There are spoilers ahead for Marvel’s Civil War II #4! So don’t say that you weren’t warned!
When the premise of Civil War II was revealed, it was widely compared to Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report. In Civil War II #4, writer Brian Michael Bendis is going full Minority Report. Iron Man has analyzed Ulysses’ power and determined that he isn’t actually seeing the future, he’s profiling the future. And those profiles are not necessarily exact representations of what will happen. Sound familiar?
Bendis does put forth the interesting idea that these profiles are slowly driving Ulysses mad and affecting his visions of the future, but it’s all from Tony Stark’s mouth as opposed to something that we see in action. Ulysses himself is still a non-entity in this story, although we do finally witness what happened when he seemingly targeted an innocent woman as a potential terrorist threat. No one in the story grasped the obvious divergent point of the vision: the woman took the wrong briefcase to work. This is spelled out in the script, and yet Captain Marvel didn’t even think to send someone to check this.
But before this happens, the so-called trial of the century wrapped up, and Hawkeye got off for murdering the Hulk. Bizarrely, this made Hawkeye the most popular hero in the Marvel Universe, although we didn’t really see Clint Barton in this issue. There’s only a ridiculous image of Barton in his old Hawkeye costume, back when it actually looked like something a superhero would wear. Considering howmuch of the previous issue built up to this verdict, it landed with a thud and it was inconsequential to the rest of the book. Aside from She-Hulk’s reaction, it could have been cut out entirely.
A large part of the issue intercuts between Stark’s appeal to his fellow heroes and Captain Marvel’s strike team in action. This had better pacing than the majority of the miniseries, but it’s still taken the story four issues to get to heroes on the verge of war against each other. This time, Iron Man has Captain America on his side. But considering what we know about Cap’s true loyalties, that’s probably not something that Stark will be proud of when the truth comes out.
Your reaction to this issue’s cliffhanger will probably depend on how you view the Guardians of the Galaxy. They have no real dog in this fight, and yet here they were suddenly on Captain Marvel’s side. She used to be a member of their team, but only people who read their comic would know that. It isn’t stated here, and Carol Danvers was once again given less to work with than Tony Stark. We know that Carol and James Rhodes were supposed to be lovers, but it’s been largely ignored in the miniseries aside from someone saying that Carol misses Rhodey. As crazy as Tony Stark can be, Captain Marvel is coming off infinitely worse in her ruthless desire to prove Ulysses’ visions are correct.
David Marquez did his usual job on the art, and by “usual,” I mean fantastic. Marquez and colorist Justin Ponsor are continuously delivering the best work of their careers for a story that doesn’t live up to the quality of their output. Early in the issue, there’s a visually arresting splash of Miles Morales and a large crowd in Times Square reacting to the verdict. That was stunning. Marquez’s faces convey a lot of emotion and he makes his superheroes seem larger than life. We’ve said this before, but Marquez and Ponsor are the biggest selling points on this story. The next issue is poised to finally let them cut loose with a superhero battle, even if it is poorly motivated. There’s still time for Bendis to make this story sing, but so far, it’s hit all of the wrong notes.
RATING: 2 OUT OF 5 BURRITOS
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Images: Marvel Comics