good:

Shadowpact

Superman

Wonder Woman

Cable & Deadpool

Silent War

Punisher: War Journal

The Immortal Iron Fist

Catwoman

The Filler:

X-Men: First Class

New Avengers: Illuminati

Helmet of Fate: Black Alice

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