Civil War II has continued to be a rather muted and dull event. Brian Bendis appears to have enough story material for a four issue mini-series at most. Unfortunately, this is having to be stretched out over the course of eight issues. It also does not help that the story has been rather shallow and repetitious up to this point. Another problem plaguing Civil War II has been the impression that everything important and exciting has been happening outside of the pages of the main big event title itself. Can Civil War II #6 finally fix these problems? Let’s find out!
Words: Brian Bendis
Art: David Marquez
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Miles Morales slumped on the ground. Iron Man’s team and Carol’s team are squared off against each other. The vision of Miles killing Captain Nazi are resonating though everyone’s head. Carol wants to arrest Miles. Tony says that she can’t arrest Miles when he hasn’t done anything. Carol then says that she isn’t arresting Miles. That she is just going to take him into custody. Tony says that is the same as arresting Miles. Carol then says that she isn’t taking Miles into custody. Carol says that she is just asking him to surrender. Tony says that Miles does not need to surrender. Tony says that Miles is a genuinely good kid.
Captain Nazi then approaches Miles and asks him why Miles pulled up his mask. Miles says that he could not breathe. Captain Nazi then becomes a mouthpiece for Bendis and says that Miles should put the mask back on. Captain Nazi says that Miles is Spider-Man. That it means something to people. (Wow. This is like a Roman Reigns level push. Thought, if you are going to push the corporate babyface doesn’t it make more sense to have a longstanding babyface put him over rather than a Nazi heel like Steve Rogers? This was too heavy-handed by Bendis to try to use Steve to get Miles over with readers who are not big fans of him.)
Captain Nazi asks Miles what he wants to do. Miles says he wants to go home. Captain Nazi tells Miles to leave and that they will figure out what to do next later. Carol interrupts that this is not Captain Nazi’s call. (This is why Carol has no credibility with the reader. Because Bendis has her constantly saying willfully obtuse and illogical things like this. Captain Nazi is the victim in the vision. He absolutely has more of a call to make in this situation than anyone.)
Tony tells Lady Thor to take Miles home. The two of them leave. Carol yells “No!” Ms. Marvel then reaches out and grabs Carol. Ms. Marvel says that Miles is her friend and that he did not do anything. (Bendis has now had multiple characters say that Miles didn’t do anything about fifteen different ways already. No. Not repetitive at all.)
Maria Hill then says that everyone is under arrest due to engaging in a battle on government property. Tony armors up and says that his team is not surrendering. Black Panther then steps in and says that Maria will have to go through him to get to Tony. Black Panther says that he is done with Carol and that he can no longer defend any of this. Black Panther says that he learned a long time ago that if you are on Captain America’s side then you are on the right side. (Well, which Captain America? Because Marvel now has two characters running around with the name “Captain America.” I am guessing that Bendis means Steve Rogers due to Panther saying “a long time ago” and that must be referencing the first Civil War. But, does being on the same side as a Nazi like Steve really mean you are always in the right? Does Bendis know what is going on in Spencer’s Steve Rogers title?)
Black Panther says that if Captain Nazi is on Tony’s side then Black Panther should be on Tony’s side. Black Panther looks at Carol and says that if she attacks him then she attacks the Kingdom of Wakanda.
Suddenly, Doctor Strange appears on the scene and teleports Tony’s team away from the scene. Carol yells out “Damn you, Doctor Strange!” (While shaking her black gloved fist in the air while stroking her hairless cat with her other hand. Brilliant dialogue.) Carol asks Medusa to use Lockjaw to follow Tony’s team. Medusa says that they will not help anymore. Lockjaw then teleports the Inhumans away from the scene.
We shift to Lady Thor carrying Miles through the sky. Miles tells Lady Thor to put him down. She does so. Miles says that he just wants to be alone for a while. Lady Thor understands and flies away. Miles then once again thinks about the vision of him killing Captain Nazi. Miles beings to cry and shout. Again. (Melodrama!!! Drink it in!)
We hop over to New Attilan. Medusa approaches Ulysses and asks him “What is happening to you.” (Thankfully, we immediately cut away from this scene before we are in danger of actually getting anything that resembles new information or plot progression.)
We zip over to the Triskelion. Rocket Racoon tells Carol that she owes the Guardians a new space ship. Starlord then puts his arm around Carol and tells her that she is right to try and stop something before it happens. That who cares if you hurt someone’s feelings. (Constitutional rights? The 4th Amendment? The 5th Amendment? Pffft. That’s just boo-hooing. This is about as effective as Kevin Owens comforting Chris Jericho that the babyface is wrong. Just not believable. And it makes them look more villainous.)
We cut back to Tony’s team in one of Nick Fury’s “old secret underground barbershop bunkers. For the younger among us, a barbershop is a kind of salon.” (Ah, yes. More awkwardly shoved in and inappropriately timed Bendis humor that isn’t even funny in the first place. Also, maybe Portland is so hipster that they only have salons, but everywhere I travel for work has plenty of local neighborhood barber shops. But, if it isn’t in Bendis’ little insulated hipster world then it doesn’t exist. And, how many secret Nick Fury bases are there? These things just keep popping up over and over whenever a writer needs one.)
