Civil War II is a Marvel comic so big that one prequel issue can’t possibly cover all the details of the conflict’s catalyst. This event, which pits Captain Marvel against Iron Man, is the latest in a long line of Marvel summer blockbuster comics.  It is also a spiritual successor to the 2006 event by writer Mark Millar (Fantastic Four) and Steve McNiven (Wolverine), which was recently adapted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Captain America: Civil War.

Historically, it has been hard to engage with Marvel’s oft overblown event series.  Thankfully though, the publisher often taps some of the best classic talents in the business to draw the series, providing them an outlet in a time where their work has become more and more scarce.  Civil War II features Brazilian artist Olivier Coipel‘s (House of M), whose work is a cause for celebration.  Without further ado, let’s dive into his and writer Brian Michael Bendis‘ work on The Marvel Rundown!

Civil War II #0


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Olivier Coipel 

Colors: Justin Ponsor Letters: VC’s Clayton Coweles

Civil War II #0 should come with a warning label: “this is a comic book written by Brian Michael Bendis.” Those familiar with his work are likely aware of his tendency to produce overambitious works that try to imbue each character in the story with a PSA message they’re trying to get across.  It’s an admirable, but often leaves concepts or characters feeling half-baked and shortchanged when they’re folded into a giant event like Civil War II.

Fortunately, this series first chapter escapes most of those Bendis-isms. Usually, opening chapters to events have a problem with plodding and dull pacing, but Civil War II‘s prologue moves at an acceptable clip, introducing each character in a swift and efficient manner. Some of these introductory scenes can stretch just a hair too long, but it’s nice to have quiet moments to catch up with the lives of these heroes before their world is torn apart.

However, while Bendis gives the veteran Marvel heroes their due in this issue, the new character and catalyst for the event, Ulysses, isn’t given enough focus to make him captivating–his scenes are part of a handful that stop this comic book from tipping into greatness.

Artist Olivier Coipel’s bold layouts really make the everyday life of superhero look exciting. She-Hulk’s court sequence is presented ambitiously and effectively.  He and Bendis seem to be working in sync, as Coipel’s art never feels constricted despite Bendis’ tendency to fill pages with tons of text boxes.

Coipel adheres closely to the typical style for Marvel events, which is lovely and makes the issue a joy to read. Justin Ponsor’s colors are excellent as well. It is remarkable to notice some of the flourishes that differentiate Ponsor’s style here to the one he employs while working with David Marquez‘s (Ultimate Spider-Man) art, which is more understated than Coipel’s epic style.

In some aspects, this comic can almost be read as a response to Mark Millar‘s and Steve McNiven‘s Civil War, which is crammed with so many plot elements that the story becomes unhinged and boils down to a list of plot points. Instead of making a book of “moments,” Bendis and Coipel their time with the story.  They are more interested in going deep than going wide, diving into a few concepts instead of touching upon a swath of them.  That said, they’ll have to be careful to keep the adrenaline pumping as the series goes forward in order to keep reader interest.

Civil War II #0 is a really nice issue full of sweet and interesting character moments– if Bendis can add just enough plot to the proceedings, readers will be in for a treat in the months to come.

Verdict: Buy it.

This is a nice issue that effectively builds excitement for the upcoming event and features wonderful art.


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