Graphic Novel Review: Civil War II/Captain Marvel: Civil War II

Civil War II

Civil War II - Credit: Archant

A new Inhuman, with the ability to profile the future, emerges and the ramifications ripple into every corner of the Marvel Universe. Once again lines are drawn, bodies fall, and the Marvel Universe will be rocked to its very core.

Captain Marvel: Civil War II

Captain Marvel: Civil War II - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

Rather than treat these two volumes as separate narrative threads, it’s much more rewarding to weave the events of Captain Marvel in between the bigger brushstrokes of the main Civil War II title, as they are intrinsically linked throughout, even if that means skipping between books when reading.

This is because Carol Danvers, aka the good Captain, occupies one side of the Civil War divide - the other being taken by her fellow Avenger Tony (Iron Man) Stark - and whether you agree with her stance or not, it’s certainly helpful to explore a deeper understanding of her motives in her eponymous series.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, and missed all the Civil War II tie-ins published ahead of the main title when it fell behind schedule, then the premise of this latest Marvel crossover epic is the rise of new Inhuman Ulysses, who has the godlike ability to predict the inevitable outcome of events yet to come. This isn’t actual precognition, just the talent to identify which potential future will more than likely become a reality without some sort of intervention.

At first everything goes remarkably well, as a team of heroes thwart a mystical invasion from another dimension because they were in the right place at the right time, but then Ulysses foretells an attack by the mad Titan Thanos, and a team of Avengers are dispatched to stop him…

Whether it was because they were cocksure and arrogant about their chances of success, or because the prediction didn’t take into account certain variables, but a hero is killed and others changed forever. Griefstricken by these losses, Captain Marvel resolves to prevent such a situation from ever occurring again, even if that means taking steps to tackling threats before they materialise, and arresting potential suspects even if they have thus far done nothing wrong.

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It’s a dangerous line to tread, with suggestions of profiling bandied about by her moral opponent, Stark, who is also unwilling to see anyone else make the same mistakes he was guilty of during the first Civil War. But when Avenger kills Avenger, the stakes become so high that it seems neither side will come out a winner…

Meanwhile, Carol has problems of her own onboard the orbiting Alpha Flight space station, as political wranglings behind the scenes put her in an unenviable position of questioning the loyalty of her team-mates while faced with an insidious alien plague and the return of an old foe long thought dead…

Civil War II writer Brian Michael Bendis has produced more misses than hits over recent years in this reviewer’s opinion, but he’s certainly closer to the quality of his earlier work with this latest crossover. But when compared to the rich scripting of Captain Marvel’s double act of Ruth Fletcher Gage and Christos Gage, you have to wonder whether he’s ever going to return to his earlier heights of greatness.

That said, these two volumes combine to produce a quality Marvel epic which has obvious resonations in Trump’s America, where personal freedoms appear to be undermined on a daily basis in the cause of a greater purpose. You can only imagine what the new POTUS would do with superpowered beings at his disposal…