Tony then thanks Dr. Strange for his help and we get an obligatory facial bros comment with Strange commenting that he still hates Tony. (Yup more ill placed humor that stopped being funny after Bendis rolled it out over on Iron Man’s own title. But, just keep driving that one joke into the ground.) Tony gives a speech to his troops about how it is no fun to fight friends. (Really? Because that seems to happen all the time in modern super hero comics.) Tony asks the Champions to go get Miles Morales. Ms. Marvel comments that she would rather leave. Nova agrees.
Riri then takes off her helmet. (It just kills me that Marvel killed off a great character in James Rhodes so they could replace him with Riri. Yay. Thanks, Marvel.) Riri is wearing a grey suit of armor. (You know, just like Tony’s first suit of armor because nothing can be original anymore.) At this point, Ms. Marvel, Sam, Riri, Lady Hawkeye and young Cyclops all decide to leave. (Hey, now. This is one way to try to make Civil War II a little more enjoyable.)
During this conversation all of the “olds” (Tony, Captain Nazi, Black Panther, Luke Cage, Captain Falcon, Dr. Strange and Vision) are talking to each other. (Gross. Why can’t Marvel kill off all of these characters. In fact, can we just make our world like Logan’s Run. This would be so much cooler!) Black Panther says that Ulysses’ predictive powers appear to be ground in strength and becoming less accurate as well. Tony replies that he has been saying the same thing all along. (He really has. We have been getting this same “discussion” since the first issue.)
Vision says that there really is only one way to test if Ulysses’ vision about Miles and Captain Nazi will come to pass. Tony agrees but says that it is Captain Nazi’s call to make.
We shift to the Triskelion ruins. Carol is thinking about all the people she has killed like Rhodey and Bruce Banner. Mariah Hill, Jean Grey, Storm and Starlord then enter the scene. Storm says she is sorry that Black Panther “betrayed” Carol. Carol responds that she can’t believe that Storm was married to “that man.” (Black Panther. That jerk. Standing up for personal freedoms and liberties. Ugh. Who would marry a man of principles? So uncool.)
Hill suggests finding Ulysses and re-testing his predictive powers. Suddenly, Hill gets a call that they have found Miles.
We cut to Miles standing outside of Capital Hill. End of issue.
The Good: Civil War II #6 was more of the same that we have been getting over the prior five issues of this big event. The same weaknesses continue to haunt Civil War II. And the same strength on Civil War II continues to shine. That would be the David Marquez’s excellent artwork. What is so impressive about Marquez is that he is able to deliver quality artwork and an entertaining look in issue despite being given absolutely nothing by Bendis in which to show off his artistic chops. Bendis continues to be an artist’s worst nightmare by giving Marquez page after page of nothing other than talking heads to draw. Try making that type of issue look interesting. It just is not easy. However, Marquez does the best he can to make chicken salad out of the chicken shit that Bendis gave him with this issue.
Marquez does an excellent job with all of the various characters’ facial expressions. This helps to inject emotion into a dull story and to help pull the reader into this world despite the lack of a complex and compelling story. The characters’ body language also helps to convey the emotions of the various characters. Marquez also does a fine job with the layouts in Civil War II #6. Despite the complete lack of any action at all, Marquez tries to be creative with the layouts of the panels in order to give Civil War II #6 an appealing look. This is no easy task and Marquez manages to pull this off with aplomb.
The Bad: Civil War II #6 continues to suffer from the same defects that have hounded this big event since Civil War II #2. Unfortunately, Bendis continues to give the impression that he is mailing in this big event as the story feels as if it is on cruise control ever since the exciting Civil War #1 issue. The plotting and pacing on Civil War II #6 si simply atrocious. Bendis appears to have no direction in mind at all. The story continues to move forward at a ridiculously decompressed pace. There is no sense of urgency to the story. The pacing is a slow crawl as each issue barely inches forward the story.
This slow crawl of a pace is only made worse by the fact that Bendis has no direction at all with the plotting. This story continues to meander about with no sense of urgency at all. Bendis keeps recycling the exact same story points with each and every issue. There is never any progression or evolution of the story. The reader feels like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day as we keep getting the same recycled dialogue nad plot beats issue after issue.
Nothing really happens at all in Civil War II #6. What information does the reader need to get in Civil War II #6 to understand and enjoy the next issue. How much was the story progressed from the beginning of Civil War II #6 by the time we reach the ending?
Bendis wastes the opening ten pages of Civil War II #6 doing absolutely nothing. All that happens is that we get yet another stalemate for the hundredth time and Tony’s team making a dramatic getaway thanks to Dr. Strange. The only new content in this ten page scene was in the final page when Dr. Strange finally made his appearance in this big event and picked a side. Seriously. That is it. Ten pages for that? This scene could have easily been delivered in four pages and in a much more entertaining fashion.
