I haven’t been impressed with Civil War II up to this point before I picked up the third issue. Personally, I hate when my heroes fight. Civil War, the movie, was entertaining, but at the end of the day I want my heroes to fight bad guys. Batman v. Superman was an okay film, but it tried to do the same thing Civil War did. It hyped up the movie’s importance because of the epic fight that was Batman and Superman. You don’t need to hype up those two though. DC knows that. Everyone knows that. They’re two of the biggest names in comics. This led to a story that suffered and a villain who reminded everyone of Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg. Civil War did a tremendously better job at putting together a story outside of heroes fighting each other. Zemo did a great job at framing Bucky and that made the plot move along nicely. The ending though to Civil War, like I’ve said one hundred times, didn’t have any consequences. No one got arrested, no one died, we didn’t get closure. There isn’t a fourth Cap movie planned right now. Is he just going to show up in Infinity War? Are him and Tony just going to be like “Oh, hey. Sorry I tried to kill you that one day in Moscow. We cool? Let’s go kill Thanos.” It makes total sense to us comic people, because weirder things happen in comics. In terms of story-telling though, it is weak. A letter from Cap to Iron Man doesn’t erase what happened. It doesn’t erase the fact that Cap freed the rest of the team from prison. Despite all of that, Civil War was one of the best superhero movies ever. But with this third issue of Civil War II, Marvel is showing they’re evolution in terms of story-telling. Obviously we have to wait and see how this story ends, but right now, things look pretty good.
Bruce Banner vs. The Marvel Universe
For those who haven’t been following, Civil War II involves a powerful Inhuman named Ulysses. My other reviews of the previous two issues cover them in depth. Ulysses can see the future. He can experience the future. Captain Marvel wants to use him to stop situations before they happen. Iron Man doesn’t want to use him, but test him. See how his brain works, put protocols in place so Ulysses never gets anyone hurt. Too late. In the first issue, War Machine and She-Hulk are killed by Thanos. By the end of the second, Ulysses sees a vision (and so does everyone else) of the Hulk killing them all. This brings us to the third issue. Captain Marvel and Iron Man confront Bruce Banner. At the same time, we’re in the future experiencing a trail. Captain Marvel is being questioned by Matt Murdock (freaking awesome.) We experience the events before through the trial. Bruce Banner is taken outside by his friends. We then get an epic image of almost every hero in Marvel. The entire world has come to make sure Bruce doesn’t turn into the Hulk. The two pages are drawn really well, and I love the colors used here. The pink in the sky really makes the shadows of the heroes pop. I absolutely loved it.
We then go back to the courtroom. Matt Murdock asks Tony Stark how Bruce took the news of Ulysses’ vision. Captain Marvel tells Matt that pretty much all of Ulysses’ visions had come true. We go back to the event and they tell Bruce that everyone is split. Some want to change the future. Others want to let the future happen. After that, it’s found out that Beast hacked into Bruce Banner’s files. Bruce Banner has been experimenting on himself. Captain Marvel can’t believe. Tony Stark can’t believe it. Bruce swears that his new work is keeping the Hulk at bay. He promises that there will be no more outbreaks. Maria Hill of SHIELD tells Bruce they have to detain him. So much is going on here. I didn’t expect what was about to happen next. An arrow flies through the air and pierces Bruce Banner directly in the chest. Everyone rushes to see who it is. Who else is better with an arrow than….HAWKEYE. He gives himself up quietly. They ask Hawkeye why he did it. His answer is simple. Because Bruce Banner asked him to. Now most comic readers know that action usually doesn’t drive a good comic. But Civil War II is being driven by heavy drama. The courtroom aspect of this issue really makes it tense. Not to mention Daredevil is one hell of a lawyer. All of these elements provide great drama. We then get a flashback where Bruce Banner and Hawkeye meet. He tells Hawkeye that he needs him to kill him before he becomes the Hulk again. He also talks about his rage that lives inside of him. The Hulk’s rage. He says the change is inevitable and Hawkeye is the only man who will be able to live with the decision. At the trail, Murdock is grilling Hawkeye about his decision. Beast testifies that the arrow used was Banner’s own creation. That’s why it was able to kill him so quickly. Captain Marvel then talks about how her team has still been using Ulysses for missions. During the event, Tony is irate at what has happened. He blames Captain Marvel he says this isn’t what they are about, they are supposed to be protecting and avenging. Captain Marvel claims this is about accountability. Captain Marvel leaves and the most important panel of the issue comes next in my opinion. Miles Morales is standing with Nova and Nova says that he thinks he’s with Iron Man. Miles says the whole situation is nuts, but he agrees with Nova. The issue ends with the verdict about to be read. Tony is back in his lab. He says he doesn’t need to hear the verdict because he already knows it. His program, Friday, tells him she’s got some findings on how Ulysses’ brain works. The issue ends with Tony Stark and Mary Jane looking at an image Friday is showing them. They are horrified. Stark says “Oh my god. It’s—our future.” A satisfying end to a great issue.
