Credit: CBR via Marvel.com
Marvel is trying to permanently screw my jaw up because the first Civil War was shocking enough. Thanks to Captain America’s BS (more on that later) and Civil War II #0, I’m stuck in a glass case of freaking emotion. I won’t spoil it for you, so this is a spoiler-free review.
The world of Civil War II is different than the world we had in Civil War. We start off in a courtroom where the mood is somber as attorney Jennifer Bush a.k.a. She-Hulk makes an impassioned and earnest defense for Jonathan Powers a.k.a. Jester who is on trial for a “thought”. I got the impression that the superhero (and supervillain) community was now living in a world where the rules had changed. Superheroes apparently need to tread lightly although the reason for this isn’t explicit. It’s just an undercurrent of tolerance but not necessarily acceptance by regular people towards them.
From her impassioned speech, we move on to War Machine‘s (Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes) clandestine meeting with the POTUS (who is mysteriously cloaked in darkness). Again, this is a spoiler-free review, so I won’t tell you what they were meeting about, but I will say that I’m liking–at least for the time being–the potential here for War Machine to really come into his own and step out of Iron Man’s shadow. By the end of the meeting, he has a lot to think about.
From there the story focuses in on a bunch of kids kicking it on the Ohio State University campus as they wait for the Terrigen to appear, and boy does it. The Terrigen has the ability to alter Inhuman biology, but there are instances where it turns them into awful monsters as well. What happens with the Terrigen mist is clearly going to have serious ramifications for the rest of the series.
While all of this is happening, Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) meets with psychiatrist Doc Samson who is visiting for personal but mostly professional reasons at The Triskelion. Marvel is worried about not being able to stop the next crisis, which seems to confirm my suspicions that things have seriously changed, and not necessarily for the best.
In the end, She-Hulk gets some unexpected news that hits her like a ton of bricks and the consequences of everyone at the OSU campus going out to see the Terrigen are revealed. Those instances are serious, but the end will leave you reeling. Honest to God, the first thing I said was, “Oh, shit!” It’s about to go down and not in a good way. Like we like to say in Spanish, “Esta al rojo vivo.”
Writer Brian Michael Bendis deserves all the accolades for Civil War II #0. The writing was on point. I felt She-Hulk’s disappointment and the undercurrent of indignation welling up inside of her at the end. Her closing argument in the courtroom resonated with me for a number of reasons. Most developments were intriguing, shocking, or both. The only part that lagged for me was Captain Marvel’s. I see why Bendis included the conversation between her and Samson, but I was far more invested in War Machine, She-Hulk, and the kids on the OSU campus.
Artist Olivier Coipel really made Civil War II #0 something really beautiful to look at and read. The addition of certain 3D elements and the layout of the panels were brilliant. In one panel, the steam coming off the coffee the President left on the table looked like it might have even wafted out of the screen. The artistry was deliberate and I love the approach to telling the Bendis’ story. Colorist Justin Ponsor‘s choice of dusky colors to help convey the thoughts and moods of the characters was excellent.
I may have been late for the last Civil War, but I won’t be late for this one. I’m hooked.