Two weeks ago, Marvel Comics launched their latest mega-event, Civil War II. The Brian Michael Bendis-penned sequel to the game-changing 2005 mini-series may share its title with this year’s highest grossing film Captain America: Civil War, but its conflict is a new one. As established in Civil War II #1, Tony Stark aka Iron Man and Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel find themselves on opposite sides of a debate over how to use the powers of the Inhuman, Ulysses, who can supposedly see visions of the future.
The issue begins with Tony Stark, still distraught over the death of his best friend James Rhodes aka War Machine while on a mission inspired by one of Ulysses visions, attempting to abduct the young man. He’s stopped by the rest of the Inhumans, however, they quickly discover they’ve actually defeated a life model decoy while the real Stark got away with his prey. The group angrily heads off to attack Stark Tower, but a combined force of Ultimates and Avengers led by Captain Marvel convince the Inhumans to let them try and talk to Tony first.
Meanwhile, Tony has Ulysses tied to a chair and is attempting to physically provoke him into having a vision, much to the young man’s chagrin. Stark seems to be making progress until a group of heroes led by Danvers and former X-Man and current Inhuman Hank “Beast” McCoy arrives. Tension quickly mounts, but before Stark and the group come to blows Ulysses has another vision that he’s able to project into the minds of all present. It shows one of the Marvel Universe’s greatest heroes having murdered them all. The issue ends with Captain Marvel confronting said hero, whose none the wiser about what she’s seen.
I said in my review of Civil War II #1 that I would give the title a few more issues before abandoning it, and at least for now I’m glad I did as the second issue is vastly superior to the first. For starters, the somewhat nonsensical (for the Marvel Universe) conflict about predicting the future is approached in a different way. Tony freely admits that there might be some validity to Ulysses’ powers and simply wants to learn as much as he can about them before deciding if he’s going to go to war with his friends over using them. On the other side, the Minority Report-sequel rhetoric from Captain Marvel is greatly toned down. I appreciated the fact that neither Tony nor Carol wanted their confrontation to become physical. It was a nice change of pace from the fight immediately and ask questions later fights that normally break out in these types of crossovers.
Bendis once again imbues the characters with his trademark brand of humor, and once again it’s hit or miss. However, Civil War II # 2 definitely features more hits than misses in that regard. On a more serious note, I appreciated the fact that Bendis continued to subtly show just how much Rhodie’s death was affecting both Carol and Tony. While I’m still not a fan of the character’s fate, it’s nice to see it’s having an effect. Speaking of character deaths, I should also note that dialogue from Tony suggests that She-Hulk actually did survive the end of the last issue, though it’s unclear if he’s simply not up to date. Personally, I hope the character is revealed to definitely be alive sooner rather than later.
Dave Marquez is once again at the top of his game in this issue. I particularly love the scene depicting Ulysses’ latest vision. Marquez’ version of *SPOILER* laying waste to the rest of the Marvel Heroes is brutal and haunting. That image alone has me excited for the third issue, which is a good thing as Marvel has put a lot of hype into it including a midnight release and polybagged cover.
After the relative disappointment of the first issue, Civil War II #2 does a great job of making the series interesting again. The issue itself is a fun read, and the ending definitely has me eagerly anticipating the third issue.