Now, I’m about to get political here, but I don’t care. This is what Hero Reviews is about. Recently, our country was struck with tragedy. Two black men were killed by police officers. Both events were caught on video in some capacity being it the killing, or the aftermath. A couple days later, five Dallas police officers were killed by a man who was outraged over the killings of black men. As a black man, I’ve studied, researched, and have lived what it means to be a black man in America. As an intellectual, I completely understand the danger police officers put themselves in on a daily basis. I also understand that there have been instances in our country’s history, where police officers have treated black men wrongly because they believe they pose a threat. On the opposite side, Black Lives Matter operates on the principle that black people’s lives have never caught up to the equality of whites. Anyone who commits acts of violence or other crimes in the names of Black Lives Matter sets the discourse backwards. Not all police officers are out for blood either. I have been pulled over before by white cops. One time, I was addressed as “boy” and almost arrested for nothing. The other time, me and the officer talked about what movie I had just seen. Generalizations are a cancer on our society. Why do people make these generalizations though? Why does this feel like a black v. blue issue in our country? It feels like a budding race war because people have taken sides. There are people no matter what you tell them, believe that EVERY cop is a killer. That when a cop shows up to the Academy on their first day, they get a pamphlet on how to kill black men (seriously, people think this.) On the contrary, there are people who no matter what you tell them, believe that blacks image in this country is their own fault. They will tell you that blacks make up the majority of prisons and commit majority of the crimes so they’ve earned the extra force from cops. The media won’t show you a white cop saving a black kid, or a white cop dying protecting a black male. It happens. They won’t construct a detailed documentary for all to see on how blacks have been systematically placed into prisons since the reconstruction era. It is up to people to deduce what they believe as “facts” themselves and form their own opinions. It’s a daunting task but there is complete truth in the phrase “Knowledge is Power”
Soon after these events, there was a black radio host I like to listen to talking about solutions. He was talking about Pokemon Go and how useless it is to society. He also mentioned comic books. He later tweeted that comic books are about as useless as Pokemon Go is. Civil War II would be the first issue I show to him to refute his claim. Today, we see heroes like Captain America and Iron Man ruling the box office. Heroes like Spider-Man and Batman have been worldwide celebrities since the 1990’s. Comics have a way of shaping popular culture. They also have a way of reflecting our reality, even when they don’t mean. Brian Michael Bendis’ well written issue echoes our society. So much, my ears almost bleed from the noise. We have two sides. Both sides have lost someone extremely close to them. Iron Man lost War Machine and Captain Marvel lost She-Hulk. Blacks have lost loved ones. Police officers have lost fellow officers. Both sides have reasonable arguments at first. In the beginning, everything seems like it will work itself out. Iron Man went off the deep end a bit by capturing Ulysses in the second issue, but he lost a friend. It baffles me how people can empathize with a fake character but refuse to empathize with real-life humans. We have leaders of the two sides. Iron Man and Captain Marvel. Black Lives Matter, the organization, and Police Departments. These leaders define early on in their organizations youth, that their cause is the right one. Anyone challenging that does not deserve to be looked at with respect or reason. The conflict with Iron Man and Captain Marvel has only worsened. He captured Ulysses to experiment on him, she continued to use him on missions. Both sides continue to act in their own best interest, everyone’s best interest. Then, an event, or events, happen that completely cause a rift within the world. Bruce Banner’s killing for Marvel. The killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, then the killings of the Dallas police officers. Oddly enough, both the Marvel Universe and our country have history. Iron Man has made mistakes as a futurist that have had dire consequences for everyone involved. Captain Marvel has proven herself as someone who is about duty first. Unlike the Marvel Universe though, America doesn’t go through universe crossovers or enormous events that reset our history. We can’t bring famed individuals like Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr back to life. Choosing sides is a popular thing in our culture. We do it with sports, reality shows, and politics. Once you’re on a team, you will cheer, cry, and sacrifice for that team. Civil War II is a great comic story so far. It is entertaining and Marvel continues to impress me with their big events. But still, this radio host needs to understand how vital comics are in understanding some of our nation’s biggest problems. Do I have an easy solution? The pragmatic, rational man or woman knows there isn’t. But if no one acknowledges a problem isn’t present, nothing will get done. No more picking sides. This event is called Civil War II. I hope our country learns quickly before our situation is called the same thing 100 years in the future.
I hope you enjoyed this review! Remember to follow me on Twitter @Hero_Review for news tweets as well as updates on future reviews. It’s a big week for DC Comics this week. I’ll be reviewing Batman #3 and Superman #3 the same day. Maybe more. If you read this review, I want you to know I appreciate you taking time out of your day. Until next time people. As always Peace, Love, and Comics!