There are spoilers ahead for Marvel’s Civil War II #5! So don’t say that you weren’t warned!
After four issues of buildup, Civil War II #5 finally gets to the point. The entire story about the predictive abilities of the Inhuman known as Ulysses was just an excuse to make the superheroes fight, and that’s exactly what writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez deliver in this issue. It reads as if all of your Marvel superhero action figures had a war in your bedroom when you were a kid, and it doesn’t rise above that level of storytelling.
It makes very little sense for the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, and other superheroes who sat out of the last Civil War to throw themselves into the newest conflict. Nor does Bendis go out of his way to justify those character turns. But there are some undeniably fun moments that were brilliantly rendered by Marquez and colorist Justin Ponsor. Artist Sean Izaakse also subbed in for a few pages, but it’s a testament to his talent that it’s hard to spot which pages are his and which belong to Marquez.
As beautiful as the art is to look at, there’s something very soulless about this style of storytelling. Bendis’ characters in this issue barely even resemble his own take on them in Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and every other Marvel book he’s written for the last 15 plus years. That’s the most annoying thing about this series. Bendis can write great character moments, but it feels like he cut off their real personalities just to make this story happen. Most of the fight doesn’t even revolve around the issue of Ulysses’ visions. And by the time that becomes important to the issue again, it’s easy to forget why they were fighting in the first place.
Now, we’ve got to talk about the big spoiler in the issue. Ulysses has another vision in which he predicts that Miles Morales (a.k.a. Spider-Man) will kill Captain America (Steve Rogers) at some point in the future. We’re not really buying that one, but it’s enough to stop the fight and get Captain Marvel to place Miles under arrest. Given what we know about Steve’s recent loyalties to Hydra, there is some intrigue about whether that played a role in the prediction. But it’s doubtful that this series will end with Miles in jail or the original Cap dead…again. Strangely enough, Marvel kind of blew this twist a few weeks ago with preview art showing Miles and Cap locked in a mortal battle.
We really want to like this series more than we actually do, but the way that Bendis writes the book and treats the characters constantly throws us out of the issue. Marquez and Ponsor are continuing to turn in stellar artwork, but it’s not enough to balance out a lackluster story that doesn’t feel true to the heart of the Marvel Universe.
RATING: 2 OUT OF 5 BURRITOS
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Images: Marvel Comics