Then we got two pages of Miles reliving Ulysses vision. Again. For the third time. Another unnecessary scene with no plot progression. We then get the one page scene of Medusa approaching Ulysses and wanting to know what is happening to him. This one page teased some actual new content and plot progression but, thankfully, Bendis quickly left this scene and never went back to it in this issue. We were perilously close to actually getting new content and plot progression. Scary.
We then got the two pages scene of Carol’s team at Triskelion’s ruins. This scene offered zero plot progression or new content as we continue to get the same “Oh woe is me” dialogue from Carol as she wonders why everyone views her as a total villain. Then we get a four page scene with Iron Man’s team debating on what to do next concerning the vision about Miles and Steve. Mind you, nothing at all happens. The characters simply rehash what we already got in the end of Civil War II #5 and in the earlier part of Civil War II #6. There is nothing new nor is there any plot progression. Just four pages of stalling.
We then get a two page scene of Carol reliving the vision and then being consoled by her teammates. Again, this is simply rehashing what we have gotten in previous issues and what we got earlier in Civil War II #6 itself. And we end with the one page shot of Miles at the steps of Capital Hill. That’s it. This is the only page that actually delivered any real new content and anything that resembled plot progression. The final page.
What new storylines or information did the reader get in Civil War II #6? That Dr. Strange is on Tony’s side and that Miles is going to force Ulysses’ vision to happen so the accuracy of it can be tested. That’s it! And the reader only had to pay a $5.00 cover charge in order to get “treated” to this lack of any plot progression or new content.
The slow pacing and poor plotting is only exacerbated by the fact that Bendis’ story for Civil War II is terribly shallow and thin. There is zero depth or substance to the story. There is nothing here for the reader to get lost in or to sink their teeth into. The lack of multiple complex plot lines in favor for just two simple plot lines prevents this big event from being a captivating tale. The only two plot lines that Civil War II has delivered would be the one involving the newer ending moral debate between Tony and Carol and the question surrounding Ulysses’ powers. That is it. The complete lack of complexity and detail makes this big event come across as emaciated and weak. And it certainly does not help that Bendis is handling his only two plot lines in a clumsy and simple manner. There is nothing nuanced or innovative in how these plot lines are being delivered.
In the end, a big event from Marvel or DC should be much like an adrenaline pumping summer blockbuster. The emphasis should be on action and excitement on a grand scale. Instead, Bendis continues to deliver a story that is small in scale and lacking anything that would be confused with action and excitement. Civil War #6 is a dull and boring issue. Nothing happens that gets the reader excited. There is no action or adventure anywhere in the pages of Civil War II #6. This is simply a muted story that puts the reader to sleep.
Bendis continues to deliver generic character work. Characters either have the personality of a cardboard cut-out or they get the trademark Bendis-speak. The result is that characters are either bland and uninteresting or they are identical Bendis-speak characters. It is very much like a cheap TV sitcom where the characters all engage in the same style of dialogue. There is nothing that amounts to quality character work which creates unique and interesting personalities that generate compelling chemistry.
We also get the usual inappropriate Bendis speak. This is when there is ill-timed :humor” that is awkwardly shoved into an otherwise serious scene. The jarring incongruence only serves to rip the reader from the scene and ruin the moment. If the characters in the story are not taking life altering tense situations seriously then why should the reader. This is what Bendis does when he inserts his “witty” Bendis speak at the wrong moments in the story. This is what happens when a writer feels they are known for one trick and need to play that one trick constantly no matter what style of dialogue that the story is demanding from the characters.
I really feel bad for Carol Danvers fans. Personally, I could care less about Carol as Captain Marvel. But, the readers who love Carol’s character are really getting a kick to the groin with Bendis’ handling of Carol’s character. Now those fans know how I felt with how Tony Stark was handled during the original CiviL War and all of the various Civil War tie-in issues. And that is why I feel so bad for Carol fans. Nobody deserves to have their favorite character tuned into a villain.
Bendis continues to present Carol in full heel mode. Carol has been given zero moral high ground at all during this story. Carol is clearly in the wrong and is working to violate the Constitutional rights of American citizens. Carol is also responsible for the deaths of James Rhodes and Bruce Banner. There is absolutely no reason for the reader to root for her at all. Civil War II has done massive damage to Carol’s character and it is going to be incredibly difficult to build her character back up into something that actually resembles a hero. Because, right now, Carol is the biggest villain in the Marvel Universe.
Overall: Civil War II #6 is another slow, boring and disappointing read. This big event continues to crawl along as it delivers a shallow read that does not meet expectations for a proper big event. The reader could easily skip Civil War II #6 and hop aboard for Civil War II #7 and not miss a thing at all. That is simply inexcusable for a $5.00 big event issue. There are so many other comics books from Marvel and DC that offer a far better bang for your buck than Civil War II #6. I would only recommend this issue to die-hard Bendis fans.