Back in 2007, when Marvel closed the original Civil War crossover, they released a one-shot: Civil War: The Oath (Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev). It explored the emotional side of Iron Man and Captain America’s consequence. This issue does pretty much the same thing in terms of plot and tone. The original story was simple, basic, beautiful, and elegant. Two dudes in a room thinking back to their lifetime of friendship and how they got to where they are.
This story is much like the original. It still stems from a powerful conversation between two old friends. This time, though, the book brings about a lot of setup for new stories. We get to see Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, etc. instead of the story just focusing on Captain America and Iron Man. The original story of The Oath is drowned out by new story setup. This is actually quite a letdown, but all is not lost!
As a new story, writer Nick Spencer does an awesome job of walking us through Steve Rogers and Tony Stark’s long and complicated relationship, including the exploration of Carol Danvers. Stark is the self-centered genius (as usual) who doesn’t really give a shit about the people he saves. Danvers, on the other hand, is searching for approval from those same people. Spencer also gives us a detailed look at Rogers and his psyche as he moved from hero to Hydra. The story also focuses on the disappointment in the public towards supers overall. Very rarely do we see Marvel think of the civilians’ perspective(s), but this is an essential part of Civil War II.
The artwork is done by a team of artists: Rod Reis, Phil Noto, Raffaele Ienco, Szymon Kudranski, and Dono Sanchiz-Almara. Reis does the most of the work, handling the main plot line with Cap and Iron Man. Everyone else takes on the stories that come in on the side. Five artists on one issue is a really risky move, but the book is pretty darn cohesive in the end. There are, however, clearly different art styles that break up the issue into distinctive parts. This is a bit jarring, but actually makes a lot of sense when it comes to the layout (and script) of the issue.
The dull colors and dark, moody tone give us the ambience of the original storyline. Everything looks really muddy, giving off the sense of mourning a hero (Iron Man).
When Ulysses predicted Cap’s death at the hands of Spider-Man, no one would have thought things could get this bad between Stark and Rogers. Only when Ulysses vanished did the war end. And now, there are even darker events waiting to happen.
Marvel is showing the darkness that lies ahead, and the heroes that fell out of heroism. Will they be able to fight their way back?
Written by: Nick Spencer
Illustrated by: Various